Looking for WiFi on a Spirit Airlines flight? Depending on which aircraft type you’re on, the odds of fast, inexpensive connectivity on board could be surprisingly high.
Back in May 2021 the company activated what a spokesman described as “initial, limited Wi-Fi testing on a number of our A321 aircraft.” Since then, however, the company has been aggressively installing the hardware, hoping for a formal launch before the end of 2021. While timing on that transition remains unclear, the company is right around the half-way point for fleet fitting, depending on how one measures.
The full A321 fleet completed its retrofit. Passengers on the type should be guaranteed a connected plane at this point. For the A320ceo planes (Spirit just calls them A320), the work is more than 80% complete. No guarantee at that level, but the odds are highly in favor of customers finding WiFi available on board. Given the current installation pace the last dozen planes should wrap up right around Thanksgiving.
Installation on the A320neo and A319 fleets has not yet started, even as new deliveries of the A320neo ramp up (11 so far of 16 planned for this year). Presumably those will begin as the A320ceo complete, just like the A320ceo followed the A321s.
With 81 of 168 planes installed or in process, the fleet is just under 50% of the way completed. Based on Monday’s scheduled departures 48% of the carrier’s flights should have the WiFi gear available.
But, because the carrier equipped its largest planes first, it can now offer connectivity on more than half of the available seat miles. That is an impressive milestone to reach, albeit much later than anyone involved in the deal hoped it would happen.
Spirit 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.
Read More: Operating in a partnership Spirit
The antenna issues resolved as the company shifted to the Thinkom Ka2517 solution, allowing for installations to pick up pace.
Still unclear from the company is when it will make the transition out of the limited testing phase into production service.
Almost since the initial announcement of plans to install the system Spirit suggested it would wait to have at least a full subfleet configured to reduce the risk of aircraft swaps impacting a customer who purchased WiFi in a bundle during the booking process. With two fleets nearing that point it might finally be time for the sales approach to change.
Or not. Passengers on one of the 43-strong and growing fleet of A320neos, for example, might be confused if they still get promo pricing on board because the type isn’t fully fitted while A320ceo and A321 passengers are expected to pay more.
There’s also the option where, in a move that might truly be customer-friendly, Spirit could simply keep the lower priced plans in place longer term. A guy can dream, right??
Some Spirit Airlines WiFi history:
- Spirit commits to inflight wifi
- Spirit’s WiFi Install Woes
- Antenna woes derail Spirit’s WiFi installation efforts
- Spirit Airlines WiFi goes live*
A favor to ask while you're here...
Did you enjoy the content? Or learn something useful? Or generally just think this is the type of story you'd like to see more of? Consider supporting the site through a donation (any amount helps). It helps keep me independent and avoiding the credit card schlock.