I have never flown Spirit Airlines and I certainly do not plan to. It seems like everything you read about them is negative. While people can sometimes exaggerate, particularly when it comes to airlines, the numbers do seem to back up that Spirit is truly one horrible airline.
Per this CNBC article, last year Spirit had the worst on-time arrival record of 13 U.S. carriers evaluated. Only 68.98% of Spirt’s flights arrived on time. For reference, the national average for U.S. carriers was 79.9%. Hawaiian, Alaska, Delta and American (including US Airways) all had on-time arrival rates of over 80%. Among those four, Hawaiian was the best with a 88.4% on-time arrival rate. Only two other airlines, Envoy and Frontier, had on-time arrival rates of under 75%
As if that was not enough, it turns out that Spirit also had the highest rate of consumer complaints. According to the previously cited CNBC article, 11.73 out of every 100,000 customers who flew Spirit last year filed a complaint with the Department of Transportation about some aspect of their experience. The national average is 1.9 complaints per 100,000 flyers, which means that the DOT received over six times more complaints from Spirit flyers than they received from passengers of other airlines. Most of the 2,069 complaints filed against Spirit were related to “flight problems”. Other complaints were mostly about reservations, ticketing, boarding and baggage.
Outside of low fares, which can sometimes be deceiving considering how much they nickle and dime you for everything, there is really very little Spirit can hang their hat on. Not only do they appear to have a lot of trouble from a customer service standpoint, but they are unable to run the airline in anything close to an efficient manner as evidenced by their disastrous on-time arrival rates.
What have your experiences flying with Spirit Airlines been like?