Monday, April 30, 2012

Where's The "Spirit" In Spirit Airlines?

The story about Jerry Meekins, 76, of Clearwater, Florida has been making waves on the internet these last few days. Meekins suffers from esophageal cancer and was unable to use his $197 ticket on Spirit Airlines because he is too sick to fly.

When he tried to get a refund from Spirit Airlines, they simply responded with a big: "No."

Spirit Airlines is a no-frills, nickel-and-dime you carrier that advertises extremely low fares. The catch is that they charge you for just about everything, from carry-ons to snacks to a $10 reservation booking fee. I think they even charge you a fee for every fee you pay.

"We have a $50 safe landing fee"

Seriously though, when contacted about Jerry Meekins' case, Spirit issued the following reply:

"Our reservations are non-refundable, which means we don't do refunds and we are not going to issue Mr. Meekins a refund. We offer our customers affordable travel insurance to cover a variety of unexpected circumstances that may arise and many of our customers choose to take advantage of this option. We receive many requests for refunds every day for similar situations. It wouldn't be fair to bend policy for one and not all. We will not make customers who follow the rules pay for those who don't. It's just not fair."
What's really not fair is that an airline can't spare to refund $197 to a man with terminal cancer.

I've worked for many customer-service oriented companies in my day. Each has their own rules about dealing with customer refunds. I understand that. Sometimes though, the rules need to be bent a little to help someone out.

I hope Spirit Airlines comes to their senses and gives Meekins a break.

Photo Credit: Alaskan Dude. Used under the Creative Commons License.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

American Airlines Expands AAdvantage Program

If you're a member of American Airlines' AAdvantage program, your award booking options just got a little better.

According to this American Airlines press release, they are partnering up with British Airways and Hawaiian Airlines.

The release says:

American Airlines AAdvantage® members can now book award travel via on British Airways, a oneworld® alliance member and joint business partner, and on Hawaiian Airlines, an AAdvantage participating airline. These expanded options offer customers a more convenient way to book one-way, round-trip and multi-city award travel on one or a combination of participating airlines on

In addition to Hawaiian Airlines and British Airways, you can also book award travel on Alaska Airlines as well, all from the convenience of the website.

On November 29, 2011 AMR Corp (American's parent company) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Earlier this year US Airways hinted that they might be interested in a takeover. As of this writing, the merger is still on the table, but there have been no formal plans released.

Photo Credit: Flickr user BriYYZ. Used under Creative Commons License.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Airline Photograph of the Week

Photo of two 747-800s. Air France is coming in for a landing and United is waiting to depart on August 25, 2007.

On the few occasions I've flown on a 747, it has never ceased to amaze me how big they are. Yeah, yeah, they are now dwarfed by the A380, but the 747 has been around for a while and I consider it a classic.

Boeing began development of the 747 back in the 1960s. On January 15, 1970 the first flight, a Pan Am 747 Clipper (Clipper Victor), departed Dulles International Airport. First Lady Pat Nixon performed the christening ceremony.

Photo Credit: Flickr user Ack Ook. Used under Creative Commons license.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Welcome To The Airline Man Blog

Thank you for visiting. The mission of this blog is very basic: Give you news, reviews and flying tips to make your travel more enjoyable. I'll also mix in some of my classic commentary in there as well.

There's a lot of other people who love flying as much as I do, or even more. If that's you, I hope to create a community of avid flyers that can talk all-things-airlines.

I've been following the airline industry for almost 20 years. I still love flying, despite the hassle of security and the airlines' love of taking away valuable leg room (This is always an issue with me because I'm a tall guy).

Thanks again for visiting. I'm going to plunge right into the world of airlines, so stay tuned and enjoy the ride.