Who loses if JetBlue buys Spirit? Comedians – What We Know!

Vacationers examine in for a Spirit Airways flight at Orlando Worldwide Airport on the Friday earlier than Memorial Day.

Paul Hennessy | Lightrocket | Getty Photos

JetBlue‘s shock $3.6 billion money bid for Spirit is threatening the latter’s plan to merge with Frontier into a reduction airline behemoth. It’s additionally threatening considered one of comedians’ favourite sources of fabric.

“It’s form of a bummer for me. If there’s no Spirit anymore who’re we going to make enjoyable of?” Jimmy Kimmel quipped Wednesday in his “Jimmy Kimmel Dwell!” monologue. “Look out, Allegiant. You’re on deck.”

New York-based JetBlue needs to soak up Florida-headquartered Spirit and alter Spirit’s bright-yellow planes, which characteristic seats that don’t recline, to match JetBlue’s jets, which provide roomier seating, seatback screens and free snacks.

Spirit’s rock-bottom airfare and charges for every part together with seat choice and carry-on baggage have offered comedians with years of fodder and develop into a go-to reference for the indignities of air journey. Main airways have taken a cue from discounters with primary economic system fares, which don’t embody advance seat choice and drive passengers to board final.

Spirit accounted for slightly below 5% of passengers carried by U.S. airways final 12 months. But it was talked about 40 instances on late-night speak reveals in 2021, representing 20% of whole airline mentions on these applications, in keeping with an evaluation performed for the airline, which was seen by CNBC.

Kimmel stated Wednesday that JetBlue needs to purchase Spirit for $3.6 billion “plus $55 additional for carry-on baggage.”

“Tonight Present” host Jimmy Fallon additionally cited JetBlue’s supply in Wednesday monologue. “Proper now Spirit is like, ‘Guys, we higher open a checking account. I feel it’s time.’”

‘You need to have thick pores and skin’

No airline has gone unscathed from late-night reveals’ highlight. Spirit’s evaluation confirmed American had 77 mentions final 12 months, whereas Southwest had 50 and Delta had 34. There are additionally numerous standup clips and memes poking enjoyable at airways and air journey.

“Each airline has a narrative sooner or later that turns into a joke on some present,” stated Ross Feinstein, a former spokesperson for American Airways and for the Transportation Safety Administration. “You need to have thick pores and skin to work within the airline business.”

After studies {that a} man was kicked off a JetBlue flight for making an attempt to convey a possum on board in late 2019, co-host of “Saturday Night time Dwell” star Colin Jost stated on the “Weekend Replace” section: “whereas at Spirit Airways that’s what falls down whenever you want an oxygen masks.”

Spirit stated that “opposite to the late-night narrative our airline is targeted on offering Visitors with a superb expertise, with inexpensive fares that enable them to enterprise additional and uncover greater than ever earlier than.”

It stated it has reached out to reveals earlier than and hasn’t had any luck with a response.

Spirit stated it understood airways are a goal “as a result of the air-travel-related jokes persistently get laughs” and added: “We promise possums by no means popped out of the bulkhead.”

Spirit has made strides in bettering punctuality in recent times and got here in sixth amongst U.S. airways final 12 months, above JetBlue’s ninth place, in keeping with Transportation Division knowledge. The speed of complaints additionally fell within the years earlier than the pandemic. It enrolled employees on the Disney Institute to enhance customer support.

In 2019, Spirit unveiled new curved seats that it says have been designed to offer passengers extra private house, however nonetheless didn’t escape ridicule from late-night hosts.

“Congratulations, Spirit. We diss them lots on the present, however it is a huge enchancment over their previous seats, which have been only a soiled sofa they discovered on the road,” stated Trevor Noah on a December 2019 episode of “The Every day Present.”

Representatives for Kimmel, Fallon, Noah and “Saturday Night time Dwell” didn’t instantly reply for remark.

Pandemic issues

The pandemic hasn’t been straightforward. Staffing shortages and technical issues compelled Spirit to cancel greater than 2,800 flights in late July and early August 2021, a debacle that value it some $50 million. American Airways and Southwest Airways confronted comparable points within the fall.

The issues drove up passenger complaints about Spirit to the Transportation Division to 11.45 per 100,000 passengers, the many of the U.S. airways, whereas DOT logged 6.38 about JetBlue and 5.78 about Frontier.

Spirit stated it’s evaluating JetBlue’s “unsolicited” supply. A deal, similar to the deliberate merger of Frontier and Spirit, must cross muster with regulators at a time when President Joe Biden has tasked his administration with scrutinizing competitors. Frontier and Spirit earlier this 12 months stated they haven’t determined which airline’s branding would final.

That also hasn’t stopped comedians from taking digs at Spirit.

JetBlue has “an actual toilet as an alternative of a bucket that everybody is passing round,” Kimmel stated Wednesday.

Spirit informed CNBC that it welcomes any late-night hosts and their households to fly the airline.

“The Roots may even be inclined to put in writing a love track about us after they fly Spirit!” the airline wrote, referring to the home band for “The Tonight Present.”

Disclosure: Comcast is the guardian firm of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal airs “The Tonight Present with Jimmy Fallon” and “Saturday Night time Dwell.”