(MIRAMAR, FLORIDA) – Gasping for breath in a midst of excitement, as if he needed oxygen himself, Brent Rogers of Spirit Airlines cheered and shouted in the crowded boardroom on Friday, celebrating what analysts call one of the ‘biggest achievements in the aviation industry since the jet engine’: every passenger on a full flight from Fort Lauderdale to Atlantic City purchased the company’s $1.99 ‘Oxygen Option’.
“We are a no frills airline,” Rogers said. “We don’t do anything that’s not required. All you get is the flight. You want pretzels? We aren’t that airline. You want a seat? There’s an option for that, but it’s not included. Seat-belts are a fine luxury item, but here on Spirit, we see it as an option not everyone would like to embrace,” he continued.
“Many of our customers are extremely cautious about saving money, and so some of the more expensive options we offer are very rarely added to a customers ticket. One of these, for example, is the oxygen option, which is $1.99, which is almost as much as a full ticket from Los Angeles to Boston,” he explained.
In the past few months, many investors have told the airline that it would be wise to do away with the option, which allows passengers to stay conscious while the aircraft climbs higher than 10,000 feet. Many prominent shareholders explained why.
“It’s not even a matter of expense, but also a matter of practicality,” said Andy Burgess, a self-proclaimed angel investor from Oakland, California. “A lot of these passengers just see oxygen as not only a total waste of money, but a total inconvenience. Why would I spend $1.99 to stay conscious during a Spirit Airlines flight, when I could just save my money, and remain completely unable to remember my experience? So the logic concerned with the customers decision-making process with respect to the expense is completely flawed.”
However, Burgess and others were proved wrong on Friday, when over 340 passengers (they’re able to get that many on an Airbus A319 by using an impressive 2″ legroom margin) purchased the oxygen option.
“It really took us by surprise,” said flight attendant Mary Buckner. “I mean, we did over $600 in revenue from oxygen sales alone on this flight. Now, I don’t work in finance, but I was told that will result in one of the biggest profits this airline has ever generated over a year period. And to be on that flight? It was an honor. Just a total honor.”
With passengers fully conscious, alert, and breathing during the two hour and five minute flight, Spirit took the opportunity to also up-sell other comforts and amenities.
“We sold almost 10 or 15 overhead lights, and something like 20 window shades,” said another flight attendant. “It was by far, the busiest flight I’ve ever worked. The lavatories got so busy, we actually began accepting not only Venmo and Paypal, but Bitcoin as well,” she explained. Spirit Airlines typically charges between 49 cents and $4.95 per trip to the aircraft lavatories, depending on demand pricing.
As airlines continue to compete in a growing ‘ultra-low-cost-carrier’ market, it appears that Spirit has done something right.
“We hope to keep this up,” said Rogers. “Next month, we’ll be releasing yet another family-friendly low cost option. I don’t want to spill the beans just yet, but let’s just say we’ve found out that after doing market and aerodynamic research, we have concluded that the airplane can still fly fine with up to 25 people strapped to the outside of it.”