Spirit Airlines CEO addresses customer service

Spirit Airlines at Fort Lauderdale (2015) By JT Occhialini [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

In the last few months on this site we’ve discussed the efforts of Ultra-Low Cost Carrier (ULCC) Spirit Airlines, based in the Fort Lauderdale area to change its image. Fliers in 17 countries throughout the Americas choose Spirit more for low fares than for service but the reputation of the carrier was so poor in many circles the airline made an effort to improve its relationship with customers. However, a few weeks ago during a pilot work slowdown, Spirit’s old issues came to the forefront again. Frayed tempers and incidents at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport led US Senator Bill Nelson to take to the Senate floor to address the matter.

This week Spirit CEO Bob Fornaro who has been on the job a little more than a year and has made an improved customer experience his leading priority wrote an open letter to the airline’s fliers. The text of this letter is after the jump.


A little over a year ago, I became the CEO of Spirit Airlines. At the time, we were very good at providing the lowest possible fares, and that hasn’t changed – our total price is more than 30% lower than other airlines on average. But, while low prices are important, one thing was missing – a commitment to delivering great service.

Over the past year, we invested heavily to improve your customer experience. We increased staffing and our focus on service training. We built a new state-of-the-art hangar and opened new training centers to keep our crew and equipment in tip-top shape. And we brought on 16 new aircraft, adding to the youngest and most fuel-efficient fleet in the country.

These improvements produced great results – our on-time performance increased by nearly 15%, and customer satisfaction increased by 50%. I am proud to say that we were named the Most Improved Airline in the Airline Quality Rating this year.

A couple of weeks ago, we suffered service disruptions and had to cancel approximately 15% of our flights over the course of a few days. We regret the inconvenience this caused and have been hard at work to ensure this does not happen again. We are committed, as always, to providing our valued customers with safe, reliable and on-time flights to their travel destinations.

Moving forward, you will see some exciting improvements at Spirit. While our on-time performance has improved, we will continue to get even better. Additionally, we will be launching a mobile app by the end of summer as well as a refreshed website and new kiosks at the airport by year-end. These are just a few things that we are doing to provide a better customer experience for you.

Today’s Spirit is performing better than last year’s Spirit, and next year’s Spirit will be even better. I look forward to meeting you on a Spirit flight soon!

Thank You,

Bob Fornaro
President and CEO, Spirit Airlines


  1. Bettsy Divine · ·

    Has it ever occurred to the CEO that he needs to pay his employees a fair wage so they will take care of us? Herb Kelly of Southwest famously said “if you take care of your employees, they ill take care of our customers”. Spirit obviously hasn’t learned this lesson. They seem like they are the epitome of Wall Street pressure from one quarter after the next without any regard for the long run viability of the company or their employees lives. It sounds like the pilots have finally had enough and this may be the start of more trouble ahead.


  2. They dont refund money if the account that you used to get the flights is closed…I lost hundreds and this is the moment that they dont have an answer!…What a nightmare!…It is not just about an airline mode, It is about negligence.


  3. Sounds wonderful but the service is poor, period Heres why : we paid over $1300.00 for 4 tickets during our kids Thanksgiving break to visit Baltimore. As a,result of hurricane Irma
    We were forced to cancel reservations because the kids now have to attend school the beginning of Thanksgiving week ; not our choice !!! I was told my “credit” would be $579. NOT a credit back to my charge card but a future flight credit. Why ???.
    .That to us is very poor service !!! And, the new reservations must be made by Jan.8th or we loose the credit. When I made the reservations , I was told a $59 ” unforseen circumstances fee” , would allow us a refund. They didnt say it woukd be a pittance of what we paid in August.
    And, good luck understanding the agents dialects in the Phillipines. Very frustrating. I then asked for a supervisor in Fort Lauderdale (Sara). She simply reiterated what I was told by the phillipine office ( and, by email). I also emailed 2 executives in Customer Service / Operations back in mid October – I’ve yet to hear from either of them. If these scenarios are an improvement in service over last year, I would hate to have seen what it was like
    Then. !!!. Tge result todate is that I either takethe very low refund “credit”, or do nothing waiting for the 2 executives to respond & loose the entire credit – has to be more than 7 days prior to the flights. I’m happy to hear that Senator Nelson is now involved with complaints about this airline.


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