Spirit Airlines is joining the WiFi age in the air, the first ultra-low-cost carrier to do so, but it's not following the growing trend toward free or cheap service. But then, charging for everything is the business model for the ULCCs.
Spirit says it's now completed installation on all of its A320s and A321s, and is turning on two tiers of service, one starting at $2.99 per flight for browsing and texting, and a faster one at $5.99 and up that allows speed for streaming. Cost will depend on flight length and can go up to $15-16 on longer flights. Service is provided by French company Thales.
For now, the price is the same whether purchased at booking, on the Spirit app or inflight, but there will likely be a future discount for advance purchase, similar to the cheaper prices for baggage booked early.
There will be a few exceptions to WiFi, at least for now. Spirit has 31 smaller, older A319s that it hasn't decided whether to keep or retire, so no WiFi yet, and the company's newest planes are being put into service so fast to meet demand that some will have their WiFi installed later.