Spirit Airlines – Good or Bad?

I fly a lot for work, in fact, I fly multiple times per month, and I tend to fly with very short notice, which for the airline industry makes me a very profitable customer.  I buy wine, and I always pay for the Internet.  I have flown over a million miles and I have watched air travel degrade in many ways over the past few years, while seeing a lot improve.

I decided to try out spirit. I was very impressed by their model of paying for what you use. Their ticket prices are very fair, and they do a great job of telling you exactly what will happen to you if you don’t follow their rules.

My first flight went great. In fact, it went so well that I was considering moving all of my air travel to them. I pack light, so I am their ideal passenger. I also live near their home base of Fort Lauderdale. I fly to Dallas and Chicago on a continual basis.  I also want to support them because they are a local company and provide a lot of jobs to South Florida.

When I landed in Dallas, I had a full day ahead of me. The flight went great – on time, no drama. I told a few of my friends that warned me about Spirit about how much I enjoyed the flight. I was ready to make the switch.
so it was time to return to Fort Lauderdale. Spirit did a great job of reminding me that cash would not be accepted on the flight for drinks. I was cool with that. I was dying of thirst but I knew this wouldn’t be a problem, since I had my credit cards.

As the flight attendants come around to do service, they announced that their credit card reader was broken and they could only take cash.

I asked the flight attendant very nicely, I said, “I feel like a dick even asking you this but I’m really thirsty and would like to purchase wine. I don’t have cash on me. Can I write you a check?”  her answer was, “I’m sorry sir, we can only take cash”. So I had said, “ok, can I at least have a drink of water” and her reply was, “nothing is complimentary”.

So great, you tell me not to bring cash, then tell me you can’t accept the form of payment you told me to bring. Then, you can’t even give me a sip of water.

I can remember a time on Southwest Airlines that I almost missed the flight, and I was running down the concourse, and the gate agent was announcing over the PA System “I see you Joseph Palko!  You can do it!”.  When I made it onto the plane, I was sweating and couldn’t breathe and the flight attendant brought me a cold beer and said, “You look like you can use this, courtesy of Southwest Airlines”.

Do I give Spirit another chance?  Or do you think the “culture of cheap” is so ingrained throughout the organization that the people that work there will never care about customer service?  Being thirsty for two hours really sucks, but next time, will they do something even worse?

2 thoughts on “Spirit Airlines – Good or Bad?

  1. Wow, this sounds really bad, Joe. An illustration of how degraded the concept of customer service is in many industries. I was recently improperly charged for fuel fill-ups on two car rentals in Europe. I’ve written to the companies and neither has responded. Thank goodness I can take it up with my credit card issuer.
    I’d give them another chance if they had the best connection or fare … but bring along a few bucks!

  2. Spirit Airlines is more or less a copy of Ryanair, Ryanair has made flying more affordable and Ryanair is very successful. It is a different way of thinking (unbundling). I think that Spirit Airlines can succeed as long as they have not too many flight delays and cancellations. Ryanair has by the way stated that it wants to soften its rules a bit and it wants to focus a bit more on business travelers instead of only holiday travelers.

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