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Airline agrees to reimburse expenses after missed cruise – but they didn’t have to

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CUMBERLAND, R.I. (WPRI) — Over the summer, Richard and Stephanie Tessier planned a cruise to the Bahamas to celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary and Richard’s 50th birthday.

“We were killing two birds with one stone,” Richard joked.

The couple and their daughter planned to fly from Boston to Orlando and take a shuttle right to the cruise ship in Port Canaveral, but their flight on Spirit Airlines was delayed.

“We had three delays,” Tessier recalled.

Several hours after it was supposed to take off, the flight departed. When it landed, the Tessiers raced to the port. The cruise ship was still docked, but it was too late to board.

“It was a nightmare,” Tessier said. “We usually go through a travel agent and this time we tried to save a few dollars and it ended up costing us.”

Tessier said his family lost more than $3,000 on non-refundable cruise costs. They also spent an extra $500 on a hotel room, food, and taxi rides for their unexpected one night stay in Florida.

At the time, Spirit Airlines offered the Tessiers three $100 travel vouchers. Tessier called the offer an insult.

“It just ruined our whole vacation,” he said.

That’s when the family contacted Call 12 for Action. Our questions prompted the airline to launch an investigation into this issue.

Stephen Schuler, a spokesperson for Spirit, said, “We pride ourselves on being one of the most on-time airlines in the country and we are committed to improving the guest experience.”

“We’re sorry to have let this family down and in addition to the travel vouchers provided, we are reimbursing the guests for the expenses incurred due to missing their cruise,” Schuler added.

“At least they’re making the effort,” Tessier conceded.

It’s actually an effort no airline has to make: anyone who flies should keep in mind there are no federal rules requiring airlines to compensate passengers whose domestic flights are delayed or canceled.

Fly Rights: USDOT’s consumer guide to air travel »

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, “airline delays aren’t unusual, and defensive planning is a good idea when time is your most important consideration.”

Susan Campbell (scampbell@wpri.com) is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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