Mind Blown: Spirit Airlines is Complaining About Low Fares

Spirit Airlines is the carrier that advertised their “Many Islands Low Fares” or MILF sale with a young man in bed with an older woman who turns out to be his best friend’s mom — and the tagline, “Think that’s low? You should see our fares!”

They ran an invitation to check out the (suntan) oil on their beaches during the Gulf oil spill. And an Anthony Weiner sale and a Carlos Danger sale… the More Bang for Your Buck fare sale to Cartagena during the Secret Service prostitution scandal too.

For goodness sakes they offer a $9 fare club (naturally you pay a fee to join).

So what planet are we on where Spirit is complaining that fares are too low?

Spirit Airlines earnings were dragged down by a dispute with pilots in May that led to flight cancellations. Passengers wound up dragged as well.

Total revenue is actually up year-over-year 20% for the quarter. Passenger revenue per available seat mile is up as well, but costs are up more. As a result net income was flat and margins down.

The airline believes their “cost performance for the second quarter was not satisfactory” if you can believe it the airline wants lower costs even as they work to finalize an agreement with pilots that will result in wage increases of 30% or more.

Under new CEO Bob Fornaro Spirit sure seems to be inching closer to being a traditional airline.

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 InsideFlyer.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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  1. trump alternate reality at its best.

    If it worked for trump it should work for spirit, after all we’re talking about roughly the same target audience of low intellect deplorables.

    Waiting to see the first deplorable to reply with some stupid canned comment they read (read is a stretch, most likely heard on the radio or on fix news) from some rich republican explaining why they should vote against their own self interests.

  2. My favorite Spirit sale was the “We’re not smoking crack – low fares to Toronto” with a silhouette gif of someone smoking.

  3. Just like subsidized US3 complaining about ME3 being government subsidized, not a ULCC complaining about low fare?

    Or maybe those companies only taking advantage that the current administration is easy to manipulate?

    On the other note, if you worked for a company that charge low fare to customer, don’t be surprised that your wage also low fare. Who do you think paid your salary? Its something grandmas seems to forget, acting high and might against people that ultimately paid their salaries. With their supposedly higher education, pilot should’ve have more common sense.

  4. This isn’t complicated. “Basic Economy” from the big boys is a big problem for ULCCs. Nobody prefers to fly Spirit; they fly it because it’s cheaper. But by offering a stripped down product where everything is ancillary, the majors can offer Spirit-level fares and — possibly — completely destroy Spirit’s business model. Nobody knows yet whether this will occur, but investors are already nervous (for good reason).

    Honestly, if you want to discuss the business-end of the airline business — instead of just the frequent flyer aspects — you need to have a better understanding of what’s going on and what motivates the business decisions. Basic Economy isn’t about screwing over customers with cramped seats and no carry-on luggage; it’s about destroying the ULCC business model.

  5. Do the majors offer Spirit level fares? That is the part I have not observed. What I have seen is that they keep their existing fare, mark it Basic Economy, and upsell to generate more revenue. I cannot see why any of that would entice someone already with Spirit, and why it would drive to Spirit some people flying the majors. I agree that they could do battle with Spirit and the like if they matched their fares, but where is that happening?

  6. I have read that the older planes have normal sized seating comparable to other airlines. I have also read complaints about the newer planes. Passengers have said that the seating is tight uncomfortable and not able to recline back.
    I understand it is a budget airline so you never know what you are going to get.

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