Photo Credit: Stefani Reynolds
Spirit Airlines Issues Apology to Parents After Saying a Passport Is Needed To Fly to Puerto Rico From Los Angeles
All kinds of issues can happen during trips, and it can be stressful for all involved. There’s no shortage of stories of airport and airline drama, from unruly passengers to missing luggage.
And one incident late last month involving a Puerto Rican family and Spirit Airlines is no exception.
The Family Couldn’t Get Past The Spirit Check-In Counter
A Puerto Rican family tried to check in for a flight bound for Puerto Rico from Los Angeles, but an agent with the carrier, Spirit Airlines, didn’t let them through because their 2-year-old son didn’t have a passport.
To make things worse, the agent reportedly insisted a passport was needed for all family members because the flight was “international.”
Puerto Rico Is A U.S. Territory
The parents, who were planning to visit relatives in Puerto Rico, tried to reason with the agent, assuring her that Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory. They asked if there was another Spirit Airlines associate they could speak with or if there was a customer service line they could call, but the agent stood firm.
According to Insider, “The [Spirit] employee then offered to either refund the flight or reschedule for when the family could acquire a passport for the young child.”
As part of an apology for the inconvenience, Spirit offered a refund and a voucher that the family could put toward future travel.
Marivi Roman Torres, the mother of the family, ended up rebooking tickets with JetBlue due to the situation with the Spirit agent. She said she wouldn’t be booking with the airline again.
Some Were Shocked by the Actions of the Agent
Spirit Airlines issued the following statement: “Spirit has a long history of serving Puerto Rico. In this specific case, an agent at LAX who is new to the position, misunderstood the identification requirements. We are providing the agent with additional coaching and reiterating proper procedure.”
The burning question some had was: How can you work in the travel industry and not know that Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory?
David Begnaud, a national correspondent for CBS News, posted a news report video that sparked a chorus of criticism aimed at the airline.
One Twitter user wrote, “Spirit flies to other countries…that’s scary.”
Several people pointed out it was even more frightening that a Spirit Airlines supervisor didn’t know Puerto Rico is part of the U.S.
To this point, a second Twitter user wrote, “How does the airline agent and the supervisor not know that you don’t need a passport to travel to Puerto Rico? You learn that Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the U.S.A. in the 3rd Grade. The airline agent not knowing is one thing. The supervisor not knowing is inexcusable.”
U.S. citizens don’t need a passport to go to and from Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.