People chose Low-Cost over Comfort with Spirit Airlines

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 20th, 2014

Week in Review

Flying used to be reserved for the very rich.  But after deregulation ticket prices fell.  Allowing most anyone to afford flying.  Flying isn’t cheap, though.  Especially with high fuel costs.  Which has created a bunch of low-cost airlines to keep the price of flying as low as possible.  Something people like when buying their tickets.  Even if they end up complaining about the flight (see Spirit Airlines: nation’s highest complaint rate and highest profit margin by Hugo Martin posted 4/20/2014 on the Los Angeles Times).

It may be no surprise that the U.S.-based airline that has drawn the most complaints per passenger over the last five years is Spirit Airlines.

After all, the Florida-based carrier is known for super-tight seating and dozens of fees, including charges for soft drinks and carry-on bags.

But the executives at the ultra-low-cost carrier are probably not sweating the study results because another report released last week said that Spirit also had the highest profit margin of any U.S. carrier in 2013.

Most people want to get where they’re going and really don’t mind the getting there.  If they’re paying, at least.  If the company is picking up the tab, sure, business class all the way.  But most others are traveling somewhere.  And when they get ‘there’ they want to have as much money left over after getting ‘there’ to make their time ‘there’ as good as possible.  So they will put up with being cramped.  Go thirsty.  And pack light.  They may not enjoy this.  But that’s okay.  As long as they can enjoy their time when they get wherever they’re going.

And this is why Spirit Airlines is so profitable.  For as bad as people may find the flying portion of their travels they like having more money in their pockets when they get there.  So people willingly fill those cramped seats.  Because this airline is offering them exactly what they want.  How do we know this?  Because they are filling those cramped seats enough to make Spirit Airlines very profitable.  Which they couldn’t do if people weren’t filling those cramped seats.  So passengers may be saying they don’t like flying Spirit Airlines but their dollars say otherwise.

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