Spirit Airlines refunds Jerry Meekins after community backlash

11:24 PM, May 4, 2012   |    comments
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Video: Jerry Meekins gets refund from Spirit Airlines

Jerry Meekins, who was terminally ill, protested Spirit Airlines because they refused to refund his plane ticket.



Tampa, Florida - Spirit Airlines finally admitted they made a mistake in not refunding the ticket to Jerry Meekins, the 76-year-old Clearwater military veteran who has esophageal cancer.

Update: Jerry Meekins girlfriend, Carol Gray, told 10 News Reporter Althea Paul over the phone that Meekins is pleased and thrilled with the decision. Gray also said that Meekins was really touched that people cared about his story and she feels that the whole experience added on several months to his life.

Related story: Dying man protests airline over refund policy

Spirit stood by their non-refundable policy, but after serious backlash from the comminuty when 10 News aired the story of Jerry Meekins, the airline changed their stance.

Ben Baldanza, CEO of Spirit Airlines just released this statement:

"At a time of ever-rising airfares, Spirit Airlines makes commercial air travel affordable for many Americans.  A very important part of keeping our airfares reasonably priced is our refund policy. 
"Every day we seek to balance customer service with customers' demands for the lowest airfare possible.  But sometimes we make mistakes. 
"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.
"We have worked hard to build a great company that makes air travel affordable while making our employees proud and customers satisfied.  All of us at Spirit Airlines extend our prayers and best wishes to Mr. Meekins."

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