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Jerry Meekins's story shows why Spirit's schmucky no-refund policy won't fly

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The same day that Spirit Airlines celebrated its return to Denver International Airport -- complete with hefty new fees for carry-on luggage -- its CEO, Ben Baldanza, was still carrying on about why the company is not refunding $197 to a 76-year-old, cancer-stricken vet too sick to fly. He recognized Jerry Meekins' "tragic situation," Baldanza said yesterday, but could not make an exception to the company's no-refund policy.

Baldanza pointed to the fact that Spirit does offer to sell flight insurance to travelers. Had Spirit made an exception for Meekin, it would have been like an insurance company paying a homeowner for fire damage even if the homeowner didn't have insurance.

"Had we done that, I think it really would've been cheating all the people who actually bought the insurance," he said in an interview with Fox News, which has been polling viewers on whether they'd support a boycott of Spirit. "And I think that's fundamentally unfair."

Don't tell that to the Colorado Legislature, which is considering setting up a commission to compensate victims of the Lower North Fork Fire. And definitely don't tell it to supporters of Meekins, who've not only voiced support of a Spirit boycott on the Fox News website, but are also calling for Baldanza's ouster.

You can't buy publicity like that. Especially for $197.

Welcome back to Denver, Spirit.

More from our Shmuck of the Week archive: "Chad Brownstein's internship turns into Hottest Girl prize -- and turns him into a Shmuck."

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