My friend Joanna Pineda recently had a very bad experience with Spirit airlines. So, this article in the New York Times' Sunday Business section (March 29, 2009) caught my eye: "Don't come crying to this Airline." The article talks about the Spirit business model of ultra low cost service, which translates to little or no customer service. The word 'non-refundable' is ABSOLUTE at Spirit, apparently, and has garnered many complaints. CEO Ben Baldanza calls this a "mismatch of expectations."
I guess what I take away from this is that when you book on Spirit, online, you need to very carefully verify what you are typing. Also, they need a big, RED, FLASHING notice that explains that this money is totally nonrefundable and if the flight is cancelled don't expect any help getting a new one. Perhaps that would solve the 'expectations mismatch' that is causing all of these issues. And there will probably still be lots of people willing to spin the roulette wheel for the chance at a $9 plane ticket.