Spirit’s Eyebrow-Raising Ads Seem To Be Working

If nothing else, Spirit Airlines is original. The company has created MILF ads, a campaign timed with the Anthony Weiner scandal called “The Weiner Sale,” ads that referenced the BP oil spill of 2010 (one of the slogans was, “Check out the oil on our beaches”), and more. Spirit Airlines has famously created ads just three hours after related news events and they don’t seem to mind that the ads usually look campy and hastily made.

And yet, no matter how offended some seem by these ads, no matter how unprofessional they might come off as being, the company’s approach must be working. Spirit Airlines was called the most profitable airline in the country last year by The Wall Street Journal.

United Allegedly Runs Out Of Toilet Paper During International Flight

We’ve heard of flights running out of sugar, snacks and even fuel – but never have we ever known a flight to run out of toilet paper. That’s what happened on board a recent flight from London to San Francisco, when United Airlines allegedly forgot to re-stock the plane’s supply of toilet paper.

According to an account posted to FlyerTalk.com, it seems some creative flight attendants put together a pocket to hold some cocktail napkins, so passengers who had to use the loo weren’t left completely stranded in the bathroom.

Although we’ve heard some crazy schemes for reducing the weight of aircraft to save on fuel – like how Spirit Airlines recently started serving wine in cans – we hope airlines overstock toilet paper on long-haul flights so more passengers don’t have to rely on cocktail napkins in the future. It would be crazy to not be able to count on toilet paper being provided with the cost of an airline ticket, but in the age of add-on fees, who knows what can happen?

Update: A spokesperson from United contacted Gadling to assure us that fewer than half of the lavatories on the flight ran out of toilet paper.

Spirit Airlines Cuts Corners With Canned Wine

Spirit Airlines will soon begin pouring wine out of aluminum cans, one again lowering the bar for in-flight beverages.

Associated Press broke the story about the airline’s new cost-saving move, which will have flight attendants serving white moscato and strawberry moscato wine from Aventura, Fla.-based Friends Fun Wine. The cans are 6 percent alcohol by volume, putting the vino in the category of wine coolers (typically 4-7 percent). Spirit told the news outlet they prefer the cans because they’re easy to stack and store on airplanes, but we’re willing to bet it has something to do with the fact that the cans weigh less and will help the airline save on fuel.

Spirit is famous for tacking on a variety of extra fees, including $35 to place a bag in the overhead bin. We suggest you stick with the Sutter Home wine the airline will continue to offer. Although it’s served in a smaller container, the wine is 13 percent alcohol by volume – and it won’t leave a metallic taste in your mouth.

[via Consumerist.com]

Spirit Airlines Ditches Toll-Free Customer Service Line

Famous for its no-frills approach (and for being the first airline to charge for carry-on bags), Spirit Airlines has decided it no longer needs a toll-free customer service line, the Los Angeles Times is reporting. In lieu of a 1-800 number, Spirit quietly replaced all its phone numbers with 801 area codes, which correspond with a geographic area in Utah.

The change won’t affect most mobile customers, who typically have unlimited long-distance calling plans. But according to the L.A. Times, people dialing Spirit from a landline could incur fees up to 18 cents per minute, depending on the phone plan. Let’s just hope Spirit doesn’t have long wait times for speaking with customer service reps, or else fees could start adding up quickly.

“Our new numbers are allowing us to keep our costs low, which we in turn continue to pass along to our customers by way of the ultra-low fares they have come to know and love,” airline spokeswoman Misty Pinson told the news outlet. Although the toll-charge number doesn’t seem like it will hit most wallets, when coupled with the airline’s 71 other passenger fees, the price of a “low cost” flight just keeps getting higher and higher.

[Via Skift]

[Photo credit: Flickr user ​Clemson]

How To Fly If You’re A ‘Customer Of Size’

Given the ever increasing, uh, size of air passengers (not least American air travelers), airlines are cracking down on passengers who may just rather roll up their armrests and encroach a little on the space of other passengers next to them.

The ongoing debate has been around whether larger passengers are, and should be, required to buy extra seats for themselves, and the jury is coming back with a definitive “yes.” Yahoo! News rounds up policies from major airlines on “passengers of size,” whether there are special provisions, if fees are required, and, basically, what the deal is.

After going through the options, we can weigh in on the best and worst.

The winners? Customers of some size may want to opt for JetBlue, which has slightly larger seats than most other airlines. Usually airlines provide about 17 inches between armrests, but JetBlue provides 17.8 inches.

If you’re a customer of the next size up, your best bet may, surprisingly, be Spirit. Although Spirit is known for nickel-and-diming its customers with loads of different fees, paying extra for a Big Front Seat may actually be worth your while, rather than buying a whole extra seat like you’d have to on another airline. In addition to offering 6 extra inches of legroom, Spirit’s Big Front Seats are 18.5 inches wide.

If you’re a customer of a larger size than that, your best bet may be Delta, which doesn’t require you to buy an extra seat. Delta will simply give you an extra seat next to you … if one is available. Obviously, the downside is if you’re in a rush and there are no spare seats on the plane. They’ll put you on another plane with extra room, but you may have to wait. In that case, it’s your choice to buy an extra seat for yourself in advance.

The loser? United. If you fly on United, you have to prove the armrests go down and stay all the way down – even if you’re seated next to family. While I totally understand (and agree) that it’s inappropriate for strangers to intrude on other passengers’ spaces, other airlines make an exception if you sit next to family members who don’t mind. No such luck on United. You can purchase your extra United seat in advance, and if you don’t, you may be charged additional walk-up fees later.

[Image credit: Flickr user sbamueller]