Spirit Airlines: Isn’t it amazing?
Yep, they did it. They took an entire airline where no one had gone before. People had dabbled with the idea, but no one had truly capitalized on creating and developing the crappies possible brand in the airline industry in order to complete solely on price. Spirit nailed it. My last flight on Spirit, I could have sworn the seats were repurposed floor mats from a factory of some sort, possibly old saddles they found at a garage sale maybe. It wasn’t clear, but the flight attendants were I think passengers on the plane, they just handed them uniforms and asked one to push a beverage cart. Maybe things like safety held other airlines back in the past, but Spirit has thrown caution to the wind and said we don’t care, as long as our tickets show up as the lowest option on Expedia we will make it happen.
What is perplexing about this entire market scenario with Spirit Airlines is that the change in expectations and service quality has completely changed the way the customer acts. I will admit, most people in airports act strangely anyway, but Spirit has developed a new category of airline traveler. Usually, I’m guessing they are the traveler who has never traveled before, but now with a ticket that is exceedingly cheap, they have the opportunity to fly somewhere and were willing to pull the trigger on that purchase. During my most recent flight I equated the experience to Star Wars when they enter the alien bar and there sits a host of unique creatures who are enjoying their music and alien drinks. One guy had a long snout, another was a giant blob and several were small monkey looking creatures dancing to music. There is absolutely a different crowd on a Spirit airlines flight.
Spirit has also conditioned us to hate bringing anything with us on trips. We are charged for carry on and checked bags. This most recent flight I saw a lady who had packed her winter coat, small dog and violin into her purse to avoid an additional charge. You find yourself in a competition of sorts trying to manage how many days you can wear the same underwear or turn your shirts inside out to minimize extra baggage and although you smell significantly worse, it’s amazing how much less you bring with you on your trip. Again, Spirit has created behaviors that just weren’t there before the airline went live with their master plan.
Another interesting aspect to Spirit is the “no drinks” portion of the business plan. You can picture Spirit executives analyzing the $13.75 in beverages they spent on the last flight serving customers and when they had the realization to just pull the program entirely. They must have been snickering and rubbing their hands together as they crossed off the line item from the spreadsheet. Once again though, this Spirit change in service has created new behavior in the passengers. I can’t understand how you go on a flight where the beverages are free and literally everyone is parched beyond belief and can’t wait for their diet coke. Then when you fly on a Spirit Airlines, not even one person asks for so much as a napkin because you have to pay 50 cents for everything you order. Well, people figure out a way to make it work and so far, I haven’t seen someone pass out from hydration issues on a Spirit flight.
I must admit, Spirit has found a place in the airline market and it seems to be working. Yes, they could be called the Yugo of planes, or possibly the Taco Bell of Mexican Food or even the Cleveland Browns of Football, but who cares of people keep showing up and asking for more.