Spirit Airline Works to Make Its Flight Experience Less Terrible

The budget airline will soon merge with JetBlue (which is a very different kind of discount airline).

No one likes to fly at the moment, because at the moment flying is terrible. Too many cancellations, too many delays, too many rude customers, too many people taking their shoes off on airplanes. But we continue to fly, because what other choice do we have? Are we supposed to walk to our hometown for the holidays?

So no one likes flying. But people really don’t like flying on Spirit Airlines  (SAVE) – Get Spirit Airlines Inc. Report. It might not be fair to say it’s the worst airline, but it certainly isn’t the most comfortable one, and a survey of airline social media mentions found that 69% of Spirit-related tweets were negative. 

As we’ve said before, Spirit Airlines gives you nothing. Its only selling point is that it offers the cheapest flights around, often at rock-bottom rates, sometimes cheaper than dinner at a fancy restaurant. 

But otherwise, you have to pay for everything else, including soda and basic snacks, bringing any piece of luggage bigger than a purse, extra legroom, confirming your seat in order to make sure you are next to your traveling companion, and often even printing out a boarding pass. They’ll even charge you for water. It can all easily add up to, at least, the price of a fairly standard airline ticket.

JetBlue  (JBLU) – Get JetBlue Airways Corporation Report recently beat out Frontier Airlines  (FRON)  to purchase Spirit, and it’s been speculated that, if regulators approve the merger, the rock-bottom nature of Spirit might change. But that’s all in the future, and it’s not clear what will actually happen. But for now, Spirit has made one change, which should make flying at least somewhat more comfortable.


Spirit To Make Flying Slightly Less Unbearable

Spirit has released details about its upcoming batch of Airbus A320neo jets, which will be outfitted with Haeco’s Vector Light and Vector Premium seats, as noted by The Points Guy. 

Traditionally, if you pay more, you can get Spirit’s Big Front Seat, which has extra legroom. The new version of the Big Front Seat will come with a wider seatback, extra cushioning and nearly an inch more pre-recline. 

As far as the cheaper economy seats on the new Airbuses, the aisle and window seats will be 17.5 inches wide, while middle seats will be 18.5 inches wide, a half-inch increase. And every inch helps, and people in the middle now get a bit of extra space on both sides. The seats reportedly have extra cushioning. 

The seats will continue to have a curved seatback design, which Spirit says offers about two more inches of space around the knees, compared to standard designs.

Additionally, the economy seats have a new, somewhat roomier headrest design, though as The Points Guy points out “Unfortunately, passengers still can’t raise or lower the headrest, nor does it have wings for added neck support while dozing off.”

This redesign is for the 33 new planes expected to be delivered by January. There are no plans to retrofit any existing planes.

Spirit Won’t Stop Being Spirit

While some customers will appreciate the extra inches, Spirit is still going to Spirit. 

There will still be no power outlets or UBS ports on the seats, nor do the seats recline. And don’t even ask about food or drinks, that policy hasn’t changed.

Plus, as The Points Guy noted “all Spirit seats are slimline, which many flyers find to be uncomfortable for long journeys.”

But to be fair, Spirit did also recently complete a fleet-wide Wi-Fi rollout, so that can help distract you during your flight.




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