Spirit Airlines has had a rough couple of years, what with record numbers of customer complaints, tickets being delayed and cancelled, and a rash of chaos at airports. But despite all that, the airline industry giant is being uncharacteristically calm this year. Why? Because this year’s many high-profile customer service failures are going to lead to a massive customer pick-up in 2017.
A new tripwire has been added to the airline industry and it’s called Spirit Airlines. While the company has been repeatedly slammed by the media for its crummy service and its logistical ineptitude, it’s also been praised for its low prices and its no-fuss attitude. But if you’re looking for a safe, reliable, and inexpensive way to travel, you’re not going to find it at Spirit.
Spirit Airlines is a budget airline that has found itself in hot water this past year due to a series of very public and embarrassing incidents. In March, a woman was arrested for attempting to open an emergency exit door and grabbing a flight attendant’s breast during a flight from Florida to New York. In May, a Chicago police officer was arrested for threatening to shoot his Spirit Airlines flight crew. In June, a woman was arrested for punching a Spirit Airlines flight attendant in the face, while the crew was attempting to put her baby in a carrier after she was denied a seat for an emotional support pet. This was the second time in less than six months that an emotional support animal had caused a mid-flight incident. In July, a Minnesota
Why Spirit Airlines’ Mass Meltdowns Won’t Affect It Long-Term
on August 13, 2021 by Gary Leff
Spirit Airlines has melted down at a degree we’ve never seen from an airline in the last several weeks. Spirit’s cancellations, the airline’s order for workers to leave the airport in disguise for their own safety, and customer protests have all been entangled with news of other airline delays. They aren’t similar in any way. Spirit has canceled more than half of its flights on certain days.
After crew shortages, irate workers, IT meltdowns, and poor weather stranded the carrier, they seem to have finally regained control. So it’s important to consider the long-term consequences, not just for the passengers directly affected, but also for how videos of passengers losing their cool in the face of impossible lines and eventually being denied assistance reverberate in the minds of potential customers who might fly Spirit in the future. The answer is, of course, Spirit will be just fine.
It’s more difficult to recuperate from poor Spirit surgeries.
- Spirit does not have many flights or many hubs via which passengers may be routed; its flights are rare (e.g., one per day per city pair) and point-to-point, thus there are no hub connections to get people where they need to go.
- Spirit does not have interline agreements that allow passengers to be transferred to another airline, but neither does Southwest (see #1), and it is difficult for most customers to be transferred to another airline during irregular operations these days (since it is a cost for the airline).
Spirit Airlines’ client base is nearly entirely made up of leisure travelers. The majority of them are infrequent travelers. It’s worse during irregular operations since consumers don’t know how to handle issues on their own and need more assistance (which Spirit is unable to provide), but it’s better in terms of reputation rehabilitation.
- Passengers who have been treated poorly by Spirit are less likely to make repeat purchases in the near future.
- Their consumer base is presumably unconcerned about this.
- Their consumers already tolerate less service (onboard, and schedule frequency) than other customers, therefore they’re the ones most likely to accept poor service and still purchase Spirit tickets.
Flying Spirit is fascinating social research for a regular passenger on legacy airlines. “Why not?” says their in-flight beverage card, inviting customers to purchase alcoholic drinks. “You’re on vacation!” exclaims the narrator.
United Airlines eventually recovered from the negative publicity surrounding customer David Dao being pulled off an aircraft and assaulted, with the carrier’s CEO apologizing for the difficulty this incident caused other passengers. Spirit has a stronger client base than United and is better positioned to go ahead.
Spirit Airlines’ Big Front Seat remains one of the finest travel bargains, and the company had gotten their operations under control prior to the epidemic. However, if a Spirit aircraft fails, don’t rely on the airline to bring you to your destination. Take control of the situation. You’ll fight for your refund later, and you’ll book your own flight on another airline as soon as possible.
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