For the last decade, Ben Baldanza has been the outspoken, often crass leader of Spirit Airlines, the bottom-dollar carrier that was easily the most complained-about airline in the U.S., but which Big Ben declared was the country’s “most consumer-friendly” carrier. It looks like Spirit has fallen out of love with Baldanza, who has stepped down from his gig as CEO. [More]
Earlier today, our lunch buddies at Consumer Reports released their roundup of the major U.S.-based commercial airlines. And, in what will be a shock to almost no one who follows the travel industry, Spirit received the lowest possible rating in each of the survey’s six categories. The CEO’s response: “We have great customer service.” [More]
Spirit Airlines has a reputation for charging up the whatsit for every and any add-on it can come up with, so we’re not entirely surprised that CEO Ben “Fine, I Suppose We’ll Refund A Dying Man’s Ticket” Baldanza is more than okay with his airline’s reputation as the “dollar store of the sky.” Actually he wouldn’t be surprised if that was something the company came up with itself. [More]
More than a week after a man with terminal cancer took his gripe with Spirit Airlines public — and after several stern statements by Spirit that it would not, under any condition, bow to public pressure and refund the man his $197 — the airline has bowed to public pressure and is refunding his $197.
Low cost, no-frills Spirit Airlines takes heat from people annoyed with how it charges a fee for everything and for its crass and tasteless ads that capitalize on scandals and tragedies in the news. We’ve dished some out ourselves. But it’s hard not to walk away from reading this AP interview with its CEO and business model mastermind Ben Baldanza without some new respect for the guy. For one, he turned around a money-losing airline and it’s been profitable ever since. And at least this airline is upfront about how they’re gonna give it to you.
Our network of spies and informants have penetrated every major American corporation. The following is dialog from a recent Spirit Airlines board meeting, as imagined by reader David, whom they screwed over. The first sentence of this post is therefore a non sequitor, but that’s ok. What’s not ok is Spirit’s policy making its various fees and upgrades non-refundable. So if they screw up your ticket and then have to issue you a new one, you don’t get to keep the upgrades you bought. They just take your money, because of their ironclad policy against refunds. Now let’s join that imagined Spirit Airlines board meeting, already in progress…
A reader reports that BaldanzaB@spiritair.com could be Spirit Air CEO Ben Baldanza’s new email address for callously responding to consumer complaints, seeing as the top management seem to have changed their email addresses after their dirty email laundry got posted. UPDATE: Within 3 hours of this post, now this new email is bouncing. At least Spirit Air knows how to do one thing right: duck customer complaints.
Spirit Air CEO Learns The Dangers Of Hitting "Reply All" When Callously Responding To Consumer Complaints
This is how Ben Baldanza CEO of Spirit Air responded to a complaint letter from a first-time customer:
Please respond, Pasquale, but we owe him nothing as far as I’m concerned. Let him tell the world how bad we are. He’s never flown us before anyway and will be back when we save him a penny.
Which might have been ok, had the email stayed inter-office, but Baldanza seems to have hit “reply all” and accidentally sent the message back to the original complainant. Oops.