Spirit changes mind, pays refund to dying veteran
After a week of bad press, Spirit Airlines on Friday said it would honor customer Jerry Meekins’ request for a refund.
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Meekins, a Vietnam War veteran diagnosed with terminal esophageal cancer, had asked for a refund of his $197 nonrefundable airfare after canceling his trip. Meekins said his doctor advised against making the trip due to his declining health.
Spirit had refused to issue a refund, deciding to strictly adhere to its policy. But on Friday, Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza issued a statement saying that “sometimes we make mistakes.”
"In my [prior] statements regarding Mr. Meekins' request for a refund, I failed to explain why our policy on refunds makes Spirit Airlines the only affordable choice for so many travelers, and I did not demonstrate the respect or the compassion that I should have, given his medical condition and his service to our country,” Baldanza said.
"Every day we seek to balance customer service with customers' demands for the lowest airfare possible,” Baldanza said. “But sometimes we make mistakes.”
In addition to refunding Meekins’ fare, Spirit said it would make a $5,000 donation in Meekins’ name to the Wounded Warrior Project, the charity of Meekins’ choice.