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Spirit Airlines Sees All Those Passenger Complaints as Mere Misunderstandings

A ground crew member loads baggage onto a Spirit Airlines plane at San Diego International Airport
A ground crew member loads baggage onto a Spirit Airlines plane at San Diego International Airport

If you fly on Spirit Airlines and find the experience unpleasant, odds are your gripe rests not with the specific flight but with the company’s business model. The low-fare, high-fees model requires Spirit to eliminate every possible cost from its operation. The seats won’t recline, there’s no free water—it’s all part of the bargain.

But that doesn’t mean passengers won’t complain about it. Spirit draws roughly three times more complaints to federal transportation officials than any other airline. The rate was about 8 per 100,00 customers over the last five years, according to a report by a consumer group released last week. Spirit says the rate has declined to 5 per 100,000 in the past few months.