Spirit Airlines came to the aid of a Puerto Rican family stranded in Turks and Caicos before the July Fourth holiday, finding them a place to stay, then sending a plane to take them home.
On June 30, the Santiago Rodriguez family was en route from San Juan to Philadelphia when their 4-year-old daughter had a medical emergency after takeoff. Their Spirit flight was forced to divert to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, so she could receive medical attention.
Thankfully, the little girl recovered quickly, but the family ran into red tape.
Passports aren’t required when flying between Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, and the mainland, which means the family didn’t have the necessary documentation when it came time to leave Turks and Caicos.
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Worse still, there was a lack of commercial flights available since the British territory, north of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, hasn’t reopened to international travelers (it is likely to do so July 22). That’s where Spirit came in.
Spirit Airlines not only helped the family find a place to stay on the island but also secured special permission to send an empty plane to Providenciales to fly the family back to Puerto Rico .
The Santiago Rodriguez family is home after landing back at San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport on Wednesday.
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“I have no words to describe how thankful I am to the airline and the people of the island who were so good to us,” the girl’s mother, Ana Desiree Rodriguez Sanchez, said in a news release Thursday. “We left all of our luggage on a flight to Philadelphia and didn’t have anything on us to spend the night, so they quickly helped us find a place to stay, clothes and food for us. The airline was so great to us, and we are so thankful.”
Andrea Baigorria, Spirit’s external communication manager, said in the news release that the airline was “very happy to have been able to help the Santiago Rodriguez family return home and offer them a sense of peace after a moment of anguish.”
She continued, “We worked in collaboration with the family, our Spirit Airlines members and the local governments in each city to help quickly facilitate their return flight back home. We also want to thank the American Red Cross in Providenciales for helping the family during their time here.”