Spirit Airlines’ CEO reveals plans to transform ‘America’s most hated airline’
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Ted Christie, the CEO of Spirit Airlines, joined Talking Points during the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) Expo in September to share the company’s latest developments, loyalty program changes, and what he believes is their largest competitor.
The APEX Expo celebrated its 40th anniversary this year in Downtown Los Angeles, and brought together more than 5,000 industry professionals and more than 100 airline representatives to share insights into the latest airline technologies, products, and services. The expo offered four days of engaging panels led by experts from all around the world, including The Points Guy, Brian Kelly.
Christie explains details about the roll out of Spirit’s new seats coming this November, which the airline unveiled during the Expo, and how these seats will improve the customer’s overall experience. Christie also shares why the airline’s been expanding into Latin America, and why you probably won’t be flying Spirit overseas or to Hawaii.
“The unique thing about Spirit is there are three aspects to our loyalty today that don’t interact very well, which is part of what the value of the re-design will bring us…So, in part of this re-design, it’s optimizing redemption levels, making that more usable for members of our programs, but also making those programs interact a little bit more.”
Tune into this episode to find out how Spirit is making strides to lose its infamous moniker as “America’s most hated airline,” why it charges $25 to book a ticket via text, and if the airline will ever expand its fleet beyond the Airbus A320 family.
You can play this episode above, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Brian Kelly: Welcome to Talking Points. It’s your host, Brian Kelly, The Points Guy. And if you’re an aviation geek like me, the APEX Expo is like nothing else. APEX, that’s the Airline Passenger Experience Association, and it’s an annual aviation conference that brings together more than 3,000 industry professionals to share insights into the latest airline technologies, products and services. These are the people and companies making the experience of traveling, from Wi-Fi to inflight entertainment, better than it’s ever been before.
Brian Kelly: 2019 celebrates our 40th anniversary, and this year APEX went all-out in downtown LA, inviting reps from nearly 100 airlines over four days, with panels led by experts from across the globe, including yours truly. And I got to sit down with several top execs from airlines, all for Talking Points. So on this episode we share our exclusive interview with Ted Christie, the CEO of Spirit Airlines. Christie shares everything from the rollout of their new seats:
Ted Christie: We widened the middle seat by an inch. So, now it’s a little more generous than the other two.
Brian Kelly: And how Spirit is changing to lose the tag as America’s most-hated airline.
Ted Christie: That’s how you win as a guest on board a Spirit airplane, is you pick and choose those things that are most important to you.
Brian Kelly: That’s all ahead on Talking Points. Ted, thanks so much for joining us.
Ted Christie: Thank you.
Brian Kelly: So Ted, let’s start about your background. Did you always know that you wanted to be an airline CEO?
Ted Christie: Absolutely not. No. I started out wanting to be a rock musician.
Brian Kelly: Oh, really?
Ted Christie: So I was supposed to get big…
Brian Kelly: Lead singer or…?
Ted Christie: Yeah. Absolutely.
Brian Kelly: And what was it, a high school thing?
Ted Christie: No it was …
Brian Kelly: In college, did you perform?.
Ted Christie: Even post-college …
Brian Kelly: Even post-college?
Ted Christie: I gave it the full try …
Brian Kelly: Do you ever rock out nowadays?
Ted Christie: Periodically.
Brian Kelly: Company parties, have you ever come out in a big, like …
Ted Christie: Not as much as you would [inaudible]. But in all seriousness, I had originally had some interest in getting into government policy, actually. So I worked in government for a while, and then realized the private sector was probably a better spot for me, and eventually landed at Frontier Airlines. It’s been almost 20 years ago now.
Brian Kelly: So, you end up at Frontier Airlines, you helped grow them into a pretty profitable …
Ted Christie: Well, I grew my career there. I started out as a financial analyst, and eventually got my way to CFO there, and helped transform the business. We eventually sold that company to Republic, and then, with a stop in between, found my way to Spirit almost seven and a half years ago.
Brian Kelly: So, you joined Spirit as CFO?
Ted Christie: I did.
Brian Kelly: And then about two and a half years ago you took the helm as CEO, right?
Ted Christie: Well, actually the CEO announcement was about that long ago, but I didn’t officially assume the role until the beginning of this year, so …
Brian Kelly: Oh!
Ted Christie: Yeah. So, I was moved to president at the beginning of last year, and then CEO …
Brian Kelly: Tell people who are listening, I’m always so confused when people are like, “President versus CEO versus Chair” What does president mean [inaudible]?
