Spirit Airlines gets naughty with $69 fares

Katia Hetter, CNNUpdated 17th March 2015
Some say Spirit's latest fare promotion has pushed the limits of good taste.
(CNN) — Spirit Airlines has a new fare deal and is announcing it with sex jokes.
The low-cost carrier just acquired its 69th plane and is celebrating with $69 round-trip fares in April and May that include taxes and fees -- although additional baggage charges may apply. Round-trip purchase is not required, so you could actually pay $34.50 for a one-way flight.
But the airline is getting more attention for its cheeky ad copy, which obliquely references a sexual act.
"We've been waiting to hit 69 planes for years," reads the offer on Spirit's website.
"It's our favorite number -- ever since we were twelve and found that magazine under our brother's bed (the one with the fantastic articles). Use your mouth to spread the word: Spirit is in an even better position to get you where you're going."
Some observers say the promotion is sophomoric and has crossed the limits of good taste.
"You can't object to that price point, but you certainly can object to the discount airline's marketing strategy, which is so juvenile it led us to wonder if Spirit's website was hacked," wrote Aaron Rupar of KMSP in Minneapolis.
Spirit spokesman Paul Berry, in a prepared statement, said the promotion reflects the airline's quirky culture.
"Spirit isn't your typical airline and we don't want to be. We enjoy being different than other airlines," said Berry, Spirit's director of corporate communications.
"When it comes to advertising, different means we don't spend a lot of money on advertising -- because that just increases fares. But we're also different because our ads are fun, provocative, sometimes silly and often irreverent. They get lots of attention," he added.
"The vast majority of our customers find these types of ads humorous and accept them for what they are. We understand there is a small group of people who feel differently."
The $69 fares must be booked by the end of the day Tuesday. Questionable taste or not, the promotion may be working: People were complaining on Twitter that they couldn't access Spirit's website to book flights.
Based in Florida, Spirit Airlines is famous for charging fees for almost everything it possibly can. The airline's defense is simple: Pay for what you want on your flight, and don't pay for what you don't want.