Oversold Flights / Denied Boarding

Spirit Airlines

US Domestic Travel
Original: August 14, 2013

If your Spirit flight is oversold, Spirit will not deny anyone boarding until they first ask for volunteers who are willing to give up their seat in exchange for compensation mutually agreed upon by Spirit Airlines and the potential volunteer.

Voluntary Denied Boarding

When Spirit is asking for volunteers, this is your time to deal.  Spirit may offer you flights, future travel credit, money, airport vouchers, etc.

The amount and type of compensation offered, generally depends on…

  • The amount of your ticket.
  • How long before you can be confirmed on a Spirit flight.
  • City where oversold flight occurs.
  • Your ability to negotiate.

Future Travel Credit

Before accepting future travel credit ask…

  • Any itinerary restrictions?
  • Any blackout dates?
  • How long is future travel credit valid?
  • Can anyone else use this credit?

Read the voucher!

Spirit – Contract of Carriage – Rule 8.1

Involuntary Denied Boarding

If there are not enough passengers who volunteer to be denied boarding, Spirit will deny boarding passengers in the following order:

  • Unaccompanied Children and customers with Disabilities are denied boarding last.
  • Denied boarding is determined on a first come – first served basis, i.e. Last one to check-in is the first one to be denied boarding.   At this point any negotiating is over.  Compensation due you is determined by the US Department of Transportation.

Spirit – Contract of Carriage – Rule 8.2.1 & 8.2.2
14 Code of Federal Regulations – Section 250.3

Compensation Exceptions (Voluntarily Denied Boarding)

No compensation if…

  • You are offered alternate transportation that is planned to arrive at your destination or stopover not later than 1 hour after the planned arrival time of your original flight.
  • Denied boarding due to a substitution of a smaller aircraft.
  • You have not fully compelled with Spirit’s reservation or airport check-in time limit.

Spirit – Contract of Carriage – Rule 8.3.1 – 8.3.3

Compensation Exceptions (In-Voluntarily Denied Boarding)

No compensation if…

  • You are offered alternate transportation planned to arrive at your destination or stopover not later than 1 hour after planned arrival of your original flight.
  • Flight is cancelled.
  • Denied boarding due to substitution of a smaller aircraft.
  • You are offered seats in a different section of the aircraft than originally confirmed.

Spirit – Contract of Carriage – Rule 8.4.3

Compensation Schedule

  • 200% of your fare paid to your destination or first stopover point – maximum $650 – if you are offered alternate transportation that is scheduled to arrive between 1 and 2 hours of originally scheduled arrival time.
  • 400% of your fare paid to your destination or first stopover point – maximum $1,300 – if you are offered alternate transportation that is scheduled to arrive over 2 hours after your originally scheduled arrival time.

Spirit – Contract of Carriage – Rule 8.4.4

Alternate Transportation

Alternate Transportation is considered air transportation with a confirmed reservation at no additional charge by any scheduled airline licensed by the US Department of Transportation – OR – other transportation accepted and used by you in the case of denied boarding.
Spirit – Contract of Carriage – Rule 8.4.5

Method of Payment

If you are denied boarding involuntarily, Spirit Airlines must provide you with payment by cash or check for the amounts specified above.  Payment must be made on the day and at the place where your denied boarding occurred.

If Spirit arranges transportation that departs before payment can be made, Spirit must mail your payment within 24 hours.

Spirit – Contract of Carriage – Rule 8.4.6

Final Option

You may refuse any payment and seek to recover damages in a court of law or in some other manner.
Spirit – Contract of Carriage – Rule 8.4.7

Play it safe

If possible, travel with enough cash, and/or credit available to pay for meals, hotel room or a ticket on another airline if necessary.

Reconfirm!

If for any reason you do not fly as originally booked - I strongly advise that upon arrival at your destination you reconfirm any continuing or return flights. Too often when passengers take a different flight, they are listed as a "no-show" on their original flight and their entire itinerary is cancelled. Do not let this happen to you. Reconfirm and get it in writing! If I am staying longer than 3 days, I reconfirm again 3 days before my scheduled return. I reconfirm online and hit print!

Rules listed are those in effect as of publication or revision date and are subject to change without notice. The Plane Rules, Inc. is not responsible for any changes that occur after publication or revision date. It is not the intent of The Plane Rules, Inc. to provide legal advice regarding the purchase, use or sale of air transportation. This information is for consumer information purposes only. Copyright 2014 The Plane Rules, Inc. St. Paul, Minnesota.