Ted Christie: Yeah, they are two separate jobs, actually. They’re often embodied by the same person, but the president runs the airline. So the day-today functionality, airline reports to the president, operations, marketing, finance, all of that stuff. And the CEO sets direction, tone, interaction with the board, forward-facing, that kind of thing. So again, they’re often the same person, but in this case it was a next move for me during the grooming exercise between myself and my predecessor.
Brian Kelly: So, now that you’ve taken over the CEO role, do you plan to hire a new president underneath you or do you have… how do you …?
Ted Christie: No. Right now, no. I’ll keep both titles. Keep the functionality as to where we see it right now with no assumed change for now.
Brian Kelly: I didn’t realize this until I went to another airlines headquarters recently, how summer is actually a bad time of year. There were employees celebrating the end of summer because of heavy operations and more people traveling. Is that the same at Spirit? Is this summer the “let’s get through this” season?
Ted Christie: Yeah, absolutely. It’s the busiest time of year for every airline. It’s the most challenging environment from a load-factor perspective, which is great. People love to travel. But we have challenging weather, which we’ve experienced a lot this summer as well. So, the airline likes to take a breather. All airlines like to take a breather at the end of the summer.
Brian Kelly: So, I always see Spirit planes in airports I didn’t realize. How do you describe the strategy behind your focus cities?
Ted Christie: So, the objective with Spirit has always been about stimulating travel with low fares. The experiment started better than a decade ago, almost 15 years ago, with 30 airplanes. And basically, testing the core economic theory of when you lower a price of a good, will more people do it. And so, the places we choose to fly, while there is nuances around how you pick, in order, where you want to deploy your airplanes, it really is about, we see a vast untapped marketplace for more travel, and that that can be a near field international, you mentioned some Colombia markets, we’re reasonably good size there, or in large leisure destinations in the United States like Las Vegas, even Los Angeles is a large leisure destination, Orlando.
Brian Kelly: On my last Spirit flight, people… yes, I fly Spirit airlines. I’ve flown it twice in the last, I think two years …
Ted Christie: Thanks for the business …
Brian Kelly: I flew Havana-Fort Lauderdale, and LA to Vegas, albeit not the longest routes you guys fly, but I had great experiences. Early arrivals, easy breezy, easy to… and I’m six foot seven, so, being able to choose the exit row last-minute — on most of the major carriers, those seats are always taken. So, actually there is a bunch of strategies to flying Spirit and our head of family travel, Summer, recently flew the big seat, and she really liked it. So …
Ted Christie: We’ve tried to democratize travel a little bit. I mean, give everyone the options that they think are important to them, and be able to pick and choose those things. And that may be, in your example, a little bit more legroom ’cause you are a taller guy. But for other people it’s important that they save the extra $50 because they are taking their family to Orlando for …
Brian Kelly: And that 50 bucks is an extra activity …
Ted Christie: And it can be meaningful. It’s one of the benefits of the models that works well for everybody. We do have a product like the Big Front Seat, which is we think the best value in the sky because it’s a 2×2 business class product, and anyone can get it, right? You don’t have to have loyalty, you don’t have to have any of those things, all you have to do is buy a seat assignment. And I think that’s a really powerful tool that can look at picking and choosing all of those things.
Brian Kelly: And I think that’s something other people don’t realize about Spirit, that you do have this essentially domestic first-class product in the big seat, and you’re committed to it. So, when you’re buying the big seat… for people who are listening and saying, “I didn’t realize Spirit, this ultra-low-cost carrier had this.” So, when you’re buying a flight, every plane has it. How do you guys sell it? Can you upgrade to it if you buy the cheapest coach seat? What’s the strategy?
Ted Christie: Yeah. So, as I said earlier, it is purely a seat assignment. So, no matter what fare you bought, when you bought a ticket on Spirit, you have the opportunity to buy that seat assignment. It is available to everyone at that price. We have two rows on most airplanes. There’s actually two and a half rows on a few of our aircraft …
Brian Kelly: A half row of first class. That’s interesting.
Ted Christie: Yeah. Well, again, it’s not a class of service. So, it is a seat assignment, and with that seat assignment you get the additional space, and the legroom …
Brian Kelly: It is a full first-class seat, too, you know ….
Ted Christie: It’s equivalent of the U.S. businesses class.
Brian Kelly: It’s not like the intra-European business class that’s coach with the block middle seat. It is full …
Ted Christie: That’s correct.
Brian Kelly: … and it books into a wide class. Is it coach?
