SurfSnow writes: "Get people excited about a cheap nonstop fare to Vegas, Cancun, or New York. They get burned by all the fees and detest the cramped product, never to fly NK
gets other people on board, and many of them will never come back, either. A few years later, NK
reduces frequencies and cuts markets because they have tapped out innocent first time travelers...."
Interesting theory. Completely meritless and full of holes, but interesting... But since you do seem to have the answers maybe you can answer a few more. If Spirits method to sucess is essentially duping "first time, innocent" customers and moving on to other markets when they are tapped out, then:
1) Why have they continued to grow in smaller cities like MYR
and ACY where they are essentially focus cities that they have been operating from pretty much since they started flying (ACY has seen some cuts this year due to Sandy). Don't you think they would have been "tapped out" of first time innocents years ago, especially in smaller markets like these? What about Latrobe, where they have gone from a few weekly flights to FLL
to dailies to FLL
, and now DFW
2) Same question but for the larger markets. If you look at all routes from DTW
over the years, they have pretty much remained the same(DTW
, ACY, LAS
, etc). Other routes around the system have been around for years as well, FLL
, etc, the list goes on and on. Don't you think that eventually they would have been "tapped out" in these major markets as well as the smaller ones I mentioned.
3) If Spirit's method just going after "first timers", making them "one timers", and then moving on, then why would Spirit even bother with smaller cities like Niagara Falls, Latrobe, or Charleston WV
, etc, where the pool of potential "one timers" is limited? Don't you think they would have gone for cities like SEA
, etc, where the market and thus pool of potential first timers to dupe is much larger, and thus they could stick around longer.
Spirits secret to sucess in DFW
and elsewhere is not as you may believe, getting people excited a low fare, and burning them then moving on. Spirit, believe it or not has a pretty non-haphazard formula down that is making its share and stake holders a lot of money, in fact making the largest profit yields seen in the airlines ever over the past few years. It is a number of factors aimed at lowering the base fare as much as possible like:
1) Efficiently scheduling aircraft, personnel, airport facilities, etc. It is packing people in to aircraft, up to the aircraft's max FAA allowed capacity, Spirit calls it "green", some call it uncomfortable. It is looking for the airports and airport facilities that offer the best value for the airline and thus the customer
2) It is charging for everything besides the pre-assigned seat and a small bag that can fit under the seat, Spirit calls it value added pricing, some call it unbundling, some call it nickel and dimeing.
3) It is only flying routes that make money and quickly adjusting as necessary. If a route doesn't perform and/or that aircraft can be used to make more money on another route, the first route will be cut, plain and simple.
4)Spirit has no aspirations for market share, legacy routes, and is not after the frequent or business traveler. They would just as quick start LAX
as they would start BOI
, as long as marketing people find that it would make money.
isn't for everyone, there are people that I'm sure will try it once and never again. If you're more than 5'9" or so, I would buy an exit row seat, the first row of the coach seat, or a Big Front Seat or go on someone else. If you want everything included in the base price look elsewhere. If you want the choice of multiple daily flights on a route (with a few exceptions), look elsewhere. But Spirit does work for many, and largely runs on return customers that either embrace the product or at least deal with it because its the least expensive.
Also this notion of "burning" customers with hidden baggage fees is rediculous. Anyone who believes this, I will ask now as I have before, go to their website and go through the process of booking a flight, up to where you have to provide payment. You are guided directly to baggage criteria and fees during the booking process, not in fine print, but big and clear. Additionally at the airport at Sprits ticket counters there are large signs that say "we don't want you to pay $100 for your checked bag" and guides you to sizing bins where you still have the option to pay at the ticket counter or even online if you have a smart phone.