Spirit Airlines is an airline that I swore to myself I would never fly many years ago. Back in my airline days I had the special pleasure of being involved with ground handling Spirit at an unnamed airport. We handled ticket counter, gate, and ramp operations for them. They had one employee on duty that usually went missing when things went wrong, which was pretty often on that incarnation of Spirit Airlines. This was in the day when they operated DC-9’s and a couple of MD-80’s or the DC-9-80 to the aeronautically minded among us.
In fairness, the Spirit Airlines of today operates a much more modern fleet, and I probably should fly them just once to see how things have changed. But I remain unconvinced that they’re a better airline. That said, I would be remiss if I did not mention the article I read in today’s USA Today about their brand overhaul. From the article:
“Let’s not let anybody be surprised about Spirit,” CEO Ben Baldanza says about the effort. “Let them know exactly who we are.” As part of the relaunch, officially unveiled today (May 7), Spirit is tweaking its logo and rolling out a revamped website that includes “how to” videos meant to teach customers about what they’ll get when they fly on the airline.
Spirit also is tackling its no-frills aspects that can be unpopular — such as its Airbus aircraft, which are packed with more than two dozen more seats than those of its rivals that fly the same planes. More passengers allow it to pass along lower fares, Spirit says. “A little cozier seating and fewer expensive extras mean lower fares for you,” the company says in announcing its brand overhaul.
OK, I’ll give them an E for marketing effort, and I actually like the idea of “how to” videos. Spirit is such an outlier in the way they do business, that I’m sure many of their once a year flier types are a bit taken aback at their first Spirit experience. Of course, they’ve recently been joined by Frontier in their unique business model.
Perhaps I’ll give Spirit a try someday, but I kinda doubt it. Nonetheless, they serve a legitimate niche in travel, and I’m glad they’re here.
-MJ, May 7, 2014