Low-budget airline Spirit never ceases to turn heads with new policies, and despite adding fees for carry-on luggage just last week, new charges and cutbacks appear to be a continued addition to the Spirit M.O. The airline is once again taking heat for the installation of non-reclining seats aboard several of their Airbus 320’s.
Those who take flights on a semi-constant basis will know – hearing the ‘ding’ of the seatbelt sign turning off and knowing that one can now recline their seats make these flights so much better, despite the conservative amount of pitch these seats tend to provide. Now, Spirit customers may have to get by without this luxury and instead settle for what the airline calls ‘pre-reclined’ seats. Unlike the option of paying extra for what used to be a free service, however, passengers will not be able to pay for reclining seats.
Luckily for Spirit, the airline tends to get away with these cutbacks on client comfort thanks to their remarkably cheap prices. As stated by SeatGuru.org founder Matt Daimler, these modifications should not deter those who are willing to pay so little for a flight.
As always, Spirit has done its math before implementing these new designs. These new seats are more lightweight, and therefore help the aircraft get more mileage to the gallon of fuel, increasing profits minimally in the short-run, but could easily turn into multi-million dollar earnings within six-months to a year. The removal of the mechanical design will reportedly also drastically reduce airplane maintenance.
Despite the new controversies behind the many new policies implemented by Spirit, it is not to say that they did not benefit the airline. A week after the introduction of the fee for carry-on luggage, Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza reported a fifty percent increase in booking rates, which it attributed to the increased independence and freedom of choice given to passengers.
However, reception to this new policy may be more mixed than the other. Some could say that this change is imposed on passengers, which could go against the established company ethic. As of now, these ‘pre-reclined’ seats are installed on only one aircraft. Two more modified Airbuses are scheduled to hit the skies this summer, and with the profits generated by these alterations, frequent Spirit flyers should get accustomed to these frequent added fees and cutbacks.