May 042012


Airline’s CEO Ben Baldanza offers airfare refund to dying vet and $5G donation to Wounded Warrior Project

Spirit Airlines in hot water for string of bad customer service moves

Dying Vietnam veteran Jerry Meekins is getting his money back from Spirit Airlines’ tightfisted boss after all.

After a week of criticism from veterans around the nation, Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza issued a statement Friday afternoon saying he would personally refund Meekins’ $197 airfare, and that the discount carrier would make a $5,000 donation to the Wounded Warrior Project.

“He called me personally, and I’m going to take him at his word,” Meekins told “He was apologetic and said he’d made a mistake.”

“Sometimes we make mistakes,” Baldanza said. “In my statements regarding Mr. Meekins’ request for a refund, I failed to explain why our policy on refunds makes Spirit Airlines the only affordable choice for so many travelers, and I did not demonstrate the respect or the compassion that I should have, given his medical condition and his service to our country.

“Therefore I have decided to personally refund Mr. Meekins’ airfare, and Spirit Airlines will make a $5,000 contribution, in his name, to the charity of his choice, Wounded Warriors.”


CEO Ben Baldanza dismisses complaint stats, says dying vet, above, didn’t ‘play by rules’ in seeking refund

Furious Facebook users move to boycott Spirit Airlines

A dying former Marine has himself to blame for Spirit Airlines’ refusal to give him a $197 ticket refund because he skimped on a $14 insurance option — and giving in would be “cheating” other customers, the airline’s chief executive told in an interview.

SEE: Spirit Airlines CEO: Dying vet has himself to blame for no refund

Spirit Airlines is finding out that if you take on one old soldier, you can end up facing an army, as veterans groups around the nation rally to the side of dying Vietnam veteran Jerry Meekins following the airline’s refusal to refund a $197 ticket after his doctor told him not to fly.

“They’ve got no humanity, they’ve got no patriotism,” Peter Forbes, president of the Veterans of the Vietnam War and the Veterans Coalition, told “[Meekins] deserves a little bit better treatment … Give him a hand up and not a handout, he’s not asking for much at all.”

Veterans groups around the nation are rallying to the side of dying Vietnam veteran and ex-Marine Jerry Meekins, 76, of Clearwater, Fla., following the airline’s refusal to refund him $197 for a ticket after the doctor treating him for terminal esophageal cancer told him not to fly. Meekins told he’s received “hundreds of calls” from veterans nationwide who are as mad at Spirit as he is.

“The response from most veterans is that they’re going to boycott Spirit Airlines,” Meekins told “We’re talking 6 or 7 million people.”

Military men and women, who live the credo of taking care of their own, can’t believe an airline would turn its back on someone who had sacrificed so much. Meekins said Spirit denied his request even though he provided a note from his physician and his prepaid funeral service to the airline.

Facebook: Boycott Spirit Airlines

YOU Decide…Should Spirit Airlines refund dying vet’s money?

Spirit Airlines’ refusal to refund vet’s ticket earns it an ‘F’ in Public Relations


  One Response to “UPDATE II: { Mean Spirited Airlines } Spirit Airlines Backs Down, CEO Offers Vet a Refund”

  1. This jerk off executive would be speaking German or Russian or worse Vietnamese right now if it were not for the service this man gave to his country. Only in America can a CEO earn the kind of money this man does. And America is only America because of the bravery selflessly exhibited by the generations of fighting men this country has produced.

    And if it were against the rules…so what??? This exec could have easily said…. “Sorry company policy does not allow for this but I am the CEO and I am going to give you back your money out of my pocket and then I am going to change this rule”.

    The amount of money involved here might be chump change to the big man CEO but I am sure it was a substantial amount to the veteran.

    Shame on you Mean Spirited Air. Shame Shame Shame on you

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