Spirit Airlines Beats Out Industry Leaders In On-Time Arrivals
By Sharelle Burt
Spirit Airlines has landed at first place ahead of other major airlines for on-time arrivals. Yes, we are shocked too.
The budget airline has been making strides with on-time flights, making massive strides since they were ranked as the tardiest airline in America only three years ago. 89 percent of the airline’s flights arrived on time in October, beating out Delta and Hawaiian Airlines.
“We started looking at every part of the company,” Greg Christopher, vice president of Spirit’s operations control center said. “We got a little bit smarter about how we scheduled.” This achievement is the first for the Florida based airline. They cut it close last year, taking second place in November 2017.
While this is a reason to celebrate, the low-cost airline still needs to work on customer service. They still have a high rate of passenger complaints, a major reason while travelers avoid Spirit and other budget airlines because of their poor service reputation. These complaints could be avoided with fewer flight delays, according to former airline executive and aviation consultant Robert Mann.
“If you run on time, your people aren’t faced with the need to constantly apologize for poor service,” Mann said. “A reliable, punctual discount airline would be a category killer, and we may see that soon.”
Spirit has worked on building a better relationship with their pilots. Last year, the company headed to court in a case against the pilots’ union after an illegal work slowdown caused hundreds of flights to be canceled. Spirit gave the pilots a 43 percent pay raise and started working with reserve pilots who would be on call in case of an emergency or if a pilot gets sick.
Spirit’s stock is up almost 32 percent this year, beating out all other U.S. airlines. It looks like budget airlines are here to stay.