Ted Christie: Again, that’s what I’m saying there is no technical class of service. It is …
Brian Kelly: That’s a pretty good deal.
Ted Christie: That’s why it’s a great deal because everyone can take advantage of it. If you’re a member of our $9 Fare Club, and you have the opportunity to get access to very, very low-priced inventory, you may be able to buy an extremely affordable ticket, and buy that seat assignment for cheaper than you can fly even anyone else.
Brian Kelly: I guarantee there are Spirit fans listening to this now like, “Don’t tell people.” It’s a great deal … Coming up after the break. Ted Christie shares details around how Spirit Airlines wants to compete with your weekend plans.
Ted Christie: Our competitors are the couch, Amazon.com, restaurants, movie theaters …
Brian Kelly: That’s right after this.
Brian Kelly: Welcome back to Talking Points. We’re here at the APEX Expo in Downtown LA, and I’m with Ted Christie, the CEO of Spirit Airlines. Spirit is a cheeky airline, right? Everything in your advertising, in the way you go about doing business, certainly your predecessor doubled down on that. Spirit evokes a lot of emotion from people. Obviously, you guys are doing very well. You have a dedicated, pretty wide audience of people who like saving money and traveling. But then there’s also the people who say, “Spirit’s the most hated airline in America.” Under your direction, are you … how do you respond to that when people say, “Well, you’re the CEO of this airline that so many people hate?”
Ted Christie: Well, I think that in some respects, in our distant past, we earned a reputation around, you mentioned cheekiness, and there was probably … the on-time performance of the product was a little bit below what we would want, and it wasn’t lining up with our expectation of the delivery. That’s really the easiest way to say it. We always believed that with a low fare and a high-value product, we would be able to conquer all of these opportunities that we see. And the evolution that we’ve gone through over the past few years has been to refine that delivery.
Ted Christie: Now we are amongst the best operators in the business. We’re routinely in the top four in on-time performance, which puts us among some pretty rarefied air. And when you can do that with an extremely affordable fare, brand-new airplanes, the ability to customize your experience the way we were just talking about from a seating perspective, and bags, and that sort of thing. You couple all that together, that’s really a high-value proposition. And so, we’ve rounded the edges a little bit around what may have been abrasive to people in the past. It’s really about expressing how we can translate that to a value proposition for people.
Brian Kelly: So, the big three have certainly taken notice of your unbundling, and with basic economy, have you felt new pressure now that the major airlines are trying to do essentially what you’ve been doing for years?
Ted Christie: No pressure. I mean, in a lot of ways it’s flattering. At the beginning of our transformation into what was previously called a ULCC, but now we’re just a high-value product carrier, we inaugurated a lot of things in the United States that are now part of the common vernacular — charging for bags, charging for seat assignment. And so, in a lot of ways that transformation is just recognition that there is a product there that people want to buy. So, when our peers institute that type of product, it’s validation of our very model.
Brian Kelly: Who would you say is your number one competitor in the U.S.?
Ted Christie: So, it’s actually an interesting question. The practical reality is what we’re competing for is that last amount of discretionary spend from every household. So, in a lot of ways our competitors are the couch, they are Amazon.com, they are …
Brian Kelly: It’s interesting.
Ted Christie: … movie theaters, they are restaurants. Because we’re trying to convince people with that aspect of discretionary spend you have, “Go see grandma, go to Orlando instead of buying a new TV.” And so, that’s the compelling part of the argument. We of course compete with every airline in the United States, but we offer a different product, and we think that that’s what segments us well. We are attacking a leisure-based, discretionary traveler.
Brian Kelly: Speaking of leisure, so Southwest launched Hawaii, and they’ve recently said it’s performing way beyond their expectations. JetBlue has its eyes on Europe. I know with your current family of A320 aircraft, you couldn’t make it. Do you have plans for Europe or Hawaii in the near future?
Ted Christie: Europe? No. Hawaii probably not either, to be honest. The things that work really well for us, we stay within our knitting. We’ve developed a nice network of opportunities in the lower 48, and in near-field Latin American international that fits well with our model and has a big growth opportunity. So, that’s clearly where we’re focused right now.
Brian Kelly: And as far as fleet, A320 has worked pretty well for you. There have been rumors that you guys want a smaller aircraft. Are there any announcements coming on getting a smaller plane to open up a new round of routes?
