More than a million hopeful travelers jammed Spirit Airlines` phones and website Wednesday, hoping to secure one of the 13,400 free seats offered on 90 flights on September 11, 2002. Spirit, the largest privately-held airline in the United States, announced the offer on Tuesday evening and opened reservation lines at 8:00 a.m. Wednesday morning. By 4:00 p.m. when the final seat was booked, the airline had received more than 140,000 phone calls on 300 lines, 1,000,000+ website hits and thousands of emails complimenting the airline on the promotion and what it meant to America.
Spirit CEO Jacob Schorr, along with a team of Spirit officials, vows “to personally thank travelers on the airline on September 11, 2002. The team will be on hand at Spirit-served airports to shake hands with passengers,” he said. The New York routes proved the most popular and sold out first.
The announcement sparked global media coverage—from Japan to Europe to Australia—and prompted thousands of well-wishers throughout the country, travelers and non alike, to contact the airline with uplifting and patriotic messages. “I am not traveling on September 11, but want to thank you for the offer,” noted one writer. “Thank you so much for proving that America has great people and great companies.”
“Thank you,” said another. “You need to hear the praise and joy that have filled my heart. I`m not holding a ticket for 9-11-02; I`m not even in your flight area. I just wanted you and your company to know that you are doing something really good with this anniversary event.”