Jodi Parsons’s husband dies before he can take his Spirit Airlines flight from New Orleans to Chicago. Can she get a refund?
Q: My husband, Loren, purchased a ticket from Spirit Airlines for a trip from New Orleans to Chicago for travel this summer. Unfortunately, he passed away about two weeks before his flight. We canceled his flight two days after his death.
When we inquired with Spirit about a refund, the representative instructed us to file a complaint and attach Loren’s death certificate, which we did a few days later. It’s been three weeks and we have heard nothing from Spirit. I saw one of your columns where you helped another person with an identical issue. Would you be able to help us get a $153 refund from Spirit?
— Jodi Parsons, San Diego
A: My condolences on your loss. At a time like this, the last thing you should have to worry about is a refund. Unfortunately, Spirit is making you worry by not acknowledging your request.
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Although the airline doesn’t make any promises about refunding tickets to deceased passengers in its terms and conditions, which you can read on its site, a representative did imply you would receive the $153 back for your husband’s ticket. That’s in line with most airline policies, which, although they are informal, generally refund tickets to the families of dead passengers.
The only real question is: What’s taking Spirit so long? And is there anything you might do to move the process along faster?
Ticket refunds should happen instantly, but they don’t. Spirit is required to forward a credit to your card company within seven business days after receiving a complete refund application, according to the Department of Transportation. But the credit may take a month or two to appear on your statement. You were only three weeks into that process when you contacted me.
I’m not going to be the one who tells you to be patient at a difficult time like this. If I were running Spirit, you would have your money by now, and an apology as well. But I’m just a consumer advocate.
You could have tried to escalate the process by appealing to an executive at Spirit. I list the names, numbers and email address of Spirit’s customer service managers on my advocacy site.
While it’s true that Spirit doesn’t have the best customer-service reputation, this is one of those cases when it appears to have done nothing negligent. Perhaps the only fault I can find is that a representative left you with the impression you’d have the refund sooner.
I contacted Spirit on your behalf and it refunded your late husband’s $153, as it promised it would.