Spirit Airlines, the ultra-low-cost carrier from Florida, has reported some of the biggest profit margins of any airline in the country because of its practice of charging passenger fees for a long menu of basic services.
But the airline also has had the highest rate of complaints by passengers for problems such as canceled flights, delayed departures and poor customer service.
The airline acknowledges it needs to address its damaged reputation and has turned to a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Co. for help.
In a message to employees this week, Spirit Airlines President and Chief Executive Bob Fornaro said the airline has partnered with the Disney Institute to "create a common purpose and a fresh set of service standards."
The Disney Institute is a Florida-based company that offers business courses to improve leadership, employee culture and customer service. On the institute's website, the company cites its work with Haagen-Dazs International, the National Football League, Volvo and the Orlando Magic basketball team.
Fornaro said the airline's flight crews have been through training with the Disney Institute, and the carrier plans to do the same with its airport staff.
In his note to employees, Fornaro said guest satisfaction scores at the airline already have "reached an all-time record high."
But the most recent data from the Department of Transportation shows that Spirit in September continued to receive the highest rate of customer complaints — 6.41 for every 100,000 passengers — more than twice the rate of any other carrier.
Neither Spirit nor the Disney Institute responded to requests for comment.