High-Flying Wi-Fi Coming to Budget-Friendly Spirit Airlines

Budget airlines have their detractors and defenders in pretty much equal intensity. Sometimes that competition means customers get more bang for their buck. That's the case with Spirit Airlines, which just announced it will start offering Wi-Fi in every plane by next summer.

A la carte add-ons is one way discount airfare makes its cheap tickets possible. Spirit is taking a surprisingly sensible approach to offering internet access on flights. The opt-in Wi-Fi will be available in tiers, each price depending on how much data you anticipate using. It's one thing if you just want to browse Twitter until you touch down, but streaming high-resolution video will cost a little bit more.

That's why the average price for Wi-Fi will start around $6.50 per flight. According to Spirit's website Invest in the Guest, you should start seeing the offering in November. "Guests should be able to surf with a similar performance level they would expect at home," the website says. And for its really price-conscious consumers, the airline says that any flier who doesn't pay for the option isn't somehow subsidizing those who do — the only people paying for the Wi-Fi are the people paying for the Wi-Fi.

It's a big PR push for a company that's had some customer service stumbles. Ted Christie, Spirit's president, just came onboard in January, and insists that things are looking up. The Wi-Fi is "just one component of an overall promise we are making to our guests," he told Business Insider, "which is that we will continue to invest in our product to make it better all the time."