Spirit Airlines adds 3 routes to new destination in Mexico, continues growing at LAX

Mar 31, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Spirit Airlines is expanding south of the border.

On Wednesday, the Miramar, Florida-based carrier announced that its yellow Airbuses will be touching down in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (PVR), on July 1.

Spirit will serve this popular Mexico beach destination from three cities: Los Angeles (LAX), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) and Houston (IAH). Service from LAX will be daily, while the Texas routes will be operated three-times-weekly, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

“Offering our guests convenient flights to beautiful destinations and spectacular beaches is what Spirit Airlines is all about, which makes Puerto Vallarta the perfect new market to connect to major cities in our network,” John Kirby, vice president of network planning, in a statement.

In addition to adding PVR as a new route-map pin, the carrier will boost existing service to Mexico, where it currently serves both Cancun (CUN) and Los Cabos (SJD). Spirit will add a daily flight from LAX to SJD beginning on May 5, joining existing service from DFW and IAH.

Spirit flyers can upgrade to the carrier’s Big Front Seat for a more comfortable ride (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The two new Los Angeles flights mark a major milestone for the carrier — they’ll become the first international routes from this rapidly growing Spirit Airlines station.

Domestically, Spirit is also adding a new daily LAX flight, to Columbus (CMH) in Ohio, beginning on June 9. This joins the recently announced service to Louisville (SDF), St. Louis (STL), New York LaGuardia (LGA) and Milwaukee (MKE).

Altogether, with the latest additions, LAX will become the carrier’s fourth-largest operating base, after Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Orlando (MCO) and Las Vegas (LAS). Two years ago, the gateway to Southern California was the tenth-largest in the network; now it’s averaging roughly 40 flights a day.

“We’ve long wished to grow in Los Angeles, but it’s a very constrained airport. This pandemic has given us the opportunity to grow our footprint there, and we’re taking advantage of it,” Kirby said in a recorded interview.

The growth spurt in Los Angeles comes as the competition for the city heats up. No single U.S. airline dominates the LAX market. All three major network carriers have a hub there, while Southwest and JetBlue both consider it to be a focus city.

(Map courtesy of Spirit)

For the O&D (origin and destination) traffic at LAX, Spirit’s growth spells good news. The carrier’s bare fares will likely cause the incumbents to compete more closely on price. Angelenos will enjoy more robust flight options as well.

Related: Spirit Airlines adds 2 new cities in 12-route expansion

As for Mexico, Spirit’s route choices pit it squarely against two of the nation’s largest carriers: American Airlines and United. Each operates a mega-hub in Dallas and Houston, respectively, and Spirit’s new PVR flights will likely compete fiercely with these Big 3 competitors. In fact, the IAH-PVR route will break United’s 18-year (and counting) monopoly on the nonstop route, according to Cirium schedule data.

“The important thing is serving Puerto Vallarta from the right gateways. We’ve historically been more of an eastern half of the country carrier, but Puerto Vallarta is a western half destination,” Kirby said.

Spirit’s rapid growth — nine new cities since the outset of the pandemic — comes as travelers are quickly returning to the skies. Leisure-focused routes are performing the best, with every major airline doubling down on outdoor-friendly destinations like beaches and national parks.

With more than a million average daily travelers passing through TSA checkpoints nationwide, Spirit’s seemingly hopeful that it can capture its share while using the pandemic-related downturn to bolster its position as the nation’s top budget carrier.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.