Spirit US-based carrier Spirit Airlines is debuting Whatsapp communication for flight reservations, booking modifications, and basic questions in English and Spanish, for $25.
Starting September 1, the Florida-headquartered airline will initiate a service to allow customers to chat with representatives from the company, according to the Washington Post. Queries will first be received by a chatbox capable of providing basic information, and as the conversation progress, a Spirit agent can take over, reported CNBC. To complete bookings, guests will be sent an external link via Whatsapp.
The ultra-low-cost carrier, which recently landed in hot water after a bat was found lodged in an overhead bin, said there is a $25 charge associated with new bookings or modifications of old ones made through Whatsapp, which is similar to what it would cost if done on the phone. It added that booking fees waived for online reservations.
The move provides more accessible options to customers for booking flights, with the upside being that customers do not have to wait on hold to get through to an agent and asking questions about travel is free.
“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 Bobby Schroeter, Spirit’s vice president of sales and marketing, in a press release. “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.”
Due to its extremely low fares, Spirit is notorious for putting additional fees for basic facilities like ordering water, selecting a seat, carrying a bag, or even checking in with a human agent. This explains why the airline was the lowest-ranking in terms of passenger satisfaction, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index.
But the carrier boasts making strides in the industry, a claim corroborated by an ‘airline scorecard’ by the Wall Street Journal, which listed Spirit among the top American airlines based on overall performance, which included delays, cancellations, complaints and mishandled baggage data. It ranked four out of eight airlines, a significant improvement after its near-to-bottom placement years ago.
Spirit’s foray into this customer service model is the latest in a series of trends among air carriers to connect more directly with their customers. In June, Delta Air Lines began testing a text messaging feature for Apple devices. A United Airlines spokeswoman told CNBC that it was considering a chat platform too.