If you fly Spirit Airlines next year, you should not expect free drinks. And your seats still will not recline.
But Spirit is promising customers it will improve in 2016. It wants to get them to their destinations on-time more often. And it wants them to be slightly happier about what little service they receive.
This is what Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza told analysts last week at the Credit Suisse Industrials Conference. Spirit will remain a no-frills carrier that charges you for nearly everything, but it still concerned with its reputation. Executives know that they must persuade customers to see Spirit as a reasonable, if barebones, option. They do not want customers to see the airline as a mess.
Here are Baldanza's four priorities for 2016:
"We want to have the lowest price to take you where you want to go." This one is self explanatory.
"We want to be on time." This is not as obvious as it seems. Spirit does not want to be the nation's No. 1 on-time airline or even be in the top three. To do that is extremely expensive. If you want to be on-time all of the time, you need to schedule a lot of downtime for your airplanes. That means you cannot be as efficient as possible. In reality, Spirit is hoping it can be in the middle of the pack among U.S. airlines.
"We want to be clean." You may not have a lot of legroom, but Spirit at leasts want to ensure all trash has been picked up around your seat.
"We want to be friendly." It sounds like Spirit will be borrowing a little bit from Southwest Airlines on this one. Baldanza said he expects flight attendants to be more jovial and perhaps ad-lib more when making announcements.
What do you think of Spirit's 2016 priorities? Does it have the right approach?