Spirit Airlines is infamous for being one of the worst airlines in the nation, and its employees besmirch the company name.
Exhibit a California family who was denied boarding for not having a passport for their 2-year-old son — Puerto Rico was their destination.
The alarming factor is that the agent who denied their travel didn’t know that Puerto Rico was a US territory. Therefore, the family didn’t need a passport.
According to David Begnaud of CBS News, Marivi Roman Torres, her husband and their son arrived at the Spirit Airlines ticket counter at the Los Angeles International Airport sometime last month.
Spirit Airlines told a Puerto Rican mother to provide her toddlers passport, but when she couldn’t, she says an airline agent & a supervisor refused to allow her & her family to fly from California to the island of Puerto Rico.
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) May 18, 2023
They planned on traveling to Puerto Rico to visit family.
The agent at the counter asked for their passports, which surprised them since they knew that passports were optional when traveling from the US mainland to US territory.
The oblivious agent inaccurately claimed the flight was international.
“I told her, ‘No, Puerto Rico is not another country. It is a US territory,'” Roman Torres recalled.
She and her husband decided to show their passports, but then the agent asked for their son’s, which they informed her he didn’t have.
Instead of fact-checking her wrong information, the agent quickly offered to refund the flight or reschedule. Roman Torres asked if she could speak with someone else, like customer service, yet they weren’t swayed.
“They were completely inflexible. There was no empathy. They were like walls,” Roman Torres said.
A representative and supervisor got involved at some point only to echo the inaccurate information.
Roman Torres’ family eventually headed over to Jet Blue, who confirmed that the family didn’t require passports to fly to Puerto Rico, and they were booked on a flight to the island the same day.
Spirit released a statement apologizing for the misunderstanding and ensured the agent would receive “additional coaching.” However, they overlooked the fact that a supervisor was to blame, as well.
“Spiris has a long history of serving Puerto Rico, and we offer about 25 daily flights to three destinations on the island,” the statement read. “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. We sincerely apologize to our Guest and their family for the inconvenience, and we issued a refund for the tickets and provided them with future travel vouchers.”
Despite the travel vouchers, Roman Torres said she wouldn’t likely travel with Spirit again.
Had the agent brushed up on her TSA facts, she would’ve known Puerto Rico was a US territory and that the 2-year-old wasn’t required to show identification since he was under 18 and accompanied by adults. But she unjustifiably made the family’s check-in process arduous.
Guam and the US Virgin Islands are also US territories that don’t require travelers to present passports.