HOME
TheInfoList



Spirit Airlines, Inc. (stylized as spirit) is an American ultra-low-cost carrier headquartered in
Miramar, Florida Miramar is a city in southern Broward County, Florida, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 122,041. It is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area, which is home to over six million people. History Miramar was founded by ...
in the
Miami metropolitan area#REDIRECT Miami metropolitan area#REDIRECT Miami metropolitan area {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
. Spirit operates scheduled flights throughout the United States and in the Caribbean and Latin America.


History


Establishment 1964–2006

The company initially started as Clippert Trucking Company in 1964. The company changed its name to Ground Air Transfer, Inc., in 1974. The airline service was founded in 1983 in
Macomb County, Michigan Macomb County is a county located in the eastern portion of the U.S. state of Michigan, bordering Lake St. Clair, and is part of northern Metro Detroit. As of the 2010 census, the population was 840,978, making it the third-most populous county in ...
, by Ned Homfeld as Charter One Airlines, a Detroit-based charter tour operator providing travel packages to entertainment destinations such as
Atlantic City Atlantic City, often known by its initials A.C., is a coastal resort city in Atlantic County, New Jersey, United States, known for its casinos, boardwalk, and beaches. In 2010, the city had a population of 39,558. It was incorporated on May 1, ...
,
Las Vegas Las Vegas (; Spanish for "The Meadows"), officially the City of Las Vegas and often known simply as Vegas, is the 28th-most populous city in the United States, the most populous city in the state of Nevada, and the county seat of Clark Count ...
, and the
Bahamas The Bahamas (), known officially as the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is a country within the Lucayan Archipelago of the West Indies in the Atlantic. It takes up 97% of the Lucayan Archipelago's land area and is home to 88% of the archipelago' ...
.


1990s

In 1990, Charter One began scheduled service from
Boston Boston (, ), officially the City of Boston, is the capital and most populous city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States and 21st most populous city in the country. The city proper covers with an estimated population of 692, ...
and
Providence, Rhode Island Providence is the capital and most populous city of the state of Rhode Island and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. It was founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, a Reformed Baptist theologian and religious exile from the Massachuset ...
, to Atlantic City. On May 29, 1992, Charter One brought jet aircraft into the fleet and changed its name to Spirit Airlines.Wittkowski, Donald.
Small Airline Expands A.C. Flights with Jets
. ''The Press of Atlantic City''. May 30, 1992.
Scheduled flights between Detroit and Atlantic City began on June 1, 1992. Scheduled flights between Boston and Providence began on June 15, 1992. On April 2, 1993, Spirit Airlines began scheduled service to
Orlando Orlando () is a city in the U.S. state of Florida and is the county seat of Orange County. In Central Florida, it is the center of the Orlando metropolitan area, which had a population of 2,509,831, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures release ...
,
Fort Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale () is a city in the U.S. state of Florida, north of Miami. It is the county seat and largest city of Broward County. As of 2019 census bureau estimates, the city has an estimated population of 182,437. Fort Lauderdale is a princ ...
, and
St. Petersburg, Florida St. Petersburg is a city in Pinellas County, Florida, United States. As of the 2020 census estimate, the population was 271,842, making it the fifth-most populous city in Florida and the largest in the state that is not a county seat (the city of ...
. Flights between Atlantic City and
Fort Myers, Florida Fort Myers or Ft. Myers, is the county seat and commercial center of Lee County, Florida, United States. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population was 62,298 and in 2019 was estimated at 87,103. Together with the larger and more residential Cape C ...
, began on September 25, 1993. Service at Philadelphia began in 1994. During the next five years, Spirit expanded further, increasing service from Detroit and adding service in new markets such as
Myrtle Beach Myrtle Beach is a coastal city on the East Coast of the United States in Horry County, South Carolina. It is in the center of a long and continuous stretch of beach known as "The Grand Strand" in northeastern South Carolina. Ranked as the second ...
, Los Angeles, and New York City. In the summer of 1994, Spirit Airlines overbooked flights, and 1,400 customers' tickets were canceled.Sangiacomo, Michael.
Spirit Airlines Pledges That Anyone With Ticket Will Fly
. ''The Plain Dealer'' (Cleveland, Ohio). June 8, 1994.
The overbooking occurred because Spirit Airlines had given incorrect instructions to travel agents, causing those tickets not to be valid, even though the customers had paid for the flights. In response to criticism, Spirit Airlines said it would make sure all paid customers would always be able to fly to their destination, even if Spirit Airlines had to book them on a competitor's airline. In 1996, Janet Patton became Spirit Airline's first woman pilot, and in 1998 she became the first woman captain. At the time Spirit was utilizing DC-9 and MD-80 aircraft. Spirit initially had their headquarters in
Eastpointe, Michigan Eastpointe (formerly East Detroit) is a city on the southern edge of Macomb County, Michigan, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 32,442. Eastpointe forms a part of the Metro Detroit area. It borders 8 Mile Road on the no ...
(formerly East Detroit) in
Metro Detroit The Detroit metropolitan area, often referred to as Metro Detroit, is a major metropolitan area in the U.S. State of Michigan, consisting of the city of Detroit and its surrounding area. There are varied definitions of the area, including the of ...
. It relocated its headquarters in November 1999, moving to
Miramar, Florida Miramar is a city in southern Broward County, Florida, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 122,041. It is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area, which is home to over six million people. History Miramar was founded by ...
in the
Miami Metropolitan Area#REDIRECT Miami metropolitan area#REDIRECT Miami metropolitan area {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
. Prior to the decision to move the headquarters to Miramar, Spirit considered
Atlantic City, New Jersey Atlantic City, often known by its initials A.C., is a coastal resort city in Atlantic County, New Jersey, United States, known for its casinos, boardwalk, and beaches. In 2010, the city had a population of 39,558. It was incorporated on May 1, ...
and Detroit, Michigan.


