Nov 21, 2020

Does budget have to be bad?

By Caroline Schneider

Too many airlines miss the mark on demonstrating the value of price and convenience, especially when it comes to their digital experiences. How many times have you struggled to find clear information about your experience on the airline’s website or app? Or worse, have the information you deciphered on the airline’s website be manipulated as soon as you’re boarding your flight (like added cost of a checked bag)?  

The entire digital travel and airline experience is ripe for disruption, so we dug our teeth into an an airline brand — Spirit Airlines — that has a poor reputation, but the foundation to evolve into a reliable, sought after brand. 

Our team is fascinated by Spirit Airline because they have built their brand around conveniently priced air travel, but their digital experience does not align with that brand promise. So we did it for them. 

Focus on understanding the Spirit customer

We started with the most glaring issue — focus on understanding the Spirit customer; their wants, needs, and experiences, along the Spirit customer journey. But first, just to make sure our insight had legitimacy, we became the Spirit customer. 

A few members of our design team traveled from Oakland International Airport to Las Vegas and back booking through multiple of Spirit’s digital channels (desktop, mobile) and using a variety of available resources (phone, kiosk, laptop). We conducted a complete audit of the entire journey assessing what worked, what didn’t, talking to real Spirit customers and Spirit employees, and ultimately compiled all of our learnings and insights into a printed book, which we’ve since delivered to Spirit.

Traveling on a budget shouldn’t mean sacrificing a quality experience.

Our biggest takeaway? Context, clarity, and consistency could shift the perception of Spirit from ‘hidden costs’ to ‘customizing my trip’. With the experiments we built, we’ve repositioned Spirit to invest in their guests and capitalize on a ‘choose-what-you-pay-for’ on-demand revolution. 

Our research revealed a key insight: Saving money while traveling shouldn’t mean sacrificing a quality experience. Knowing exactly what you’re getting leads to satisfied customers, not disgruntled ones. And right now, Spirit often gets into trouble for hiding fees, inconsistent messaging, hard to find details, and it’s all rooted in a poorly designed, poorly built mobile app and website. 

In response, our nimble team of product designers exited that flight and built a variety of new and improved features for Spirit’s digital experience. 

Set Your Budget

Have $300 burning a hole in your pocket? Set your budget and see where you can go! YML created an experience with frequent flyers in mind. Appealing to a younger generation (possibly a broker generation) because being on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t see the world.

One Tap Check-In

We know you, and your travel preferences. Check in with one tap.

Check In SMS

We created a delightful and proactive experience that engages with the customer exactly when they might need it.

Choose what you pay for

We helped Spirit invest in their guests and capitalize on a ‘choose-what-you-pay-for’ on-demand revolution, shifting the perception of Spirit from ‘hidden costs’ to ‘customizing my trip’.  

Order for your phone

Mobile ordering right from your seat via seat-back QR code.

Upgrade through text messages

Upgrade your seats through Rich Communication Services messaging (Android) or Apple Business Chat (iOS).

What did we do?

  • UI/UX Design

  • UX Strategy

  • Research

  • Animation

  • Became the Spirit customer, flying OAK → Vegas Roundtrip