Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza isn’t worried about providing passengers with free peanuts and complimentary hot towels.
“When you talk to a lot of customers what you find is that most of them, when they think about what airline they want to fly, want the lowest price,” he says.
Instead of pampering passengers with free drinks, Spirit charges customers for almost everything, including printing a boarding pass at the airport.
How does Baldanza respond to criticism that his airline gets for being the only ‘two star’ rated carrier? “Economists call airlines an intermediate good, which means that you’re not buying an airline trip because you want to be on the airplane, you want to be somewhere,” says Baldanza.
According to Baldanza, many of Spirit’s customers are buying plane tickets for themselves, not for a business trip, so they’re more worried about airfare.
“We believe we have a totally different customer base than a Delta or an American or a United. The difference is that we target at Spirit customers who are paying for tickets themselves,” he says.
But Baldanza says it’s a pleasure to try to get his customers the lowest possible airfare.
“At Spirit it’s really mind-opening and it’s really rewarding to think about how can we make it cheaper to go tomorrow than today.”
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