Why Spirit Airlines won't give you a cup of water

Why does Spirit Airlines charge for everything? Photo: Brian Sumers

Why does Spirit Airlines charge for everything? Photo: Brian Sumers

Why can't you get free water on Spirit Airlines?

As I have discussed a few times here, the reason is economics. Even provisioning water costs airlines a fortune, so it doesn't make sense for a carrier that wants to offer cheap tickets to give stuff away for free.

Skift's Marisa Garcia recently had a fascinating discussion with Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza about all elements of the airline's operation. My favorite part? Baldanza's thoughts on water:

Do we not pour you a glass of water for free because we’re mean? No. It’s very expensive to bring water onboard the airplane. The bottle of water isn’t expensive to buy, but its several hundred dollars to cater that cart to the airplane. The reality is that if we gave water away for free on the airplane we’d have to raise every ticket by $0.25 fare cents.

You may disagree. You might prefer spending an extra quarter on your plane ticket so you can get free water. But I respect Spirit's strategy: You pay for only what you want.

Baldanza knows some passengers don't like this system, but he not worried. Plenty of travelers still choose Spirit. 

"Once people start to understand that they still may not like it," he told Skift. "They might still say: 'Spirit’s not the airline for me because I’d rather pay $30 to get more legroom or a free can of Coke' or something—even though that’s a very expensive can of Coke—but they tend to understand it better."