Spirit Airlines kicks off 2022 with 3 routes to a brand-new US city

Jan 25, 2022

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 building on its strong network growth throughout the pandemic with another new pin — and state — for its route map.

The Miramar, Florida-based airline announced on Tuesday that it’ll land its yellow Airbus jets in Salt Lake City (SLC) for the first time ever on May 26. The airline will fly three routes from the Salt Lake City International Airport, which includes daily service to Los Angeles (LAX) and Orlando (MCO), as well as twice-daily service to Las Vegas (LAS).

The new service marks Spirit’s first time serving the state of Utah, which it hopes will drive traffic from travelers looking for an outdoor-focused adventure and from flyers based in the state’s capital looking for a warm-weather getaway out of the state.

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

“We listen to our guests, and they told us they wanted more exciting Western destinations to experience the great outdoors,” John Kirby, Spirit’s vice president of network planning, said in a statement. “We’re also excited to introduce our high-value travel proposition for our new Utah guests,” he added.

Spirit’s entrance is also a milestone moment for the SLC airport, as it’ll become the first domestic carrier to launch service there since the grand opening of the new terminal in September 2020. The new SLC airport is a massive improvement compared to the one it replaced, with modernized finishes, tall ceilings and upgraded concessions, restrooms and waiting areas.

Perhaps most interestingly, Spirit is advertising a pilot hiring event in Salt Lake City on Feb. 8. Pilot shortages have commanded headlines in recent months, leading to network pullbacks and flight cancellations for a number of U.S. airlines. It appears Spirit hasn’t been immune to the issue, as the airline is promoting its new hiring event in the press release.

Salt Lake City isn’t just big news for Spirit’s ever-growing route map; it’s also going to pit the carrier head-to-head against Delta, which is the largest airline at SLC thanks to its hub there.

(Map courtesy of Spirit Airlines)

Delta already operates all three routes that Spirit is starting, and if history is any indication (take a look at Milwaukee, Louisville and St. Louis), Spirit could grow quickly in the market.

Of course, much of Delta’s Salt Lake City traffic is connecting, but Spirit hopes to give Delta a run for its money on an O&D (origin and destination) basis. Additionally, Spirit will compete against American, Alaska, Frontier, JetBlue and Southwest on the routes that it’s adding.

Either way, the airline is likely banking on its ultra-low-cost business model to undercut the competition and drive traffic.

It’s not the only time during the past year that Spirit has expanded to a fortress hub of a major rival. The carrier did just that in October 2021, when it added the first of a whopping 31 routes from Miami (MIA) — a major hub for American Airlines, where it’s by far the biggest player. But Spirit is now the second-largest carrier in the city, increasingly going head-to-head with American.

While Miami was the highlight of Spirit’s 2021 expansion, the airline also landed in seven other new cities last year, including Louisville (SDF), Milwaukee (MKE), Pensacola (PNS), St. Louis (STL), Puerto Vallarta (PVR), Manchester (MHT) and Palmerola International Airport (XPL) in Honduras.

Now, the airline is kicking off 2022 with a western splash, and it’ll be very interesting to follow where else the airline lands this year.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, 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®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • 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
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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.