Spirit Is #1? Wait, Did I Read That Right???

For years, Spirit Airlines has been dead last, or nearly so, in just about every sort of airline category you could think of. From May 2015 through May 2016, they ranked last in their flights being “on time” in every single month except one. They had a LOT of cancelled flights. They’ve had complaints and sometimes even class action lawsuits and fines regarding customer service, deceptive advertising practices, how they treated customers with disabilities, working conditions for employees, and the list goes on and on. They’ve been the airline that people loved to hate and even their flight attendants became known for making self-deprecating jokes about Spirit (some of them were/are really funny!).

This continued until former Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza stepped down in early 2016 and was replaced by former AirTrain CEO Robert Fornaro. Since then, Spirit has slowly been inching up in quality, with improvements to working conditions and the guest experience, implementing multiple changes such as teaming up with Disney to create new service standards, and changing policies to create a more welcoming environment.

But has it been enough?

Apparently so, because as per Bloomberg, Spirit Airlines, which used to be dead last in being on time, avoided having its flights be late 89% of the time in October 2018, which made them #1, edging out #2 Hawaiian Airlines network by 0.5% and #3 Delta Air Lines network by 1.9%

Here are the complete rankings from the Department of Transportation:

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Here’s Spirit’s response via Twitter 🙂 :

Of course, being on time usually means taking on costs that mess with profits (i.e. using more gasoline to get the plane to its destination). And, like many other airlines, they may or may not be fudging with their estimated time of arrival so they have a few minutes leeway (no one has proof of this but rumors have been circulating within travel circles for a long time). But for now at least, it looks like Spirit is still actively trying to leave its reputation of “the low cost airline that a lot of people hate” behind and we commend them for that.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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