2000s

In 2000, the US
Federal Aviation Administration The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the largest modern transportation agency and a governmental body of the United States with powers to regulate all aspects of civil aviation in that nation as well as over its surrounding internationa ...
(FAA) fined Spirit Airlines $67,000 for allegedly violating federal regulations on cabin and seat markings and placards. Discrepancies were found in the marking and placarding of emergency equipment, passenger seats, storage areas and doors on eight of Spirit's DC9 and MD80 aircraft. In November 2001, Spirit inaugurated service to
San JuanSan Juan , Spanish for Saint John, may refer to: Places Argentina * San Juan Province, Argentina * San Juan, Argentina, the capital of that province * San Juan (Iruya), a small village in the Iruya Department of the Salta Province * San Juan (Bue ...
, Puerto Rico, and implemented a fully integrated Spanish-language customer service plan including a website and dedicated reservation line. In the fall of 2003, Spirit resumed flights to Washington, D.C.'s
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport , also known as National Airport, Washington National, Reagan National Airport, Reagan, or simply National, is a national airport in Arlington, Virginia, next to the border of Washington, D.C. It is the ...
, which were suspended after the
September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks, often referred to as 9/11, were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Wahhabi terrorist group Al-Qaeda against the United States on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. The attacks resulted i ...
. Spirit also began service to
Grand Cayman Grand Cayman is the largest of the three Cayman Islands and the location of the territory's capital, George Town. In relation to the other two Cayman Islands, it is approximately 75 miles (121 km) southwest of Little Cayman and 90 miles (145& ...
, San Francisco, and
Boston Boston (, ), officially the City of Boston, is the capital and most populous city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States and 21st most populous city in the country. The city proper covers with an estimated population of 692, ...
in 2006, and in 2007 filed DOT applications to offer service to
Costa Rica Costa Rica (, ; ; literally "Rich Coast"), officially the Republic of Costa Rica ( es, República de Costa Rica), is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the northeast, Panama to the southeas ...
,
Haiti Haiti (; ht, Ayiti ); french: Haïti ; officially the Republic of Haiti (; ) and formerly known as Hayti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea, to the east of Cuba and Jama ...
, the Netherlands Antilles and
Venezuela Venezuela (; ), officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ( es, link=no, República Bolivariana de Venezuela), is a country on the northern coast of South America, consisting of a continental landmass and many islands and islets in the Ca ...
. In 2006, Spirit exercised options to order 30
Airbus A320-200 The Airbus A320 family are narrow-body airliners designed and produced by Airbus. The A320 was launched in March 1984, first flew on 22 February 1987, and was introduced in April 1988 by Air France. The first member of the family was followed ...
aircraft for further expansion. Deliveries began in March 2010. On June 3, 2008, Spirit Airlines made a WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice) application to potentially relocate or lay off hundreds of pilots and flight attendants, and the closure of their San Juan and LaGuardia crew bases. In September 2008, Spirit began advertising on the side of aircraft, overhead bins, tray tables, seatback inserts and bulkheads. In May 2009, after more than four years of inconclusive negotiations between the airline and the
Air Line Pilots Association The Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) is the largest pilot union in the world, representing more than 59,000 pilots from 35 U.S. and Canadian airlines. ALPA was founded on 27 July 1931 and is a member of the AFL-CIO and the Canadian ...
(ALPA), Spirit pilots overwhelmingly (98% of votes) voted in favor of strike action over compensation, work rules, and benefits. At that time, Spirit pilots were among the lowest-paid
Airbus Airbus SE (; ; ; ) is a European multinational aerospace corporation. As of 2019, Airbus is the world's largest airliner manufacturer and took the most airliner orders, surpassing rival Boeing. It designs, manufactures and sells civil and mili ...
pilots in the United States. On June 12, 2010, Spirit grounded its flights when its unionized pilots walked out on strike, stranding thousands of passengers. This was the first passenger airline strike by American ALPA-represented pilots since Comair in 2001. On June 15, negotiations between the airline and ALPA resumed, and a tentative agreement was reached late in the evening on June 16. The tentative agreement, which Spirit pilots later ratified by a 74% margin, brought Spirit pilots' compensation and benefits in line with comparable Airbus operators in the US. Flights eventually resumed on June 18. In 2007, Spirit Plus was rebranded as "Big Front Seat" and business class service was discontinued. For an additional fee, a person could choose "Big Front Seat", or upgrade at the airport. In December 2010, Spirit Airlines introduced the Free Spirit World
MasterCard Mastercard Incorporated (stylized as MasterCard from 1979 to 2016 and mastercard since 2016) is an American multinational financial services corporation headquartered in the Mastercard International Global Headquarters in Purchase, New York, Unit ...
.


