No-frills Spirit Airlines hawking canned wine

Sometimes accused of serving its bottom line better than its passengers, the carrier has a new cost-saving venture.

By Bruce Kennedy Jun 7, 2013 6:20AM

File photo of a Spirit Airlines Airbus A319 aircraft arriving at Denver International Airport on May 3, 2012 (C) Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)Maybe it's the executives at Florida-based Spirit Airlines (SAVE) who need a drink or two. After all, the latest edition of Consumer Reports gave the carrier the lowest overall scores for any company ever rated by the magazine. Spirit also made Business Insider's list of the 20 Worst Airlines in the World.

Either way, the no-frills airline -- which has a hefty list of additional fees for almost everything brought on board or stowed away and a strict no-refund policy -- is making news with its latest passenger perk: wine in a can. The drinks are priced to move, at $7 for one can or $12 for two.

Spirit's public relations folks say the low-alcohol (6%) wine beverages served in aluminum cans and a variety of fruit flavors will bring "a fusion of European style and thinking to the States (while) encouraging Americans to think outside the bottle."

Fair enough, although many Europeans probably prefer their beloved beverage without a metallic finish. According to The Associated Press, Spirit prefers cans to bottles because they're easier to store on planes -- and relatively lighter, which also saves on fuel costs.

And it's the bottom line that appears to matter most to Spirit's top management. Investor's Business Daily reports that, since its 2011 IPO, the airline's shares have climbed steadily -- with 2013 first-quarter revenues up by nearly 23% compared to 2012.

"We're No. 1 in margin performance for our investors," Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza said last month during an interview on CBS This Morning. "We're growing faster than any other airline in the U.S., so we're employing more people. We're the lowest fare in the industry. So we're No. 1 in the things that matter most to our employees, our customers and our shareholders."

And as for serving wine in cans, "people adapt," Baldanza told AP. "Your choices at 30,000 feet are pretty limited."

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Jun 7, 2013 10:33AM
I prefer mine out of a box, thank you very much!
Jun 7, 2013 10:15AM

"Your choices at 30,000 feet are pretty limited."


Perhaps, but the choices for GETTING to 30,000 ft are pretty wide open. Greyhound is cheaper than Amtrak, but I won't ride them, either. Unlike lawmakers, there are still some things I won't do, even for money.

Jun 7, 2013 10:54AM
You know what? You worry about being "number one in margin performance for our investors", I'll fly with an airline that is interested in its passengers.
Jun 7, 2013 10:14AM
they charge $50 for a carry on, how do they stay in business?
Jun 7, 2013 11:01AM
Also you can't break a can and threaten to kill someone with it.
Jun 7, 2013 10:58AM
Jun 7, 2013 10:25AM
I do believe wine is acidic so as apposed to beer in an aluminum can may have quite an adverse effect on the taste ???
Jun 7, 2013 11:45AM
no thank you i'll fly with a real airline not spirit
Jun 7, 2013 10:45AM
I met a gent who flew down to Costa Rica from the States on Spirit Airlines. He loved the cheap flights and not paying for services he did not need. It's still about half price of the other airlines to Chicago from San Jose, including one suitcase. Next time I come back to the U.S. I'll fly Spirit, as I like the price and they can't be worse than Delta and American who have always made it "the trip from hell."
Jun 7, 2013 10:33AM
I want an empty for my billiard room collection.
Jun 7, 2013 10:26AM

we had a "company" that advertised on our local radio station 30 years ago called 'hiney wine.' it 'sold' it's fine sowega berry wine in 12, 16 & 24 ounce pop-top cans.


one of it's ads asked "how do you pull a prank on a polar bear?"

the answer was that you cut a hole in the ice, float a can of hiney wine in the water. when the bear comes to investigate, you kick it in the ice hole!

Jun 7, 2013 11:58AM
Anything to make some money, i don't see how wine could be that good from a can.
Jun 7, 2013 1:16PM

For the wine connoisseurs:  Will the flight attendant let us sniff the zip-top and taste the wine before pouring in a plastic cup?

Jun 7, 2013 11:16AM
Fly in a can, drink wine out of a can, the life of luxury has arrived. Actually, come to think of it, the Spirit livery would be better served as a logo for an alcoholic beverage.
Jun 7, 2013 1:18PM
It's time to reregulate air travel, so that airlines are forced to build market share  through customer service, like it used to be.  Under regulation, air travel became affordable, passengers had a relatively pleasant experience, and most of the airlines were profitable.
Jun 7, 2013 1:11PM
There is one thing many people seem to ignore, and that is our ability to choose another airline based on amenities.  This is almost never done anymore, though.  We have the habit now of punching in our destination online and choosing the cheapest fair.  We then complain about the service.  It's like checking into a Best Value Motel and complaning about the lack of room service.  You get what you pay for.  If you want more, there are other options, but they do cost more money.
Jun 7, 2013 12:42PM

I don't drink or eat on the planes, I so I guess I don't care.   But in general I avoid flying these days because of all the extra fees etc (just tired of paying several times related to the same flight) , and mostly because of the cattle car seating. 


I am not against airlines making money, in fact I wish they would decrease seat counts by 10 %, and increase rates by 20 %. The companies could be profitable, employees make decent money, and reduce our flying around for marginal  reasons. Parents....keep those kids off the flights, keep them home till they are older. 

Jun 7, 2013 1:06PM
It's transportation. I don't choose a ride because of its wine list. They book a space and you pay for it. If you don't show, it's still your seat. 

There should be a way to resell the ticket if one is needed on that flight, but other than that, I believe you own the seat when you buy the ticket. ... or two tickets if you can't sit in one seat.
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