The Spirit Airlines A320 fleet is now fully fitted with in-flight WiFi*. On Monday morning N952NK ferried from Orlando to Melbourne, Florida to have the systems installed. It is the 116th of the A320s (NEO and CEO models) to receive the kit. And, more importantly for passengers and for the airline, it is the final A320 aircraft awaiting the install.
With both the A321 and now the A320 fleets completed, Spirit’s fleet can deliver in-flight internet service on more than 82% of its departures and 87% of its available seat miles, per Cirium schedule data.
With so many of its planes now fitted, odds that the carrier transitions from the “initial, limited Wi-Fi testing” announced a year ago to a production offering also increase. For some months now Spirit marked A321 flights with a WiFi logo on flight search results. That indicator does not appear for A320 aircraft yet, but expect that it will show up soon.
What that transition means, however, remains unclear.
Spirit Airlines WiFi: a long time coming
The carrier announced plans to install wifi in May 2018, with Thales Inflyt providing the integration services on HughesNet’s Jupiter Ka-band satellites. At the time it hoped to be active fleet-wide by Summer 2019.
Spirit also indicated at the time that it had a better approach for selling in-flight WiFi, one that would have more passengers happy to pay up. Part of that comes in the form of offering a service that works well and is reasonably priced. All indications are that the company has met that target thus far in the deployment (after overcoming a series of issues, mostly related to the legacy antenna system, which derailed the program timeline). Eventually the companies switched to the ThinKom ThinAir Ka2517 solution to address the antenna problems.
Read More: Operating in a partnership Spirit
But Spirit also anticipated a better marketing strategy to further aid the sales efforts. Plans included a strong push during the flight booking process, just like all the other ancillary sales options on offer. But until it could be certain the service would be on offer, selling it in advance was a risky proposition.
With all the A320 and A321 aircraft now fitted the risk diminishes drastically. Odds of an A319 swapping in for either of those types are very low.
That could also, however, mean that the price goes up. After all, Spirit is not shy about extracting the maximum it can from passengers via ancillary sales options. That would be a small drawback, particularly given the current pricing has been flying for a year and customers are starting to get used to it. Even if the certainty of having the service on board delivers a nice win for consumers.
*Technically it’ll be the end of the week as the actual install takes time. But a passenger can’t board an A320 now that doesn’t have the kit, so that’s good enough for me.
More on Spirit’s path to WiFi:
- Spirit Airlines WiFi goes live*
- Spirit commits to inflight wifi
- PaxEx Premium: Spirit’s wifi installs begin
- PaxEx Premium: Does Spirit have a secret for selling wifi?
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