Spirit Airlines Runs an Anthony Weiner Sale!

It’s HARD to resist their fares!

Screen caps from the Spirit Airlines website today:

My wife says I’m a 13 year-old boy. Which is why I really, really want to like Spirit Airlines.

But even if I like their advertising, I won’t actually fly them.

Spirit is a bad airline and even when I defend them (as I often do), it’s in the context of “they have a right to be bad, and this is what the customer is buying and they shouldn’t expect anything different.”

Spirit used to charge extra for booking online. That made carryon baggage fees. Their President, who spawned the ‘cockroach’ movement amongst passengers when he was at US Airways for saying publicly that passengers on low fares aren’t people they value, writes nasty emails to internal staff about his customers at Spirit as well.

Which is why I argued that whether or not the airline actually denied water to a pregnant woman onboard, it’s really the customer’s fault because folks should simply know better than to fly Spirit.

Still, I have to like that they’re the only airline trying to capitalize on whatever pain others are feeling in the country at a given time, such as last summer when they invited customers to check out the (suntan) oil on the beaches that they fly to… during the BP oil spill. (At the time I was just thankful they hadn’t advertised ‘a flood of low fares to New Orleans’ after Hurricane Katrina.)

Their most famous ad has to be their “MILF Sale” (Many Islands, Low Fares)… and in keeping with the ‘theme’ they ran a TV commercial, “Think that’s low? Spirit Airlines fares are even lower!”

Sadly, Spirit’s attempt to catch today’s zeitgeist isn’t quite as clever as oil spills. There’s not even a play on words here that makes sense with the airline or its destinations.

Still, Weiner is kind of a schmuck whether you think there ought to be public recrimination for his behavior or not. And it’s good to see Spirit having a little fun at his expense, and helping us laugh along with them.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Love those $9 (plus fuel) fares. How deceptive !

    And you have to fly them or buy something on their credit card every month or your miles expire.

    Shame since they actually have a great hub out of Ft. Lauderdale to South America, Latin America & the Caribbean.

  2. Actually, Spirit does still charge for booking online. Only they disguise it in the fine print by calling it a “Passenger Usage Fee” of $8.00 each way that applies on all itineraries except those purchased at airport ticket counters.

  3. I actually think the WORST thing about Spirit is their crass advertising.

    Would you want to work for an airline that regularly uses sexual inuendo to sell tickets? I wouldn’t. What kind of business culture is that? What’s wrong with being, um, professional?

  4. But why are they a “bad airline?” As if no other airline has had PR gaffes? Or had staff members who have treated passengers poorly? Sure, their advertising is somewhere between ridiculous and offensive. But that doesn’t reflect poor airline decisions, that reflects poor business judgment.

    As an airline, they are pretty straightforward with customers about what the onboard experience will be like. In fact, I would argue that they are far more honest than any of the U.S. legacy carriers, who market themselves as if their coach service is similar to relaxing in a spa for 2 hours.

    Spirit is often far less expensive than the competition (not always, and you have to figure all the fees in). If saving money matters to you, and you understand the Spirit experience (which, again, they’re pretty forthright about), then by all means go for it. If you can’t handle the tradeoffs, and you think that sitting in coach on a legacy carrier is significantly different, then have fun on Continental (BTW – I love Continental, and fly 60-70k miles a year on them).

    But one could probably argue that Continental charging $1500 for a transcon in a coach middle seat makes them more of a “bad airline” for consumers than Spirit.

    And finally, Spirit is such a bad airline that they have made money every quarter for something like that past 4 years.

    I just think we’re kidding ourselves if we think that Spirit passenger experience is all that much different than the non-Elite passenger experience on a legacy airline.

  5. I love their advertising, gets attention and his denials were ridiculous, to think he could get away with the denial given the evidence was a reflection of a poor intellect and obviously not one competent to represent the public.

    As they say there is no such thing as justice, only evidence.

    He should resign.

    And long live Spirit.

  6. @Jared they’re very straightforward and you get what you pay for. I contend there is a big difference and we disgree on that point. Try experiencing Spirit during irrops.

  7. @Gary Dear God, do NOT make me experience them when they’ve canceled a flight. If you have to check a bag, it’s like the scene at the US embassy during the fall of Saigon. I can’t imagine what it’s like when 150 people are told their plane isn’t flying.

    But in fairness, they lost an aircraft last December the day before we were flying them to FLL, and sure enough a North American Airlines plane flew us in both directions. They didn’t just cancel our flight. It worked out great, as drinks & snacks were free, and there was about, oh, 4 inches more pitch. Sometimes when you lose you win :)

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