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Get In The “Spirit” Of Flying

When I read the article on the attitude of Ben Baldanza, CEO of Spirit Airlines, in the New York Times business section this weekend entitled Don’t Come Crying To This Airline I was blown away.  How brazen.  The word the article used was outrageous.

Though I’ve long thought that the airlines should charge more for the things that passengers use on board, even though this is perceived as an unpopular thing to do given airline balnce sheets, I’ve maintained that if service is good people would be willing to pay. Although when I found myself bent over my luggage on the floor of Gatwick airport in a mad dash to re-jigger my luggage to avoid excess baggage fees on a Ryanair flight, I was cursing the idea. And that brings me to the heart of the matter.  Providing that people know about and anticipate the fees I think they’d be willing to pay them. Given that fees add much needed cash to an airline balance sheet given how low fares are going this summer we can expect more, not less, of this kind of pricing. What’s still missing on to many flights is the “good service” part. Lets hope that this time of deals brings an incentive to restore good service as a way of luring passengers.  Now that’s the spirit I’m talking about!



My name: Amy is my name, but I'll answer to Ame, Ames or Aimee.

How I earn my keep: My beat is travel, but my passion is collecting stories from people I meet on the road.

Hotel I could move into: Must I pick only one?! The Palacio Duhau a Park Hyatt in Buenos Aires tops my list. For the stunning restoration of the palace and tasteful new tower that create a thoughtful intersection of old and new. Every public and private space captivates. I'd move for the grand Alvear entry as much as for the manicured garden. For the wine and cheese tastings, the dulce de leche, the art gallery, the flower shop and for all the careful attention to detail that went into creating a hotel that is transcendent. If I were to pick a hotel that most felt like me, it would be The Inn at the Manor in the Cotswolds. Oh, I could definitely live there curled up with a book in a leather chair in the bar or outside among the English wildflowers. If I wanted to live in a land far away, the Ngoro Ngoro Crater Lodge would make a unique home with a view of the crater floor from every room (including the loo!), sumptuous beds, endless roses and the most unusual neighbors - massive water buffalo who won't bother you if you stay close to your Maori guide.

If I won the lottery, I'd live in: A historic farmhouse with an enormous barn and hundreds of acres tucked into a small town in New England or a Malibu beach house with stunning views and the surf just steps away. On second thought, winning the lottery means I could jet from coast to coast and enjoy them both.

Favorite way to get around: By foot. Whether in the city or country, I find the best way to get to know someplace is ambling around to discover and sample the distinct sights, sounds, smells, and tastes a place has to offer.

View that took my breath away: Looking toward the sky in Arusha and watching black and white Colobus monkeys scramble among the treetops, jumping from one tree to the next, floating through the sky like a primate version of Superman. Monkeys know how to have a good time!

My most beloved place in the whole world is: The place I visited last. What can I say? I'm fickle.

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I agree; service is all but extinct. While you “get what you pay for” its how you get it that makes the difference.

I hate to side with Spirit, but they are fairly straight forward about it… I would hope that people read this and realize that you get what you pay for.

If I could just add, travel is an extremely dynamic undertaking. You run the risks of weather, mechanical, and air traffic delays, just to name three. When you travel you should be prepared for changes and delays and you should plan mitigation strategies for them.

I sincerely hope that this type of airline doesn’t become the industry standard. My guess is this. When all of the airlines become like Spirit, the one that charges a few bucks more and offers service is the one that will put the “Spirit” types out of business.

amy ziff

I hear you Rick! I hope people realize that too. I think what we’re likely to see is a division of airlines where there are still low cost, or shall we say, “No Frills” airlines for dirt cheap fares and then there will be a “Service Plus” group of airlines that cater to a more upscale leisure and business traveler offering services and amenities for a higher ticket price. This is what low-fare carriers were trying to do in the first place. But what’s partially wrong with the system now is that the major airlines started trying to compete for that business. Now the lines are so blurred that airlines don’t know which group they belong to. Frankly, I don’t think anyone is particularly happy with this current strategy.

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