Posted December 2, 2008 by Zak Patten
We learn a lot from the places we work. And that can serve us well throughout our careers. But we can also pick up some of the stranger aspects of our workplaces. Which is why I'm curious about ProFlight Training Academy, the new flight school started by Ron Jung, who, according to The Jackson Citizen Patriot, has "spent a decade as a pilot for Spirit Airlines." Will Jung's new venture employ the locker-room-style advertising and hyperactive marketing Spirit has championed? Will the school offer ridiculously cheap courses to match Spirit's penny-pinching fares? More to the point, can you take the pilot out of Spirit Airlines without taking the Spirit Airlines out of the pilot?
As for ads, I wonder how a flight school could work some of Spirit's fare sale names like "M.I.L.F." and "Threesome" into its pitches. Perhaps the latter could be a special deal&mash;you and a fellow student and your flight instructor could take to the skies together. Just one of you would be flying the plane, but at least you'd be up there, and maybe Jung would you give the non-pilot a discount. I'm not crazy about the idea of handing over the controls in midair, and I hope Jung wouldn't be either.
Spirit made a bit of a splash in the fall when it introduced advertising "on seat backs, window shades, overhead bins, tray tables, and drink carts." How might this translate for the ProFlight Academy? Well, while you're up there learning how to keep yourself up there, Jung could decide it was a good time to tell you about the benefits of a new car from a local dealership or why you should really consider Lipitor. I'd prefer he focus more on actually teaching you to fly, but if the "Spirit" of marketing saturation compels him, you are a captive audience and he might feel like bringing in just a bit more revenue on that particular flight.
No doubt some vulgar ads and lots of sales pitches would be in keeping with Spirit's ways, but nothing would call to mind Jung's airline employer more than if he goes rock-bottom on prices. Spirit's deals are certainly eye-catching, with their one-cent fares and the like. I even recall Spirit <em>paying you</em> to fly, though you were still responsible for taxes and fees. To live up to this obsession with price points, Jung should rename his ProFlight Training Academy the "CheapFlight Saving Academy." That would get some attention. As would cut-rate classes. Instead of charging the $160 per hour (his current rate), Jung might slash that to 160 <em>cents</em> per hour. Who doesn't want to learn to fly for less than the price of a Starbucks latte?
Only time will tell if ProFlight is to become the Spirit Airlines of flight schools. But if Ron Jung has learned anything from his old bosses (besides how to fly a plane), expect something a little shocking.
(Photo: ProFlight Training Academy)
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