The Metamorphosis of Spirit Airlines

Interesting…to be the most hated airline in America. It seems like everyone is trying to create their own airline version of Spirit.  A Spirit Cabin inside a legacy carrier aircraft. Delta – Basic Economy, American – Basic Economy and United – Basic Economy. None of that has a prayer of working for any of them.

The transatlantic and International ULCC market: Norwegian Air and Wow are getting similar copycat backlash with British Airways – Level, Air France – Joon, Air Canada – Rouge, Air Asia, Ryanair, Jetstar, Scoot, Flybe, Jet2, Air Arabia, EasyJet, Eurowings, Azul, Volaris, Jet Airways, and Interjet. Now it is time to get ready for Swoop. They are the latest ULCC Carrier to join the pack from Canada. 

Legacy Carriers are no longer sleeping. Everyone is raising their game on both sides of the playing field. Spirit is offering Disney training to try and improve its service to prepare for a new premium product launch down the line to replace the Big Front seat option. Jet Blue has rolled out Mint to rave reviews which have been stealing tons of customers from the legacy carrier transcon market. Delta is the first to wake up and acknowledge this encroachment. They have now unveiled International configuration lay flat bed sleeper seat aircraft onto their domestic transcon routes that go head to head with Jet Blue.

Spirit now has an amazing opportunity and it will be interesting to see just what they do with that. The proof is in the pudding. The upgraded premium cabin on a low-cost carrier works and it is a money maker. They currently do not have one.  So will they create one of our own or join forces with another airline that can create it for them? Low Cost transatlantic is a money maker. AFA, ALPA, and the US Government did not shut down Norwegian as many Legacy Carriers had hoped. So this provides Spirit with opportunity number 2.

Do they continue moving forward with their tentative long-term goal of launching their own transatlantic operation from BWI to Dublin and Gatwick? Do they finally sign the ink on the long-awaited Code Share with Ryanair? Do they join forces with someone like Norwegian or Wow to let them be the partner to do it for them? Former Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza is already over at Wow. Many have wondered if this is the reason why he went there. These are all the long term big growth questions and options that will be on the table to bring Spirit to the next level of it’s Business Model. It will be interesting to see just where they decide to go and if the current management will be capable of making the correct, best and wise choices for Spirit airline’s future.


CBS News Swoop

Forbes Baldanza Wow

Spirit Airlines BizJournal

Spirit Airlines Travel Weekly

Disney Spirit Training

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