Ted Christie: Well, the beauty of the 320 family, and we operate all three variants today … so we have the 320, we have the 321, which is longer, but we also operate the 319, and that airplane does have certain markets that it works very well in. So, we’ve looked … we are in the midst of evaluating our forward fleet requirements, and we’ve looked at all the opportunities. I’d say we’re at the last stages of getting ready to move on to our next phase of growth, because right now our current order with Airbus takes us through 2021. So, we’re now evaluating the next kind of five years or so beyond that. And I suspect that we’ll have some positive news on that in the coming months or so.
Brian Kelly: For people who may have heard from friends, bad flight experiences with Spirit, how would you describe the Spirit of 2019 to someone who may see a really cheap fare but in the back of their head they’ve heard something bad? What is it like, and how do you win flying Spirit, like, do you recommend just doing everything in advance?
Ted Christie: Yeah, so that’s going to stimulate a long discussion, right?
Brian Kelly: We’re here at the airline passenger experience conference.
Ted Christie: So, I fly Spirit all the time.
Brian Kelly: Do they know that the CEO is on board?
Ted Christie: Well, they do…
Brian Kelly: Have you ever tried to secret fly?
Ted Christie: When I was CFO I was less conspicuous, and I tend to want to talk to our crew anyway, and talk with the group on the airplane. So, when you’re a guest on board a Spirit airplane, you should expect certain things to come with the price of your ticket. You should expect a rather seamless experience from booking to the claim of your bag, you should expect on-time performance, you should expect a new, clean airplane, you should expect a friendly group that’s greeting you every day. Those things are naturally included in the purchase price. And then you can customize the things that are important to you: legroom, carry-on bags, checked bags, member of our loyalty program, buying something to eat on board. Down the road very soon, the ability to connect with your friends and family on board with stream-to-seat Wi-Fi, we’re already in the process of moving through that as well.
Ted Christie: And so, all of those things give you the ability to customize. That’s how you win as a guest on board a Spirit airplane, is you pick and choose those things that are most important to you. Bundling can work for some people because they feel more comfortable buying a package. But a lot of people like to buy a la carte. It’s very common in most products today. You can buy that with your car, and your restaurant experience and your clothing experience. So that’s a winning experience for a guest on board our plane.
Brian Kelly: Let’s talk a little bit about the in-flight experience that’s streaming Wi-Fi. I had no idea about that. You assume that you’re going to get a seat that doesn’t recline, no in-flight entertainment, a menu to buy from. But can you talk a little bit about the investments in the passenger experience?
Ted Christie: Yeah, so last year we made a formal announcement of a strategic shift that we’d been working on for the better part of three years that we called “invest in the guest.” It started with better operational performance, because the most important thing to people traveling on our airplanes is they want to arrive on time.
Brian Kelly: Time is money.
Ted Christie: Yeah. We started there, but then we started looking at the aspects of our product, and where we thought we could make things better, listen to our guests, take their feedback and constructively deploy that into our product. And so, I mentioned a few of those in the winning experience, but better experience at the airport, in my opinion, starts with a much more streamlined pass-through all the way to the gate. And so we’re deploying technology, with self bag-drop technology that will eventually move its way to a one-stop interaction with your check-in and bag-drop.
Ted Christie: Once you get onboard the airplane, you mentioned that we’re in the process of installing high-speed stream-to-seat Wi-Fi. We think we’re the first true low-cost carrier with that quality of product in the world. Our partner is Thales Aviation, and we’re very excited about that product. We’ve …
Brian Kelly: When will that start rolling out?
Ted Christie: We’ve run into a few collective, kind of just a few technology hiccups, which are not uncommon when you’re dealing with this type of technology, but we expect we’ll be deploying that into the fleet beginning the end of this year, into early next and throughout the remainder of 2020.
Brian Kelly: So the passengers can pay for fast Wi-Fi, streamable fast Wi-Fi?
Ted Christie: That’s correct. Yeah. And the tests have been extremely successful. We’re talking about the ability to stream your Netflix, to stream your Amazon Prime, and if you don’t want that, but instead you just want connectivity, you want to be able to browse the internet, or …
Brian Kelly: Text.
Ted Christie: … it’s going to be more affordable. And so, the idea here was, we wanted best in-class service, we wanted an affordable delivery, and we think we’ve checked those boxes, now we gotta get it on the airplane and get it out there. The other thing that’s an improvement is a redesigned cabin, which is, new seat technology produces the ability to increase usable space and legroom. And that’s what’s most important from a comfort perspective for people. And so, while you mentioned you’re 6’7″, and you’ve flown on us in our exit row, I’m 6’2″ and I sit in our traditional coach product, and I think there’s a misnomer out there around the word seat pitch, that people affiliate that with comfort, when in reality it’s just a measurement between the two seats. So, when you improve seat technology with contoured seat backs, and a gentle pre-recline for our seat, you actually improve the legroom space. So, those kinds of things are again, investments in our guests.