2010s

In April 2010, Spirit Airlines became the first U.S. airline to charge passengers for carry-on bags. They were later followed by
Allegiant Air Allegiant Air (usually shortened to Allegiant) is an American ultra-low cost airline that operates scheduled and charter flights. As a major air carrier, it is the ninth-largest commercial airline in the United States. Founded in 1997 as WestJe ...
and
Frontier Airlines Frontier Airlines is an American ultra low-cost carrier headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Frontier operates flights to over 100 destinations throughout the United States and 31 international destinations, and employs more than 3,000 staff. The ...
. In April 2012, citing the airline's strict refund policy, Spirit Airlines representative Misty Pinson announced that the airline would not issue a refund to dying veteran Jerry Meekins, who had purchased a non-refundable ticket between Florida and Atlantic City. The 76-year-old Vietnam veteran and Marine tried to get his $197 back after learning his esophageal cancer was terminal and being told by his doctor not to fly. The decision caused outrage among veterans' groups and the general public, some of whom threatened to boycott Spirit unless both a refund and apology were issued. On May 4, Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza apologized for how the situation was handled and personally refunded Meekins' ticket. Additionally, the airline made a $5,000 donation to the
Wounded Warrior Project Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is a charity and veterans service organization that offers a variety of programs, services and events for wounded veterans of the military actions following September 11, 2001. It operates as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) o ...
in Meekins' name. In August 2013, Spirit reached an agreement on a new five-year deal with the
Transport Workers Union of America Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) is a United States labor union that was founded in 1934 by subway workers in New York City, then expanded to represent transit employees in other cities, primarily in the eastern U.S. This article discus ...
, who represent the airline's flight dispatchers. In November 2014,
Morgan Stanley Morgan Stanley is an American multinational investment bank and financial services company headquartered at 1585 Broadway in the Morgan Stanley Building, Midtown Manhattan, New York City. With offices in more than 42 countries and more than 60, ...
named Spirit the top growth airline pick for investors. In January 2016, former AirTran CEO Robert L. Fornaro replaced Baldanza as CEO. This prompted rumors of a merger with Frontier Airlines, which would have created the largest ultra-low-cost carrier in the Americas. Fornaro announced the airline would be teaming up with the
Disney Institute Disney Institute is the professional development and external training arm of The Walt Disney Company. The company showcases 'the business behind the magic' through seminars, workshops and presentations, as well as programs for professionals from ...
to “create a common purpose and a fresh set of service standards”, and changing policies internally to create a more welcoming environment. In November 2017, Spirit's on-time performance was second in the country, behind only
Delta Air Lines Delta Air Lines, Inc., typically referred to as Delta, is one of the major airlines of the United States and a legacy carrier. It is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The airline, along with its subsidiaries and regional affiliates, including ...
, a significant improvement from December 2015, when it ranked last among thirteen airlines with 68.7% of flights arriving on time. In February 2018, Spirit was the only airline in North America to make the list of the top 10 safest in the world. In May 2018, Spirit announced that they would be the first ultra-low-cost carrier to fit their aircraft with high-speed WiFi access that started in fall 2018. All of their aircraft were expected to be equipped with WiFi by summer 2019. On December 23, 2019, Spirit Airlines announced its intention to purchase 100 new Airbus A320neo family aircraft.


