Spirit Air Featured on NPR’s “Planet Money” Podcast
I’m a regular listener of NPR’s “Planet Money” and was interested to hear this week’s past episode: “Episode 517: The Fastest Growing, Least Popular Airline In America.” The episode, which aired on Friday Feb 14, is all all about the airline we all love to hate: Spirit Airlines. It features an interview with their CEO, Ben Baldanza who defends the airline and likens it to the Dollar General of the airline industry whereas his competitors are all trying to be the Target or Nordstroms of the skies.
You can follow the link here to listen: Episode 517: The Fastest Growing, Least Popular Airline In America or directly download the MP3 using this link: direct download.
It’s cheap to fly on Spirit Airlines, but you have to pay extra for perks. And by perks, we mean a bottle of water or space in the overhead bin.
It’s totally rational: pay for what you use, don’t pay for what you don’t use. And it’s increasingly popular: Spirit is the fastest growing airline in America.
And yet. Lots of people really don’t like Spirit Airlines. In a Consumer Reports survey published last year, Spirit finished last among U.S. airlines.
How is the fastest growing airline also the least popular? On today’s show, we fly Spirit Airlines to Florida and ask the CEO.
For more reading on Spirit Airlines, check out out past few reviews from our recent trips:
….Ahh yes, Spirit Air: the self-proclaimed “America’s Only ULCC-Ultra Low Cost Carrier.” The champions of nickel-and-diming, Spirit charges the customer only for what he uses. If you want to carry on a bag, you’re welcomed to for a fee, but they don’t add it to the ticket cost because they don’t charge those who don’t want the service. No matter what your opinion is on the big change in the airline industry, you can’t deny that Spirit Air has some damn cheap fares on their routes.
I don’t necessarily expect the same level of service on a $40 flight as I do on the $8,000 trans-Atlantic First Class ticket, but we all expect a minimum level of service and Spirit Air has generally gone above and beyond that level. We’ve flown them a few times and have been all-in-all pleased with the value of the service. In an effort to keep their costs low, they tend to fly somewhat obscure routes and into underutilized airports. Instead of flying into Toronto, you’ll fly into the Niagara Falls, NY airport, about two hours (and one country) south. The same goes with Montreal: they’ll bring you close to your destination (ever heard of Plattsburgh, NY?), but you’re on your own for the last remaining miles……
…..Spirit Air has also adopted the same ultra-classy marketing campaign as Las Vegas, further solidifying their rank among the lower classes of society. “Our cabins are pressurized to seal in Vegas secrets”—OK, we get it: Vegas is where people go to sleep with strippers, and that’s Spirit Air’s idea of a target audience. Again, if Sin City is your idea of a good time, Spirit Air will help you get there — or close to there, at least……