Spirit scrambled, but failed, to stop an email to customers urging them to 'book a trip today' amid coronavirus pandemic

On Thursday morning, Spirit Airlines scrambled to halt an email to customers with the subject line, “Never A Better Time To Fly.”

a large passenger jet flying through a blue sky

Still, about 25% of those intended to receive the email got it, forcing Spirit to apologize for the email.

We apologize for the email that was sent earlier today. It was written prior to the current situation and unfortunately sent. We are closely monitoring COVID-19 and taking precautions to keep our Guests & Team Members safe. pic.twitter.com/6SGdfghAe9

The email was created before coronavirus had developed into a pandemic, but went out on Thursday, Spirit spokesperson Field Sutton told Business Insider over email. The team quickly had to jump to prevent the message’s distribution.

“It’s been all hands on deck here trying to halt that distribution once it was set in motion,” Sutton added in the email.

“It was just a marketing email – created ages ago – that went out at a time it absolutely shouldn’t have. Though we’re in the business of selling plane tickets, we’re not in the business of being disingenuous.”

While the note was an accident, it riled some people on social media, who claimed Spirit was encouraging customers to act against the wishes of public health officials. 

Tom Bossert, a former homeland security adviser to Presidents Donald Trump and George W. Bush, wrote in a Washington Post column this week that America is on the cusp of an “acute, exponential growth” of the coronavirus, which has now killed 38 people in the US and more than 4,600 globally.

The American Hospital Association estimated in a presentation obtained by Business Insider that the novel coronavirus may infect up to 96 million in the US, kill as many as 480,000, and result in up to 4.8 million hospitalizations.

Spirit airlines just sent out an email with the subject: “Never A Better Time To Fly.”

Really? #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/KBbYXadVyf

“The perfect time to treat yourself? Right this minute,” according to a Spirit Deals email sent to customers on Thursday morning. “Grab a great fare now and plan a trip today. ”

The email added “Off you go!”, accompanied by a photo of a placid-looking woman doing yoga on a pier.

Airlines are slashing ticket prices amid a $41 billion tumble in their market value. Shares of Spirit have tumbled 66% in the past month.

Do you work for Spirit Airlines or another travel company? Email [email protected].

WATCH: CDC issues updated guidance for airlines amidst coronavirus (provided by Travel + Leisure)

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