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Spirit Airlines Solves A Crisis And Starts A New One

Posted Apr 01 2010 12:00am



Okay this post is pretty off my normal topic but I really want to share. As many of you know I travel a lot whether for health reasons or speaking engagements. Over the past year I have flown Spirit, okay so now you know where this is going I'm sure! Just today I received an email from the CEO of Spirit Airlines titled: Message from Spirit Airlines CEO about the carry-on crisis

Oh my there is a crisis!! When I hear crisis I think Haiti, homelessness and cancer so I thought, this must be important, yes im being snarky. If you didn't receive one of these calls for action here is the original email

To our valued customers,

We have all seen how carry-on baggage has gotten out of control.  Longer security lines and boarding process, injuries due to overcrowded overhead bins, delayed flights and passenger frustration has become commonplace.

At Spirit, we are always looking for new ways to save you money and improve the customer experience.  We recently announced our latest innovation, which is designed to relieve the carry-on crisis, saving you time and money.

Our solution to the carry-on crisis:

1-Lowered fares
2-Lower checked bag fees
3-Give everyone a free personal item allowance
4-Allow customers to carry on an additional bag for a fee and give them
priority boarding so they have time and space to stow their extra bag
Everyone Wins!

1-We expect total prices to be lower
2-Security lines will move faster
3-The boarding process will be smoother
4-Deplaning will be faster
5-Passenger and employee safety is improved with less over-stuffed bins

I was absolutely appalled by this email. Not only am I not pleased with being told I will have to pay $45 to bring a small carry on bag but I am pretty pissed that im being told its for my own good and the safety of those around the world.  So annoyed am I that I decided to write an email to Spirit and encourage others to do the same: spiritair@mailnj.custhelp.com   Here is what I wrote

I write today to express my absolute disgust about your decision to charge for carry on baggage.  What bothers me the most is the email that was recently sent out claiming there was a "Carry On Crisis" With so many real crisis in our world today this was an obvious, and disturbing, ploy to act like your company is doing something to improve our world. Clearly your only focus is to make more money and do less work.

1- Lower Fares? By lower fares do you mean it will "appear" to be lower but in reality after you nickel and dime us your fares are not lower they are higher than better airlines!

2-Lowered Checked Bag Fees?? Lower than what? You are now charging us for literally everything how could you act like you are doing your customers a favor by "lowering" checked bag fees. How about not charging for the first bag to encourage customers who want to wait in lines to check a bag for free. Instead you find a way to make more money then claim you are lowering fees! You must think your customers are really stupid!

3- Give Everyone a Free Personal Item Allowance? Are you serious with this one!?! So you are telling us that you will allow your customers to bring a purse with them without charging, well thank you so much. As of today we already have the ability to bring personal items on every airline including Spirit. How is it that you are so graciously giving us something we already have? Again, you must think we are all a bunch of bumbling fools.

4 Allow customers to carry on an additional bag for a fee and give them priority boarding so they have time and space to stow their extra bag? Would this not be FIRST CLASS?? If people want to pay extra for the comfort and ease of boarding first they purchase a first class ticket which already costs more money. We dont want to pay to bring on an extra bag when we can do it for free now and on other airlines. Again, you take us for fools and have very little respect or insight when it comes to your customers.

The best part of the letter is the section entitled: Everyone Wins! The only winner, in the short term at least, would be Spirit Airlines and their pockets. But, as you will soon discover, your customers are not fools and will not stand for this.  To insinuate that by not charging for carry on bags people around the world have been injured is ABSURD to say the least. Your attempt at telling us that you have solved a crisis and that its in our best interest and for our good is insulting and frankly out of line. Furthermore, I would like to address your "penny fares" which in reality cost around $80, if you can even find these fares for your destination, not including the charges for carry on or checked bags, a beverage, pillow etc.... this according to your most recent clarification email.

Prior to receiving your "Carry On Crisis" email I was an avid flier of Spirit. In fact I have flow on your airline over 10 times in 2009 and 4 times in 2010. I have recommended your airline, purchased a $9 fare for my father and have had nothing but nice things to say. But this my friend goes too far. Out of principle alone I will not fly Spirit in the future. In fact I think my pocket book will thank me.  You should be embarrassed!  Your current customers are much smarter than you give them credit for and if you haven't already realized, its your customer who keeps Spirit Airlines afloat.

~Meaghan Edelstein
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