Sunday, November 3, 2013

Spirit Airlines, the ULCC

Spirit Airlines one of the few Ultra Low Cost Carriers (ULCC) in the USA and indeed the world.
Spirit does not have the best of reputations mainly because its customer service due to the unwavering and rigid adherence to its internal rules.

I have flown Spirit in late 2006 when seats still reclined and carry on luggage was free, things have changed since. Spirit charges for everything, it is displayed clearly on their website; from checked baggage, to carry on luggage, to seat assignments and a few other things. I, personally think that all airlines should charge for carry on luggage just to stop people from going around the checked baggage fees and clear some overhead bins for others.

One feature of its aircraft are the first two (2) double seat rows and extra leg rooms, well worth the fee. I had mixed feelings about the non reclining A320 seats, on the one hand they get to be uncomfortable on a long flight but on the other hand you tend not to get the back of the seat in front of you in your face.

So going to NBAA 2013 in Las Vegas I flew with Spirit from Detroit. It was the perfect flight as far as a ULCC goes.
  • I received the email advising me of online check in. 
  • The staff at the airport were smiling and helpful. 
  • The boarding was flawless and we departed on time.
However, the return flight was totally different. I never got the email to advise me about online check in.
It happens but I tried anyway and the system did not let me; the aircraft was delayed for two hours. So now
I know, same thing happened at the airport with self checking kiosks. That by itself was not a problem, a helpful ground agent got me my boarding pass.

Things went downhill when past the 10:10 pm departure time the flight departures monitor still showed the original timings, this was changed to delayed past midnight. No announcements were made, no explanations given and after five hours we departed. I understand that passengers are told to check the departures information monitors, but at least keep them updated!! This total disregard of basic customer service tends to wipe out all the goodwill gained throughout the check in and boarding processes.

Would I fly with them again, only if I have to.

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