July 11, 2014 at 2:48 PM ET
Hate how you’re treated by airlines?
Many travelers have horror stories to share or an airline they especially love to hate.
Low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines, one of the most complained-about airlines in the industry, is trying to harness that hate (and generate publicity) with a campaign inviting travelers to vent about any airline, including Spirit, in up to 140 characters.
"We want to change the way people think about air travel and educate them about the Spirit way of traveling," said Ben Baldanza, Spirit's CEO, in a statement. "We're going to Hug The Haters."
Each “venter” who participates in Spirit's Hate Thousand Miles Giveaway will receive 8,000 of the airline's frequent-flier miles, which is about 2,000 miles short of a free flight. They must have or sign up for a Spirit Airlines mileage account. Travelers who have the airline’s credit card can use those miles toward several free flights. The promotion will end once the airline gives away one billion miles.
So far, the promotion has received mixed reaction from fliers.
“So far, there’s been a lot of venting about delays, weather and all the problems you’d have on almost any airline,” said Paul Berry, Spirit Airlines spokesman.
Spirit Airlines is known for its a-la-carte, unbundled menu of charging fees for everything from pre-assigned seats to printing out a boarding pass at the airport. The airline has also come under criticism for some of its offbeat and, at times, off-color advertisements playing on scandals in the news.
Right now there’s a crop circle in a field next to Kansas City International Airport in the shape of a man covering his privates. No Spirit Airlines logo is present in the crop circle, but there are “Bare Fare” billboards up around the airport.
“The crop circle was created to promote our totally stripped down Bare Fares and the fact that we’ll be starting service to and from Kansas City in August,” said Berry.
While the figure in the crop circle has no clothes, he does appear to have a suitcase of some sort beside him. And unless that carry-on will fit under the seat, Spirit Airlines could charge crop circle guy up to $100 to check his bag.