Spirit Airlines has received a rather unflattering honor this week, being named the worst airline in America based on Customer Satisfaction.
Though I see some of my American friends flying on Spirit every now and then I just can’t see myself buying a ticket on that airline anytime soon.
CNN Money reported about the index placement (see here).
The low-cost carrier had the lowest score in this year’s American Customer Satisfaction Index’s travel report with a score of 62 out of 100.But the good news is the airline is making strides in winning over its customers. Spirit scored almost 15% higher than last year.
“They made big gains this year mostly because of price,” said David VanAmburg, managing director at ACSI. “They don’t spend the money on customer service.”
Spirit airlines offers what it calls “bare fares,” which means it charges extra fees for things like a second carry-on bag, water on the plane and printing a boarding pass at the airport.
“Things that are often considered ‘free’ on other airlines, there is a cost associated with them, even if fliers don’t want them,” said Paul Berry, Spirit’s director of communications, advertising and brand. “We are giving customers a choice on what they have to pay for.”
The Florida-based airline shifted to this business model in 2007, and it has taken some time for customers to understand the price structure.
“We saw the same trend with low-cost carriers in Europe — they started off being hated and having the worst levels of complaints. Now 20 years later, more people fly on airlines that look like Spirit over there — people really love low fares.” …
Customer satisfaction with all airlines improved to 72 from 69 in 2015 — the highest level since 1994 — but that isn’t saying much: The sector is still one of the ASCI’s lowest-performing industries.
From all I have seen at U.S. Airports (especially Las Vegas) and inflight images, Spirit is a horrible airline. Interestingly not every low cost carrier automatically means bad service and low customer satisfaction as proven by Southwest which ranks top together with JetBlue, both of which received a value of 80 points.
These days customers simply want cheap things. Travel, food, clothing… cheap everything. That this can’t come with world class customer service should be common sense but one can’t forget that even though airlines can save everywhere such as on board service they still have to ensure some core items such as safety, on time operations and the duty of care when it comes to irregular operations. As soon as these core items are neglected then customer satisfaction automatically slides.