Brian Kelly: And what I think is pretty revolutionary. So, the middle seat — you’ve given a little bit of extra space to the middle seat?
Ted Christie: We did. We widened the middle seat by an inch. So, now it’s a little more generous than the other two.
Brian Kelly: Are you the first airline in the U.S. to do that?
Ted Christie: I think there may be others. I’m not 100% certain. But regardless, what we’re trying to do is optimize the real estate on the airplane, and we think we can do that in a way that actually delivers comfort, and convince people that are buying tickets that we are actually more comfortable than they think.
Brian Kelly: So, with the middle seat actually having more space, do they still get both armrests, in your opinion?
Ted Christie: Well, you and I both know we travel a lot. That’s always a little bit of a first come, first served, shall we say.
Brian Kelly: Very diplomatic response. I still firmly believe if you’re in the middle seat, you get both of those armrests.
Ted Christie: Okay.
Brian Kelly: Moving on to technology, I just judged a panel at the world aviation festival, and easyJet — their app was amazing. You can actually scan your bag, it’ll tell you if it’s within compliance, you can pre-pay, etc. Interestingly, you just announced text to buy tickets, which I thought was really cool, and then there’s a $25 charge to that, which is interesting — it almost seems like a penalty to switch to mobile when other airlines are encouraging mobile acceptance. What’s the strategy there?
Ted Christie: Well, remember when you buy a ticket on your mobile device, there’s no fee to interact with us via our app or through the website. What we’re really talking about is when we improve the guest services with a more human contact, either via text or mobile, or if you call our reservation center, that’s where that additional service comes with a fee. The ability to use SMS, and in our case also WhatsApp — which we think is somewhat unique, because international customers use that much more frequently — that’s just a new advent. That’s us saying, “Here’s another chance for you to interact with us, either to resolve an issue or perhaps to buy a ticket.” And we think that’s a net positive, by the way.
Brian Kelly: My listeners would kick me for not bringing up points, since I’m The Points Guy. So, I know in February of this year you announced an update, refresh to the loyalty program. Our readers have been irked by the pretty strict expiration policy on Spirit miles. Even our fans at TPG who fly Spirit quite a bit are like, “I almost never used the points, because it’s just too much.” When can we expect an update to the program? And is there anything you can share about strategy behind the new refresh?
Ted Christie: Sure. So, start with timing. When we talked about launching a re-look at our loyalty program, we knew it was going to take us a little bit of time because we wanted to make sure we got it right, and we’ve listened to our guests, they’ve told us the same things that you’re hearing as well. And so, we want to make sure that we’re being very strategic in the design of this. It is underway right now, and I expect that we’ll have good results on that next year. The unique thing about Spirit is there are three aspects to our loyalty today that don’t interact very well, which is part of what the value of the redesign will bring us. We have a credit card affiliation program with Bank of America, which most airlines have those today. And we have a points program where you accumulate miles and you can redeem those for tickets. Those two things are traditional in most airlines.
Ted Christie: What’s different with Spirit is we actually have a paid loyalty program, the $9 Fare Club, where you have the opportunity to join our club for an annual fee and you get access to low-priced inventory, you get access to bag discounts. Those three things also need to interact, and today they don’t very well. So, in part of this re-design, it’s optimizing redemption levels, making that more usable for members of our programs, but also making those programs interact a little bit more.
Brian Kelly: I’ve seen this as a trend with a lot of airlines adding concerts, experiences, tours. Is that something you guys are focused on or (inaudible)?
Ted Christie: Again, all on the table. So we’re evaluating what’s important to the people who are members of our loyalty program. And it will be different for a low-cost carrier than it might be for a larger network carrier.
Brian Kelly: Do you foresee elite status levels with free big seat selections?
Ted Christie: So, we have not had that before, right? I wouldn’t want to get in front of the process and say that it’s a hard no, I think we’re evaluating all opportunities.
Brian Kelly: How do you view partnerships with other airlines? So, JetBlue has seen growth with Emirates and TAP partnerships that have really opened up. Do you foresee that in the future as part of your growth strategy, especially within Latin America?
Ted Christie: And I assume you mean, from a relationship perspective, you probably mean some sort of a code share …
Brian Kelly: Code-sharing … Especially with the frequent flyer program, one of the big things we love is the ability to redeem on other airline partners, or alliance partners. You obviously aren’t in an alliance, or joining one at any time soon, I assume. But …
Ted Christie: That’s fair to say.
