Spirit Airlines To Offer Flight Bookings Via WhatsApp

Customers of Spirit Airlines will soon be able to enquire about booking a flight via WhatsApp. The US-based airline is set to launch the initiative from next month.
Spirit Airlines Airbus A320-200
Spirit are set to add convenience to their customer experience with its new feature. Photo: Sunnya343 via Wikimedia Commons

The Points Guy reports that from 1st September, customers will be able to use WhatsApp to ask precise questions about their flight. Reservations and modifications will be able to be made in both English and Spanish languages.

Added convenience

The text-based enquiry will initially be responded to by a chatbot. Here, customers can ask basic questions before a Spirit representative will take over. To wrap up the reservation, the agent will send over an external link through the app.
To take advantage of the process, passengers will have to reside in the US, Caribbean or Latin America. The cost of using the bulk of this service for enquiries will be free. The complimentary offerings including able to add bags, select seats assignments, and receive instant flight information or assistance. To make new reservations or to change an existing itinerary, there will be a $25 charge.

Critical experiences

Some customers have been criticising the lack of positive customer service from the low-cost airline. Over the summer, there have been several negative incidents involving Spirit flights.
There were reports that passenger onboard a Spirit Airlines flight had been forced to move seats as to accommodate an apparently racist request. A passenger reportedly refused to be seated next to another because of their skin color and demanded the airline move the original passenger elsewhere, to which the airline complied.
Spirit Airbus A320
Spirit will hope to respond positively to criticisms of their customer service. Photo: Tpdwkouaa via Wikimedia Commons
A few weeks later, a Spirit passenger was hospitalized following an inflight fume incident. The A320 traveling between Seattle and Las Vegas last Tuesday had unusual fumes enter the cabin. Eyewitnesses said that a smell of ‘wet, dirty socks’ filled the aircraft. Then, this month, a bat got locked in a Spirit restroom during a two-hour flight.
Despite these incidents, Spirit still succeeds as one of the most popular low-cost airlines in the US. The cost to convenience balance is something that customers consider when choosing the carrier.

Improving customer service

The initiative itself could actually be cost-effective. This is because it is not dissimilar to what many airlines charge for phone support, and this comes with the added convenience of not waiting on hold to speak to another person. American and United both charge standard customers between $25 to $35 to make reservations on the phone.
A Spirit representative informed us of an added, valuable benefit to the initiative. Spirit agents will offer guests using the app a link to book online for free prior to the reservation and $25 charge.
The technology will be powered by global conversational commerce solutions provider LivePerson. Spirit’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing Bobby Schroeter is excited about the new prospect.
Spirit's new WhatsApp feature
A preview of how the new feature will work. Photo courtesy of Spirit Airlines.
“We launched this service to better connect with our Guests, both domestically and abroad. As many have told us that they would rather communicate on a familiar and convenient service like WhatsApp,” said Schroeter.
“We know WhatsApp is incredibly popular in the United States, but also in the more than two dozen destinations we serve in the Caribbean and Latin America.
“From travel updates to adding a bag to your reservation, this new messaging service allows Guests to communicate with us in English and Spanish and to opt in to WhatsApp messaging. It is all part of our goal to elevate and improve our Guest experience.”
We are looking forward to the direction that the airline is taking with new technologies. The feature shows Spirit’s intent on improving customer service heading into the next decade.

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0504Traveller

While I applaud Spirit in finding new ways to reach out to their customers and help them – especially when there are issues – I would have to say that in my opinion Spirit needs to focus on improving its app and other technology before investing in a new technology. I have flown Spirit domestically a couple of times and recently just flew them both domestic and internationally (check out the review on my blog – 0504.blogspot.com) and previously I couldn’t use the app at all. Now, I can use the app to monitor flights but its hard to check-in… Read more »