Controversial Spirit Airlines Florida presence growing rapidly

Spirit Airlines at Fort Lauderdale (2015) By JT Occhialini [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Spirit Airlines at Fort Lauderdale (2015) By JT Occhialini [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Much has been made about the business practices of Ultra-low cost carrier (ULCC) Spirit Airlines in the last few years. Spirit has become in some circles synonymous with a poor quality product – but on the flip side al a carte pricing empowers many who normally cannot afford to fly or take a vacation the opportunity to do so.

Recently, Spirit has applied its ULCC model throughout the country. Once upon a time Spirit flew routes primarily from Detroit and Fort Lauderdale. But in the last five years the airline has built a large operation at other airlines hubs like Chicago O’Hare (United and American), Dallas/Fort Worth International (American), George Bush Intercontinental in Houston (United), Las Vegas McCarran International (Southwest) and even Los Angeles International (a hub or focus city for just about every US-based airline save  east coast/ Caribbean centric JetBlue).

The airline which is based in Miramar is the largest carrier based in the state of Florida and the seventh largest in the United States in terms of passengers enplaned. At its main base in Fort Lauderdale, Spirit was once the largest airline but now has slipped behind JetBlue which has rapidly built a hub operation at the airport and Southwest which is in the process of building a focus city. But Spirit remains a major player from Fort Lauderdale with a route network that more or less resembles JetBlue’s connecting Latin America, the Caribbean and United States. But Spirit offers a very different product than JetBlue and caters to a different type of traveler so while the two airlines compete and overlap on 26 different routes out of Fort Lauderdale it is entirely possible they are not really competing for the same passenger in many cases.

Spirit’s modern all-airbus fleet has allowed it to maximize fuel efficiency in its ultra-low cost model.

As of today (December 1), Spirit will fly nonstop to 19 domestic destinations from Orlando International Airport. From the airline’s home base in Fort Lauderdale, Spirit serves 25 domestic destinations and 22 international destinations nonstop (a total of 47 destinations are served nonstop from Fort Lauderdale on Spirit). From Tampa, Spirit serves 11 destinations nonstop and from Fort Myers nine.

While Spirit Airlines remains controversial their ala carte pricing it can be argued allows consumers to make conscious choices about how they travel and gives them the opportunity to save money in the process. It also make travel affordable for some who may not otherwise be able to fly and ultimately for tourist-oriented leisure destinations here in the Sunshine State, that is a good thing.

 

3 comments

  1. JOSEPH KREPS · · Reply

    I couldn’t agree more. Having flown both Spirit and Jet Blue, i really appreciate their non stop flights. While I personally prefer Jet Blue, the competition keeps prices down and for the budget flier Spirit is a good deal.

  2. […] but a handful of the most popular domestic and international destinations from the airport. While Spirit Airlines flies many of the same routes as JetBlue from Fort Lauderdale it can be argued the New York-based airline’s biggest local […]

  3. […] but a handful of the most popular domestic and international destinations from the airport. While Spirit Airlines flies many of the same routes as JetBlue from Fort Lauderdale it can be argued the New York-based airline’s biggest local […]

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