Spirit Airlines -- the cheap-airfare airline headquartered in Miramar -- has been widely known to piss off pretty much anyone who has even flown it. Be it on Twitter, Facebook, or the water cooler at work, people love to talk up how much Spirit has screwed them one way or the other.
And now, the hate is official -- thanks to information provided by the airline itself.
In an unusual business campaign, Spirit released its "State of the Hate'' report this week, which shows just how much people hate the airline as it explores transparency in an effort to give fliers a clear picture of just what to expect when they book a cheap flight with the carrier.
Two separate campaigns -- "Hug the Haters" and "Hate Thousand Miles Giveaway" -- were launched by the airline back in July, when the company asked consumers to share why they hate flying. In exchange, Spirit gave away 8,000 Free Spirit miles.
In only a matter of days, the company received nearly 30,000 angry responses complaining about the overall hassles of having to travel by plane. Spirit says the complaints weren't reserved only for it. Sixty percent of the complaints, it says, were directed elsewhere. Consumers pretty much blasted other airlines as well, it says.
According to the report, 20 percent of consumers who responded to Spirit hate airline seats -- the size, shape, leg room, and reclining -- while 16 percent say they've dealt with losing bags and are frustrated with airline baggage policies. Fifteen percent complained about delays and overall customer service.
The feedback surprised Spirit, which thought an open invitation for criticism would bring on a flood of hate directed solely at them.
"I think if any organization asks for feedback, you would expect the vast majority of responses would be directed at the company that seeks it," Spirit President and CEO Ben Baldanza said via a news release. "But in this case, we were surprised that most consumers chose to share their frustrations about other airlines."
Of course, Spirit did get the brunt of complaints as far as airfare structuring was concerned.
"We don't look at them as fees; they are options that our customers can choose, or not, depending on how much money they wish to save," said Baldanza. "But this clearly shows we need to continue educating our customers about our business model. Our experience shows once customers understand how much money they save with our model, they like it a lot."
Spirit even measured the amount of curse words received during its survey, creating a "Vulgarity Index" to track which curse words were used and how often during consumers' diatribes.
Of those who responded, 914 used the word "suck." The second-highest vulgarity was "ass," with 370.
"The bottom line is, airline travel is frustrating," added Baldanza. "So the least we can do is keep offering the lowest fares in the industry to help lessen some of the hate."
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