Spirit Airlines, known as a traveler’s worst friend, is considering going all out and charging customers if they want to talk to a person at the airport. This would be in keeping with Spirit’s long and distinguished history of viewing its customers as chattel. Just last week the airline began charging for carry on bags.
Customer screwage like this starts at the top, and in this case the top is CEO Ben Baldanza, who has never had much time for the people who make it possible for him to get a paycheck. This was documented a few years ago in Baldanza’s response to a customer email. The customers had written what has been characterized as a “long but polite” letter asking for a $376.84 refund to cover a trip ruined by a three-hour delay to their Spirit Airlines flight. In an email meant instructing a staffer how to respond Baldanza wrote: “Please respond, Pasquale, but we owe him nothing. Let him tell the world how bad we are. He’s never flown us before anyway and will be back when we save him a penny. “
The icing on this particular pile of crap was the “spin” the company’s head of communications tried to put on things: “No, we really don’t believe we have anything to apologize for regarding Ben’s e-mail. I can tell you that Ben cares enormously about our customers and our customer service. Ben said what is exactly true: that we don’t owe the customer anything. People can and do post whatever they would like on the Internet. But it cannot alter your adherence to your company policy or your procedures.”
Why aren’t these guys working for BP?