7 On Your Side
Flood victim charged after canceling flight
ISLAND PARK (WABC) -- First she was flooded out of her home, and then she says she got soaked by a discount airline.
For Bonnie Digeronimo, a trip to her waterlogged Island Park home brings a flood of emotions.
"Third time in 2 years. That's rough," she said, weeping.
Bonnie's battered house was just restored after Irene a year ago.
"It looked like a bomb hit it," she said.
Now, outside her ranch is Sandy's calling card - a water line showing water reached 6 feet deep.
Inside, the surge caused more damage.
"It just ripped the refrigerator out of the cabinetry, onto the floor," she said.
Her uninhabitable house has been condemned. She and her husband rough it in a camper.
"I just started crying. I could not believe how bad this was," Deigeronimo said.
But the anguish would get worse Months ago Bonnie bought a ticket for her 88 year old dad to fly up from Myrtle Beach for Thanksgiving on Spirit Airlines.
When Bonnie explained the disaster situation to the carrier, known for charging for carry-on bags, she said Spirit Airlines hit her with a whopping $159 fee after canceling the flight - about half her dad's ticket price. She says Spirit gave her just two months to use it or lose it.
"Talk about taking advantage of people who were put in a bad situation," Deigeronimo said.
"When I hear the words Spirit Air, I think be on your guard," Pauline Frommer, travel expert, said.
Frommer says Bonnie should plead her case to the airline's supervisors. If that doesn't work, complain on social media.
"Shaming the airline on Twitter or on Facebook can help. Those platforms are getting very, very powerful," Frommer said.
Bonnie says she hasn't cyber-complained, but she's still hoping to be heard.
"I will never. I would walk to South Carolina before i fly with Spirit Airlines again," Deigeronimo said.
Late today, some great news from Spirit Airlines. Its spokesperson told us it apologized to Bonnie saying it would waive the service fee and issue her a full future travel credit - a great reason for Bonnie to give thanks this week.
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