Spirit Airlines Bares All in New Advertising Campaign

Spirit Airlines rebrands itself “Home of the Bare Fare” while launching Spirit 101 (complete with sexy video below) to explain it all. Some may see it as a new spin on old claims but as airfare expert Rick Seaney says, “I’m all for more transparency.”

Spirit Wants to ‘Hug the Haters’

As Seaney points out, Spirit’s target market is the Millennials or those born roughly between the early 1980s and 2000. Having grown of in a post-9/11 world, they’re used to extra security and fewer frills. As for those not used to this, Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza says he wants to “hug the haters” by explaining to them what this ultra-discount airline is all about.

Spirit Business Model Explained

Spirit saves passengers money by offering a bare-bones travel experience with a pay-as-you-go plan for any extras, and this attempt to explain its business model seems helpful. “Good for them,” says Rick Seaney. “Spirit has tapped into a segment that includes many who probably couldn’t afford to fly often on bigger airlines,” then added, ” I hope  they grow to become a mega-sized carrier.”

The following quotes are from a Spirit press release, followed by our translation.

  • Bare Fares:  “Fares are fully unbundled. No ‘free’ bag. No ‘free’ drink. Other airlines bake those options right into their ticket price. Spirit doesn’t.”

This is true for many airlines and Spirit’s upfront, revelations about its fees is refreshing but it would be nice to see the prices of optional extras appear as you book a flight.

  • Frill Control: “Lets customers choose the options they value so they are never forced to pay for something they don’t want.”

Spirit frills may strike many travelers as bare necessities. Paying $3.00 for a drink of water or paying from $1 to $50 for anything other than a random, computer-assigned seat no matter when you buy a ticket may seem Spartan in the extreme. Passengers must also pay for any bag, checked or carry-on, though one personal item is allowed if it fits under the seat (see the video below on how to pack a tiny bag).

  • Spirit’s Fit Fleet: “One of the youngest fleets flying.”

Great news but don’t mistake new planes for luxury aircraft (keep reading).

  • Spirit’s Plane Simple: “Seats don’t recline and don’t have Wi-Fi or video. Bottom-line: A little cozier seating and fewer expensive extras mean lower fares for you.”

Cozier seating is correct if cozy means cramped. Spirit admits it puts more seats on its planes than other airlines but again, that’s how they say they keep airfare prices down.

What Hasn’t Changed: Sexy Content

Over the years, Spirit has gotten a lot of mileage out of sexy, snarky, racy and sometimes tasteless advertising and the new campaign does not disappoint on that score: Two of its explanatory videos feature attractive young people stripping down to their underwear to show how to pack a ‘personal item’ while a Spirit press release features the  acronym WTF which  Spirit blithely explains as, “Why the fees?”

VIDEO: Spirit bares almost all in this bag-packing demonstration.

Jack Goes Bare Fare from Spirit Airlines on Vimeo.


Updated: November 16, 2015