Spirit Airlines adds 3 routes, new city in latest pandemic-era shakeup
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 isn’t taking a breath.
On Wednesday, the Miramar, Florida-based carrier announced another set of new routes, coming just a day after a second big pandemic-era network expansion for the airline.
Beginning on June 24, Spirit is adding a new pin to its route-map, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (MKE), with three new daily flights to Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX) and Orlando (MCO).
Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!
Spirit will bring its competitive, unbundled fares to two markets that are already saturated with low-cost-carrier service. Cirium schedules show that both Frontier and Southwest Airlines fly between Milwaukee and both Las Vegas and Orlando.
There were 575 daily passengers paying an average of $143 headed between MKE and Orlando in 2019, according to Department of Transporation data. Southwest carried nearly 60% of the flyers in the market, so Spirit’s clearly betting that it can win some budget-conscious travelers with its $69 introductory fares.
As for Los Angeles, Spirit is slated to become the only carrier to fly the 1,756-mile route between MKE and LAX. Southwest last operated the route in April 2020, before suspending it indefinitely due to the pandemic.
In a recorded interview, John Kirby, Sprit’s vice president of network planning, said that the new Milwaukee flights were a long time coming. Despite some competition, “we’re excited to be adding three of the most popular destinations from Milwaukee. If we’re successful, we’ll add even more. But we think we’re going to do really well with this service,” Kirby added.
The three new flights are available for purchase immediately. Note that Spirit’s “Bare Fare” doesn’t include a full-sized carry-on, checked bags or seat assignment. All ancillary services are available for an additional upcharge.
Spirit’s Milwaukee announcement comes just one day after the carrier unveiled another brand-new destination, Louisville, Kentucky (SDF).
Launching on May 27, Spirit will fly to Louisville’s Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF) from three of its largest cities, Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Las Vegas (LAS) and Orlando (MCO). The carrier will also launch the nation’s only nonstop flight between Los Angeles (LAX) and the largest city in Kentucky.
The success of both the Milwaukee and Louisville flights will be bolstered not just by the origin and destination traffic traveling on the new routes, according to Kirby. Spirit’s touting its range of one-stop connecting options for outbound travelers headed to other destinations across the country and the Caribbean.
Spirit’s move to boost flights to its hubs — or “bases” as it calls them — comes as the major network carriers have been experimenting with a point-to-point network model in recent months.
For instance, late last year, United launched 17 new seasonal Florida routes from cities like Boston and Cleveland, bypassing its eight domestic hubs. JetBlue also made a similar move in September, when it added 24 new routes that push beyond the carrier’s traditional focus cities.
Regardless of the underlying strategy, adding new routes during the pandemic has become the “new normal.” Airlines are looking to capture as much demand as they can from pandemic-weary travelers looking for a leisure-oriented escape.
Featured photo courtesy of Spirit
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
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.
- 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.