In an announcement last week, budget carrier Spirit Airlines stated that it plans to install Wi-Fi across its entire fleet by the summer of 2019. Spirit will partner with the Thales Group, a French-based leader in aerospace technology. The Ka-band HTS satellite system that Spirit plans to install should “bring Spirit Guests high-speed web browsing and streaming experiences similar to what they would find at home.” claims the airline.
The First Ultra-Low-Cost Carrier in America to Offer Wi-Fi
This move will make Spirit Airlines the first ultra-low-cost carrier in the Americas to offer Wi-Fi onboard. So how much is the fee-happy airline going to charge for the service? It depends. Spirit claims the streaming options will start with an average price of $6.50. However, based on the route and demand prices will fluctuate, according to the airline. So, flyers can probably expect to pay more on that Chicago to Las Vegas flight rather than a Myrtle Beach to Niagara Falls fare.
The rollout is slated to take place later this year, and while many travelers find it easy to complain about Spirit and it’s pricing practices, this is an overall positive move for its customers. Installing Wi-Fi fleet-wide is a costly endeavor, and whether you plan on using it or not, offering the option for flyers is a benefit that will set the airline apart from its main ULCC competitor Frontier. I hope that the price tag of this installation doesn't mean that the airline will find another way to repackage or invent more fees to finance the cost elsewhere.
If you plan on using Spirit's new Wi-Fi offering later this year, don't forget to top up your electronic devices, as the airline doesn't offer power points at its seats. You'd hate to shell out money to surf the web only to have your iPad die halfway into a streaming movie.