Spirit Airlines Wants To Make Up For Being Awful By Trying To Be More Punctual

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Budget carrier Spirit Airlines, known for its low levels of customer satisfaction, is trying to take all those frowns and turn them upside down. One way the airline’s new leader is attempting to make customers happier? Actually getting planes to their destinations in a more timely manner.

Chief Executive Bob Fornaro says reliability has been his top priority since he took the helm six months ago, admitting that service has been an issue.

“Over the years, we’ve never put enough emphasis on service,” he told Bloomberg News in an interview, but now that’s going to change.

Though Spirit’s on-time rate increased to 73.8% in April, it was still the worst showing in the U.S. airline industry and about 11% below the average, according to Department of Transportation statistics. It also canceled a higher percentage of its flights that month than any other carrier, at 1.7%.

Those factors — among others– can lead to some very grumpy customers: almost seven out of 100,000 Spirit customers complained about the company in April, three times more than the complaints leveled at rival low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines. And those are just the people who complained to the DOT — other customers took their gripes directly to Spirit.

The company needs to find the right balance, however — being too on time can get expensive for smaller carriers, as it means allowing more time for flights. And time is money, money that Spirit can’t afford to spend like the bigger carriers.

But Fornaro predicts that by the end of 2016, 75-80% of Spirit’s flights should be on time, which will still be below the performance of Southwest and United, but hey, you’ve gotta start somewhere I guess.

“Next year at this time we’re going to run a very reliable operation,” Fornrao told Bloomberg.

America’s Most Hated Airline Wants to Fix One Thing: Being on Time [Bloomberg]

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