2020s

In 2020, due to the
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus was first identified in Dec ...
, Spirit Airlines received $334 million aid in form of grants and loans via the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES); the money is used to fund employees until September 30. In July, the same year, the company announced that will put 20%-30% of its employees on leave of absence from October. In July 2020, a passenger died of COVID-19 on a Spirit Airlines flight. Spirit Airlines claimed it notified the
Centers for Disease Control The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC or U.S. CDC) is the national public health agency of the United States. It is a United States federal agency, under the Department of Health and Human Services, and is headquarte ...
but there was no record of the contact. Passengers on the flight were not informed that they were around an infected individual.


Corporate affairs


Ownership

Spirit Airlines, Inc. is a
Delaware corporation The Delaware General Corporation Law (Title 8, Chapter 1 of the Delaware Code) is the statute governing corporate law in the U.S. state of Delaware. Adopted in 1899, the statute has since the early 20th century made Delaware the most important jur ...
that is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange ().


Business trends

The key trends for Spirit Airlines are (years ending December 31):


Headquarters

Spirit has its headquarters at 2800 Executive Way, Miramar, Florida, having moved there from its previous Eastpointe location in 1999. there were 600 located in the office. Chris Sloan of ''
Airways Magazine ''Airways'', the flagship name of Airways International, Inc. is distributed through news stands in North America and 35 nations worldwide, with subscribers in more than 60 countries. Since 2014, their headquarters are located in Miami, just south ...
'' stated that the building was "nondescript low slung". Sloan added that the interior, prior to a 2014 renovation, was, "To put it charitably, ..a dump", but that employees felt ownership over the office. In 2019 the airline announced that it would move to a new headquarters of up to in the Dania Pointe development in
Dania Beach, Florida Dania Beach (Dania until 1998) is a city in Broward County, Florida, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 29,639. It is part of the South Florida metropolitan area, which was home to 5,564,635 people at the 2010 census. D ...
, spending $250 million. The airline anticipates that it will house 1,000 employees.


Business model

Under CEO Ben Baldanza, Spirit began a transition to an ultra-low-cost carrier, following a fare model involving charging for amenities that are often included in the base ticket price of traditional carriers. Passengers who wanted to customize their itinerary or seat selection paid an add-on fee for each additional feature, which enabled the carrier to earn
ancillary revenueAncillary revenue is revenue that is derived from goods or services other than a company's primary product offering. Examples include concessions at sporting events, baggage handling or seat selection revenue received by airlines, restaurant revenue ...
in excess of 40% of total revenue. These included having an agent print a
boarding pass A boarding pass or boarding card is a document provided by an airline during check-in, giving a passenger permission to enter the restricted area of an airport (also known as the airside portion of the airport) and to board the airplane for a ...
at check-in versus doing it online or at a kiosk, for any large carry-on or checked bags, progressive fees for overweight bags, selected seat assignments, travel insurance, and more.


