Spirit Airlines, the ultra-low-cost carrier, has been a popular choice for travelers across the United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America for 40 years. The airfare starts from as low as $30 for a one-way destination.
However, its cheap ticket prices often make travelers question passenger safety. So, is Spirit Airlines safe?
Firstly, let’s delve into Spirit Airlines’ business model. You can determine whether there is any safety loophole in its low-price claim.
The airline follows a “no-frills” policy, making it a good way to save money when traveling. The base airfare includes the fee for a small personal item (laptop bag, purse, backpack, etc.) within the permissible weight limit. There is no other hidden fee in the base airfare. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on this as compared to other carriers.
The airline offers attractive deals and discounts frequently on online and offline reservations.
Standard Aircraft Fleet
The airline operates only one family of aircraft (Airbus) to save on supply chain, maintenance, and pilot training expenses.
The passenger seats on its airplanes are simple with basic comfort levels. The seats are narrower and non-reclining, with reduced legroom for density optimization. The seats also don’t have headrests or extra padding. So, the airline incurs less cost per seat mile and saves considerably on the upkeep of seats.
The airline usually operates from smaller airports to save on aircraft landing and parking fees.
Streamlined Route Network
The airline has an extensive network of direct, non-stop routes. The route mapping optimization prevents the need for layovers and saves on operational expenses.
Spirit Airlines transfers these cost savings to the airfares for its customers.
Pay for What You Want
Spirit Airlines extends customer-friendly benefits at unbundled price points. The base airfare will increase on availing the following benefits:
Check-in and Boarding Pass
It is advisable to complete the check-in process online and print the boarding pass before reaching the airport. If you don’t, you must pay for it at the airport.
The airline assigns a seat to passengers at its discretion. There are charges on preference for specific seat allocation. For example, the “Big Front Seats” on its aircraft have more legroom. You can avail of this luxury at an extra cost.
The airline charges an additional amount for carry-on and checked bags. These charges primarily depend on baggage dimensions. The charges may also vary on online booking, before the airport gate, or at the gate.
Do you want a cup of coffee or something to nibble? The airline will require you to pay for in-flight snacks and refreshments.
There is an extra payment for traveling with pets, unaccompanied minors, Wi-Fi access, priority boarding, cancellation, rescheduling, and other amenities.
The pricing and cost control strategy of Spirit Airlines gives you a fair idea about why its flights remain cheap. Note that economical prices do not necessarily determine passenger safety.
The Burning Question: ‘Is Spirit Airlines Safe?’
The facts show that Spirit Airlines takes passenger safety as a top priority. The airline makes conscious and consistent efforts to ensure safe travel for its customers.
Spirit Airlines adheres to strict regulatory norms laid down by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
FAA and IATA organizations conduct rigorous checks on all airlines regarding the design and quality of aircraft, passenger safety protocols, and training of pilots, in-flight crew, ground staff, etc.
Spirit Airlines undertakes regular maintenance of its aircraft in terms of engine performance, repairs, and replacements to ensure safe and proper functioning.
The airline has also received the FAA’s ‘Aviation Maintenance Technician Diamond Award of Excellence’ for four consecutive years. The award recognizes the airlines for conducting programs on safety, aviation regulations, and technical knowledge for maintenance technicians.
Spirit Airlines canceled 100 flights recently for mandatory maintenance inspection of some components as per FAA standards. The airline opted to disrupt its flying schedules and forego revenue instead of compromising passenger safety.
According to a recent WalletHub survey, Spirit Airlines is the second-best airline (after Delta Airlines) in the United States. The airline also ranked first as the most affordable carrier and was a runner-up in safety ranking.
AirlineRatings.com also put Spirit Airlines among the top 20 safest low-cost airlines. The rating is based on the assessment of various parameters, including:
- Incident records in the past two years
- Crash records in the past five years
- Fleet age
- Audit results from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the governing body of aviation industry
- European Union’s banned list of airlines
The Official Aviation Guide of the Airways (OAG) ranked Spirit Airlines in its top 20 list of most punctual carriers in its Punctuality League report.
Zero Fatal Accidents
Spirit Airlines has faced rare safety incidents, namely emergency landings and battery fires. However, there has never been a fatal accident in its entire operational history. Hence, it is considered one of the safest airlines in the world.
If you are still worried about flying with Spirit Airlines, it is advisable to read the IATA Safety Report. IATA reports that only five fatal accidents on 32.2 million flights took place in 2022. It also says that accidents are rare in aviation, and flying, though not entirely risk-free, is one of the safest activities.
Young and Modern Fleet
Spirit Airlines owns an all-Airbus Fit Fleet, one of the youngest and most fuel-efficient fleets in the United States. The Airbus fleet follows the highest safety standards per international aviation regulations.
The Airbus fleet also has a solid track record of high safety and reliability. Airbus has a reputation of being one of the safest aircraft manufacturers in the world.
Pilot Qualifications and Training
Spirit Airlines has a stringent process for hiring pilots. The pilots are required to fulfill minimum requirements before onboarding. The pilots also get comprehensive training for 8-12 weeks to its pilots for systems knowledge and functional skills.
The airline also runs the “Spirit Wings Pilot Pathway Program” to encourage students with aviation degrees to become professional pilots.
A company that invests much time and effort in its pilots indicates its commitment to customer safety.
The Final Verdict
Spirit Airlines is one of the cheapest airlines for budget flyers and has a strong safety record and ratings. The final decision to fly with Spirit Airlines rests with you.
This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.