We have been discussing the use of fees for every possible thing on airlines to generate billions for airlines while eliminating every possible comfort for passengers. Now the ranking of most popular and least popular airlines has been released. I was most struck by the reaction of Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza in learning that his company is widely viewed as a disgrace.
There is no mystery to achieving a higher ranking, it is just something that airlines are not willing to do anymore: lower fees, more legroom, and civil staff.
The winner again is Virgin America which offers seat comfort and better in-flight entertainment. Southwest and JetBlue scored high as well due to their lower use of added fees.
Then came Spirit airlines at the very bottom of satisfaction as little more than a flying cattle car for humans. Most CEOs would be embarrassed and pledge changes. Not Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza who went on CBS’ “This Morning” make sure that passengers understand that he will not improve a thing on his lowest ranked airline. Instead, he indicated that his ideal is not his top ranked competitors but McDonald’s in offering a demonstrably cheap, low-quality product. (One can easily imagine how happy McDonalds executives are with the analogy): “No one goes into McDonald’s and is surprised they don’t see filet mignon on the menu. When they come to Spirit, they know what they’re getting. They know they’ll get a lower total price than they’ll get anywhere else.” In other words, we strive to produce a barely endurable flight along the model of an barely edible meal.
One can understand why there is a Facebook site that states “Facebook facilitated the fall of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak … now we must force Ben Baldanza out …” Well, sure, but Mubarak insisted that he was trying to actually improve conditions in Egypt.