Spirit Airlines has extended flight cancellations due to the strike through Tuesday, June 15th. My guess was that either the strike would be over by the end of the weekend (apparently not) or it will go on for a while. It’s looking like it’ll be going on for a while. For its part, Spirit says it has offered a raise that equals about 29% over 5 years, though that would require additional flight hours each month from its pilots. The pilots union says that its pay lags behind even its lowest paying competitors.
Spirit management says that they hope to get flights going again with management pilots (who, for their part, say they will not cross the picket line). This is really awful for passengers, who are now finding out that it often costs 4-5 times the price of the original ticket to re-book on another airline (sorta makes you appreciate how cheap Spirit was to begin with). We’ll see lots of articles in the coming days with stranded passengers saying they’ll never fly Spirit again. But let’s be honest: on their next flight to Florida, when Spirit is $350 cheaper than their competition, what passenger is going to knowingly pay that premium?
In any case, I think Spirit could go full Lorenzo and shut the whole thing down and start over. (Someone I spoke with over the weekend who knows more about this than I do seems to think they’ll just fire all of their pilots. Then all hell will break loose.) The industry is better with Spirit in it (at least for consumers), it’ll be shame if this gets really ugly.