Similar to the story about the morons at Hertz in Louisiana who denied a car to a man from Puerto Rico because the gentleman running the counter (and police that got involved!) didn't know Puerto Ricans are American, Spirit Airlines refused to let a Puerto Rican family fly from Los Angeles to Puerto Rico because the family didn't have a U.S. passport for their toddler. Note: Americans don't need a passport to fly to the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, because Puerto Ricans are Americans.
"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," CBS correspondent David Begnaud said in a tweet, which includes video of Marivi Roman Torres, one of the denied family members, recounting her story (see below).
"They were completely inflexible. There was no empathy," she said about both a Spirit Airlines representative and a Spirit supervisor. When the rejected family went over to the JetBlue counter, the reps on that airline told them a passport was not needed and immediately booked them a flight.
The incident took place at Los Angeles International Airport on April 25. Marivi Roman Torres, her husband Luis and their 2-year-old son Alejandro were traveling to the island to visit family. When the family reached the ticket counter at the airport that morning, Roman Torres says the agent asked to see her and her husband's passport.
"At first she told me this is an international flight," Roman Torres said. "I told her no, Puerto Rico is not another country. It is a U.S. territory."
But she and her husband showed their passports to avoid a hassle. When the agent asked for a passport for the toddler, Roman Torres says she told the agent that the boy didn't have a passport. She says they were offered two options: accept a refund or reschedule the flight for a later date once the family could obtain a passport for the child.
Even before that offer was made, Roman Torres says she implored both the agent and the agent's supervisor, who had gotten involved and was aware of the situation, "Is there anyone else I can talk to? Can we call customer service together?"
She said they were "completely inflexible." …
In an email to Roman Torres, a Spirit Airlines representative wrote, "please rest assured that your concerns have been addressed with our management team."
After CBS reached out, looking for answers, Spirit suddenly came to their senses and apologized in a statement:
"Spirit has a long history of serving Puerto Rico, and we offer about 25 daily flights to three destinations on the island. 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."