A Puerto Rican family traveling from Los Angeles to Puerto Rico faced travel restrictions imposed by Spirit Airlines as their toddler did not have a U.S. passport, even though it was not required for Puerto Rican citizens traveling to the island.
After CBS News reached out to the airline seeking clarification, Spirit Airlines promptly apologized to the family for the incident. In a statement, the airline acknowledged that the identification requirements were misunderstood by a new agent at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). They assured that additional coaching would be provided to the agent to reinforce proper procedures.
The incident occurred on April 25 when Marivi Roman Torres, her husband Luis, and their 2-year-old son Alejandro were en route to Puerto Rico to visit family. Upon reaching the ticket counter, the agent requested passports from Roman Torres and her husband, despite Puerto Rico being a U.S. territory. To avoid complications, the couple presented their passports. However, when asked for their toddler’s passport, Roman Torres explained that the child did not possess one. They were then presented with two options: accept a refund or reschedule the flight once the child obtained a passport.
Before responding to the options, Roman Torres sought further assistance from the agent and the supervisor who had joined the conversation. However, she found their response to be inflexible and lacking empathy. Frustrated, she approached the nearby JetBlue counter and explained the situation. The JetBlue employee confirmed that a passport was not required for travel to Puerto Rico, and they were able to secure seats on a JetBlue flight, albeit at a higher price.
Eventually, the Roman Torres family reached Puerto Rico at 2 a.m., though their toddler was understandably displeased. While grateful for finally arriving, Roman Torres expressed her disillusionment with Spirit Airlines. The airline, in response, offered a refund for the tickets and provided future travel vouchers as a gesture of apology.
Spirit Airlines, which has a significant presence in Puerto Rico with approximately 25 daily flights to three destinations on the island, expressed its sincere apologies to the family and assured them that their concerns had been addressed with the management team.
Roman Torres appreciated the airline’s response and efforts to rectify the situation but admitted she might not choose Spirit Airlines in the future, as her trust had been compromised by an incident that should not have occurred.
In a separate incident, Hertz also recently apologized to a Puerto Rican man, Humberto Marchand, for denying him a car rental because he didn’t have his passport. Despite presenting his Puerto Rican driver’s license, the employee insisted that a passport was necessary. The incident took place at the rental car counter at New Orleans international airport.