When it was announced last year that Spirit Airlines was coming to Cayman we all thought the budget carrier would bring the cost of air travel down and provide a useful additional service.
The reality is far different.
Spirit’s prices are about the same as fares were before they arrived and the experiences my wife and I had with them on 20 March ensure I will never use them again even if they were the cheapest and most convenient airline available.
We bought one-way tickets to Fort Lauderdale at a cost of US$343.50. Not cheap. They were also non-refundable. We arrived 55 minutes before the flight, assuming that their policy was the same as Cayman Airways and American, which have a 45-minute cut off. The counter was deserted and no one was on duty. A lady from New York was also waiting to check in but when the manager finally showed up, we were told the flight was closed and the best he could do was book us the following day.
We had just hand luggage with us and he could have easily got us on the flight. We simply had to travel that day and ended up spending a further US$1,125 buying one-way tickets for American Airlines.
He simply refused to answer two perfectly reasonable questions that were put to him: Do you agree you could get us on the flight without delaying it if you wanted? and Why does Spirit close its one flight a day 15 minutes earlier than Cayman Airways and American Airlines, which have to service many flights a day?
The manager was quite definitely the worst airline representative I have come across in 40 years of frequent international travel. His attitude and contempt for his customers not only did his airline a disservice but reflects poorly on the Cayman Islands and its tourism.
The effect of his attitude was summed up by the New York lady, who happened to work for the travel section of the New York Times, when she swore she would never come back to Cayman again.