Controversy

Spirit Airlines has been the subject of complaints, and to punitive actions by the
United States Department of Transportation upThe flag of the U.S. Department of Transportation prior to 1980. The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT or DOT) is a federal Cabinet department of the U.S. government concerned with transportation. It was established by the Depa ...
(DOT). Most of the claims against the company were for allegations of deceptive advertising practices, customer service, and the airline's policies for charging additional fees at the time of purchase: *In November 2011, the DOT fined Spirit $43,900 for alleged deceptive advertising practices. The complaint claimed that the airline had been running an advertising campaign which promoted specific discounted fares on billboards, posters, and Twitter, but did not disclose full details regarding extra fees added onto the advertised rates. *In January 2012, the DOT fined Spirit $100,000 for mishandling of complaints related to its treatment of customers with disabilities. *In 2013, and again in 2015, the DOT received more passenger complaints about Spirit than any other airline; the rate of complaints was "dramatically higher" than the overall rate for the industry. *On April 5, 2021, a Spirit Airlines flight attendant confronted a family on-board a plane scheduled to fly from Orlando to New York because their 2-year-old child was not wearing a mask.


Destinations

Spirit currently flies to 77 destinations throughout Central America, the
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole, Kawayib; nl, Caraïben; Papiamento: ) is a region of the Americas that comprises the Caribbean Sea, its surrounding coasts, and its islands (some of w ...
, South America, and the United States. , It maintains crew bases at
Atlantic City Atlantic City, often known by its initials A.C., is a coastal resort city in Atlantic County, New Jersey, United States, known for its casinos, boardwalk, and beaches. In 2010, the city had a population of 39,558. It was incorporated on May 1, ...
,
Chicago–O'Hare O'Hare International Airport , typically referred to as O'Hare Airport, Chicago O'Hare, or simply O'Hare, is an international airport located on the Northwest Side of Chicago, Illinois, northwest of the Loop business district. Operated by the ...
, Dallas/Fort Worth,
Detroit (strait) , nicknames = The Motor City, Motown, Renaissance City, City of the Straits, The D, D-Town, Hockeytown, The Automotive Capital of the World, Rock City, The 313, The Arsenal of Democracy, The Town That Put The Worl ...
,
Fort Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale () is a city in the U.S. state of Florida, north of Miami. It is the county seat and largest city of Broward County. As of 2019 census bureau estimates, the city has an estimated population of 182,437. Fort Lauderdale is a princ ...
,
Las Vegas Las Vegas (; Spanish for "The Meadows"), officially the City of Las Vegas and often known simply as Vegas, is the 28th-most populous city in the United States, the most populous city in the state of Nevada, and the county seat of Clark Count ...
, and
Orlando Orlando () is a city in the U.S. state of Florida and is the county seat of Orange County. In Central Florida, it is the center of the Orlando metropolitan area, which had a population of 2,509,831, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures release ...
.


Fleet


Current fleet

, the Spirit Airlines fleet consists entirely of Airbus A320ceo and
A320neo The Airbus A320neo family (''neo'' for ''new engine option'') is a development of the A320 family of narrow-body airliners produced by Airbus. Launched on 1 December 2010, it made its first flight on 25 September 2014 and it was introduced by Lu ...
family aircraft. February 2020 fleet plan outlines 293 aircraft planned by 2027. An order of 100 additional aircraft with 50 options was announced in October 2019.


Historical fleet

The following aircraft formerly operated in the Spirit Airlines fleet:


Services


Frequent-flyer program

Spirit Frequent-flyer program is called Free Spirit. The reward program can allow customers to accumulate miles only flying on Spirit Flights. The reward program have partners with Car Rental Service and Hotels, however the reward program lacks a partnership with other airlines. Spirit has a three-tier frequent flyer status program. The tiers are member, silver (Earn 2,000 status qualifying points in a calendar year), and gold (Earn 5,000 status qualifying points in a calendar year). Silver and gold benefits include free carry-on and checked bags, free seat assignment, pooling, priority boarding, free beverages and snacks, and a dedicated phone line.


See also

*
Air transportation in the United StatesThe United States has an extensive air transportation network. In 2013, there were 86 airports in the U.S. that annually handled over 1,000,000 passengers each


References


External links

* * {{Authority control 1980 establishments in Michigan 2011 initial public offerings Airlines based in Florida Airlines established in 1980 Companies based in Broward County, Florida Companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange Low-cost carriers Miramar, Florida Oaktree Capital Management