“They play a really important role,” said Feuer, who works for a nonprofit organization. “I think people are a little bit elitist about it.”
As Spirit faces an uncertain future, Feuer and other fans wonder what travel would be like without Spirit and hope the go-to low-cost airline succeeds.
Spirit’s fate has been up in the air since Spirit announced plans to merge with Frontier in 2022. The deal fell apart a few months later, and Spirit agreed to be acquired by JetBlue. But the Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit last year to block the deal. Last month, a judge ruled against the deal, saying it would harm consumers by stifling competition between airlines. JetBlue and Spirit are attractive, but Spirit declined to comment for this article.
“Spirit is a small airline, but there are people who love it,” U.S. District Judge William Young said in the ruling. “Dear Spirit customers, this is for you.”
Cue head scratching.The person who says what that?
“There are no loyal customers who love Spirit Airlines,” wrote one person, formerly of Twitter, X. “It’s nothing but a pathetic path of heartbreak, anger, and destruction.”
I just heard someone say, “I love Spirit Airlines.” That’s the best,” and that’s probably the most chaotic sentence I’ve ever heard.
— Fleetwood McAllister (@thathojotoho) February 29, 2020
Becky Kela would disagree. The 32-year-old video editor loves the airline. She once wrote an article for BuzzFeed with the headline, “Hot Take: I love Spirit Airlines, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.”
“I like it when other airlines are cheaper because it makes the airline more competitive,” said Kela, a resident of Madison, Wis., who has flown Spirit for many years. When she was in graduate school in Chicago, she regularly flew back to Florida for $45, she said. Her best deal was a one-way ticket from O’Hare to Fort Lauderdale in 2018 for her $24.99.
“Money is definitely the most important thing to me, but I’ve never felt uncomfortable on a plane,” she said.
Fans say when using Spirit, it’s important to know about the “unbundled” experience, which has plenty of a la carte options. Personal items that fit under the seat are free, but carry-on and checked baggage are charged. Additionally, the seats are equipped with “pre-recline”.
“Some people are shocked because they didn’t read what should be common knowledge by now about the extra charges,” says Ray, a semi-retired medical transport bus driver from Latrobe, Pennsylvania. said Haruska, 64.
He saves money by buying tickets at a small airport near his home and has memorized Spirit’s definition of personal item dimensions: 18 x 14 x 8 inches. He said he probably took 15 flights on Spirit last year. The airline flies to some smaller airports where there aren’t many other options, such as Latrobe Airport.
“I rarely pay more than $100 round-trip for a flight to Florida,” he says.
Jessica Pink, 27, of Denver, said Spirit helped her and her fiancé start traveling several years ago, thanks to a $100 one-way ticket to South America. The couple now run a group travel business called Travel World Culture, which guides people on trips around the world.
Pink isn’t loyal to a particular airline and always chooses the lowest price, but she likes how Spirit creates competition and offers bare-bones options for travelers on a budget. He said he was there. She said she could afford to upgrade to an exit row seat or a spacious “big front seat” on the Spirit, and she said she met “so many” friendly flight attendants on the airline. I remembered.
“I understand that the seats and ride comfort may not be as good as on a full-service airline, but it’s perfectly fine to bring snacks and water,” she wrote in an email. “I’d happily bring my own snacks and a portable charger if the option was half or a third the price. Either way, I think in-flight meals and snacks are overrated.”
Kyle Potter, executive editor of Thrifty Traveler, said travelers will have some level of attachment to Spirit even if they fly with other airlines. This site features cheap flights, deals, and other air travel tips.
Mr. Potter said competition from Spirit and similar low-cost carriers is also forcing large traditional carriers to offer lower-cost options.
“There’s no denying how big a role these low-cost airlines play in driving down ticket prices,” he says.
It’s unclear what the future holds for Spirit. An appeals hearing on the Spirit-JetBlue merger is scheduled for June, but the major airlines said they are considering options and could terminate the deal if certain conditions are not met. .
TD Cowen analyst Helane Becker wrote in a note to investors last month that Spirit will likely seek another buyer, but believes Chapter 11 bankruptcy is the more likely scenario. . Another analyst, JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Baker, said in a note to investors that he didn’t foresee an immediate bankruptcy filing, but added that he doesn’t expect a “reasonable return to profitability for the foreseeable future.” “I can’t pinpoint it,” he admitted.
Those who are dependent on Spirit, and of course those who love Spirit, are watching and waiting.
“I don’t want them to go away,” said Feuer, who lives in Atlanta. “I would be very sad if they were gone.”