Wow: Spirit Airlines Hiring Pilots & Flight Attendants

Filed Under: Spirit

Spirit Airlines has just become the first major US airline to start hiring pilots & flight attendants once again since the start of the pandemic.

Spirit Airlines is hiring!

As reported by CNBC, ultra low cost carrier Spirit Airlines is once again hiring for several roles, including pilots and flight attendants:

  • Spirit plans to resume training courses for new pilots and flight attendants as early as March 2021
  • The airline last trained a new class of pilots in May 2020, and last trained a new class of flight attendants in February 2020

If you go to Spirit Airlines’ careers page you’ll see all of the available positions, including for first officers and flight attendants, primarily for the Fort Lauderdale base.

Spirit Airlines hopes to see demand recover significantly over summer. The airline can only train so many pilots and flight attendants at once, which is why hiring is starting now. This way training can happen in phases.

Spirit Airlines avoided involuntary furloughs of unionized employees during the pandemic, through a combination of reduced hours, voluntary leaves of absence, and voluntary early retirements.

In addition to hiring new employees, the airline is also calling back some of the workers who had taken leaves of absence.

Spirit Airlines’ very optimistic outlook

How exactly is Spirit Airlines in a position to hire, while at some other airlines only those with 20+ years of seniority are flying?

Well, Spirit Airlines has a much more optimistic outlook than other airlines, and perhaps for good reason. As we start to see demand recover, generally it’s leisure travel that’s going to recover first, and in particular domestic leisure travel. Spirit Airlines is very well positioned for that, given that the airline doesn’t rely on business travel.

However, perhaps the airline is overly confident — Spirit Airlines expects to be back at 2019 capacity levels by the summer. Of course it’s worth acknowledging that capacity levels are different than passenger numbers, but then again, the airline isn’t going to add capacity if planes are going to be empty.

And who knows, perhaps the airline isn’t too far off. People are no doubt excited to travel as we start to see widespread vaccines, though realistically I think the biggest leisure recovery will be more towards late summer rather than early summer.

Bottom line

Spirit Airlines is becoming the first major US airline to start hiring pilots and flight attendants since the start of the pandemic. This is in addition to calling back many workers who had taken leaves of absence.

This is an exciting development that points at things moving in the right direction in the industry. Spirit will likely have a faster recovery than the legacy airlines that rely on business travel and long haul international networks.

Perhaps the airline is still being a bit optimistic in planning on 2019 capacity by early summer. Sure, maybe the airline can offer that kind of capacity, but I’d argue it’s highly unlikely it can do so in a profitable way.

What do you make of Spirit’s optimistic outlook and hiring?

  1. Once
    1) A critical mass of people have been vaccinated and
    2) COVID cases start to come down

    Cities and states will start to relax whatever restrictions there are. This will be a signal for many travelers to start domestic travel again. This is going to happen sooner than you think – likely early to mid Spring. A lot of readers seem pessimistic regarding travel this year, but there will be a ton of domestic leisure travel in 2021

  2. I think we tend to be over optimistic on how quickly something new starts
    (Pretty much every project is late) but pessimistic once it starts, how quickly it can grow (think viral tech apps).

    So my hunch would be late summer/winter is when people start flying more for leisure, and as it picks up, it’ll be back to 2019 levels quicker than we imagine.

  3. Lucky, you should do a post on which credit cards someone should apply for if their focus is free or discounted *domestic US* travel in 2021/2022. Basically how can people get free flights (including economy flights when it makes sense), book nice hotels/other accommodation, get domestic lounge benefits, trip protection and insurance, etc. I guess the organizing principle is cards that give either cash/cash equivalent sign up bonuses and cards where the points, if redeemed for domestic travel, don’t seem like a huge opportunity cost. Some suggestions

    Capital One Venture
    Any of the Hilton cards
    Chase Southwest
    Chase Sapphire Preferred / Reserve (if people are comfortable booking through the portal)
    I was going to say the Delta cards, but the bonuses are super low right now

  4. Its no surprise really…Spirits numbers are way up. There is no longer a point to flying the 3 major carriers. Status means nothing, service is reduced, FAs are rude beyond belief. Spirit and Frontier now offer the same service as American and United but at a fraction of the cost. If your going to get treated like crap no matter what you mine as well save some money.

  5. I could land an a319 if I had to. ATC could talk me through it. That’s why there’s no need for two pilots. One pilot on a domestic short haul is more than enough.

  6. I would guess Spirit has a pretty high turnover rate. Being an FA with them sounds like an exercise in torture (and I’m talking about dealing with their customers)

  7. I’m more surprised Spirit doesn’t have any job postings for airport and in-flight bouncers…

    Or just add advanced combat skills to their FA training course.

    It’s clearly needed at NK.

  8. @David Knock it off. Plenty of Spirit customers are black people. Look up YouTube videos. It isn’t just white people.

  9. @Jackson – more true for Spirit than Frontier. You can get a domestic first class seat for $40 on Spirit (none of the extras, but I’m content with just the hard product, honestly). It’s not a bad deal.

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