Spirit said this would make it the first ultra-low-cost carrier in the Americas to offer onboard Wi-Fi. Fellow ultra-low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines does not offer Wi-Fi, which it includes on its website as one of the reasons it is able to “keep fares so low.”
In addition to standing out among low-cost airlines, this initiative is an attempt to catch up to large full-service airlines that already offer onboard internet service. Competitor JetBlue, which like Spirit, has a robust service to popular warm-weather vacation destinations, offers free Wi-Fi.
Meanwhile, large airlines like American and United have taken a page from the ultra-low-cost airline playbook. Last year, they rolled out basic economy fares: generally the lowest coach-class fare but one that doesn’t include perks that used to be free, like advanced seat assignments, upgrade potential and access to overhead bins.
Spirit is working with Thales Group to bring high-speed Wi-Fi on board. The airline said that by 2021, speeds will be faster when it will be using a new satellite built by Thales Alenia Space.
Travelers will pay an average of $6.50 to use the service on board, but prices could vary based on route and demand, Spirit said.