Spirit Airlines is coined the airline you “love to hate”, becoming known for their not so transparent transparency. We love Spirit because of their constant low flight fares but we hate them because of the extra fees. Spirit presents these as their transparent optional fees: checked baggage, carry-on bags, catering services, seat charges, printing out your boarding passes, and government fee charges.
Spirit’s CEO Ben Baldanza explains his transparency tactics are through unbundling airfare, which they coined “Bare Fare”, keeping the costs low. Spirit’s goal is to get us from point A to point B; nothing else is included. As stated by Baldanza, “Customers are more than willing to swap comfort to save money.” His tactic has been proven helpful with a 40% lower cost than other airlines. Spirit is meant to be fast and to the point.
While “Bare Fare” displays transparency on their website, they lack it at the airport. One example is the lack of transparency in the new D.O.T rule, which requires all airlines to reveal taxes and mandatory fees in fares early on in the purchase process is not displayed with the purchase of a flight. Spirit also will fine us with massive fees at the airport for baggage check-in, printing of boarding passes, and extra customer services. No one wants a frustrating experience at the airport, especially when you’re trying to catch an early flight, no matter how much cost. Spirit is known for giving us that extra headache.
Regardless, Baldanza stands by his claim: “I wouldn’t categorize anything on a Spirit flight as luxurious, as luxuries lead to higher fares.” Is the low air fare really worth complete “bare fare” when it comes to a quick trip to see grandma for the weekend?