Hat's off to Spirit Airlines

pipers

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Fliers flock to Spirit Airlines for free Sept. 11 flights

By Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY

Travelers snapped up all 13,400 seats Wednesday after Spirit Airlines announced flights would be free on Sept. 11, a move hailed for patriotism and promotional savvy.

More than 100,000 calls poured in over the airline's 300 reservations lines during the day in hopes of reserving a seat on one of the 90 flights to 14 cities, officials said. The airline's Web site became overloaded.

"The reaction has been phenomenal," says Spirit CEO Jacob Schorr. "We had to do something to grab everyone's attention."

Spirit, like other airlines, had reported light bookings for the Sept. 11 anniversary. Fewer than 20% of its seats had been booked before Tuesday.

Other airlines, like American, United, Air France and British Airways, have said they will fly fewer flights that day.

The promotion will cost 12-year-old Spirit an estimated $500,000 but won't be a total money-loser ¡ª some passengers bought return tickets.

The airline's executives will be at airports to greet passengers flying Sept. 11.

The promotion generated loads of publicity for a 30-jet airline little known outside its key markets in Florida, Detroit and New York. On Wednesday, the Fort Lauderdale-based airline became the talk of the radio airwaves ¡ª from Paul Harvey to Howard Stern.

"It's a genius move," says online travel columnist Terry Trippler, noting the public relations avalanche.

"Brilliant and classy," says airline consultant Mike Boyd. "If Spirit handles it well, they've gained a lot of brand loyalty they wouldn't have had otherwise."

Major airlines are yet to respond with their own Sept. 11 commemoration plans.
 

Wings Level

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Difinitely an innovative idea and admirable marketing idea.
I guess it's bringing ticket prices down to a level consumers
expect to obtain. Now if only they could get the pilots to
work for free :)

Hats off to Spirit though, and all pilots that will be doing
their jobs this sept 11.
 

enigma

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Wings Level said:
Definitely an innovative idea and admirable marketing idea.
I guess it's bringing ticket prices down to a level consumers
expect to obtain. Now if only they could get the pilots to
work for free :)

Hats off to Spirit though, and all pilots that will be doing
their jobs this sept 11.
Thanks,
They won't get us to work for free. It was a brilliant move, and I'm dang proud of someone at HQ. Here's the best part. We gave away every seat on 9/11/02, but the vast majority of pax bought roundtrip tickets. We instantly went from 17% load factor to 50%. We actually made money on the "free seats".

Some of the pilots will donate our earnings that day to the funds set up for the survivors of our ALPA brothers that perished on 9/11/01. I, for one, am bidding to work that day. Some in our group think that we have painted a bullseye on ourselves, but most of us don't care. We want to fly. I personally think that our airplanes will be the safest in the sky that day. Every seat full, and everyone will know just why they are flying that day. Tell me that those people will allow anything to happen. I pity the poor soul who happens to look suspicious. Matter of fact, that's the only concern I have about that day.

regards
8N
 
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