Brian Kelly: Do you foresee a path to growth where you’re partnering up with maybe even other low-cost carriers in the markets you serve?
Ted Christie: So, to date we have not pursued that. We have been approached, but to date we have not pursued that largely because code-share relationships, believe it or not, are more of just a distribution strategy. It’s how you want to distribute your tickets to other people. In that case, you’re distributing to someone else’s customer on their code. And what we’ve largely found is with our model, and our load factors, we don’t need that additional distribution platform. That doesn’t mean that over time that may change. And given our international reach, for example, or as the network gets bigger, those kinds of decisions have to be fluid. You have to look at them on a case-by-case basis. So, that’s been the decision today, but I wouldn’t be surprised over time if that were to change.
Brian Kelly: Almost 10% of our readers in the U.S. are based in New York metro (area). So, it’s of great interest that you guys are entering Newark. Of course, Southwest just retreated from that market. What are your hopes for getting into Newark, and expanding in New York metro?
Ted Christie: Well, New York’s the largest leisure destination in the United States. And then, given that we are a leisure-based carrier, we would love to get larger, because a lot of people want to go to New York, not just the people who live there wanting to go to places, other leisure destinations. And so, today we serve LaGuardia and we serve Newark. As you know, those airports have largely been slot restricted for the largest time. Newark opened that up in 2016, which is where we got our limited take-off and landings today. We’re always pursuing opportunities in metros like New York, where we think we could get access. It’s a struggle given the restrictions that exist.
Brian Kelly: So, what is your favorite Spirit destination?
Ted Christie: So, my favorite Spirit destination, it’s probably Denver. I lived there for a long time, and I still have family there. We’re an avid ski family. It’s the one leisure activity that we can all agree on. And so, we’re oftentimes in the mountain skiing. I definitely have to pick Denver.
Brian Kelly: What is the one thing that keeps you up at night as CEO of the airline?
Ted Christie: We have 20-plus thousand people supporting me every day that wear the yellow and black. They’re all about taking care of our guests, and running a safe, reliable airline. And that’s an area of comfort for me, that I feel like that’s true. But I always want to make sure that we’re executing well, that we have the tools and the strategies we need to execute. And I think that’s my 3 a.m. conversation with myself is, “Have I done the right things to set up the team to succeed?” I think we’re strategically well-positioned. So, it’s now about giving them the tools and the resources they need to get it done.
Brian Kelly: How do you take customer feedback and actually put it into action? And on that, if someone has a good or bad experience with Spirit, how do you recommend that they get that through so that someone with the position to make a change actually reads it?
Ted Christie: Well, we’re actively soliciting feedback from our guests. We survey everyone on board our plane. Once they get off the airplane, they’ll get a request to respond. And our response rates, we believe, are higher than most airlines, which tells us people want to tell us what they need, and what they want, and then we use that and translate that into action. So, a lot of the things that we’ve talked about today around investment in the guest, in the onboard experience, and all of that is learnings from people telling us exactly pinch points they may have had, or compliments that they found. And so, it’s an active solicitation of feedback. The good news is Spirit guests want to give us that feedback. And we’re actively changing the product.
Brian Kelly: Final question. It’s a very difficult one. Window or aisle seat?
Ted Christie: Oh, I’m aisle all the way, buddy.
Brian Kelly: Aisle all the way?
Ted Christie: Aisle all the way. Yeah.
Brian Kelly: All right. I’m a window guy, but I think we can just agree to disagree. Ted Christie, thank you so much for joining us, and good luck as you lead Spirit into a new and especially passenger-focused future. So, thanks for joining us.
Ted Christie: I appreciate the time. Thank you.
Brian Kelly: That’s it for this episode of Talking Points. I’m your host, Brian Kelly. And a huge thank you to Ted Christie, CEO of Spirit Airlines.
Brian Kelly: Thanks again to Ted Christie, CEO of Spirit Airlines, and his team on the ground in LA, and to the entire APEX Expo team, Dr. Joe Leader, the CEO of APEX, Robin Applebaum and her amazing team who tirelessly helped us on-site arrange all of these podcasts. Many thanks to the LACC and its staff for accommodating us, and my own team, Christie Matsui, Becca Denenberg, Ned Russell, Scott Mayerowitz, and my podcast crew, Margaret Kelley and Caroline Schagrin. I’m Brian Kelly, safe travels.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.