Spirit starts Minneapolis to Chicago and Las Vegas

Spirit Airlines Steps onto Delta Turf

The Ultra Low Cost carrier, Spirit Airlines, will jump into the tuft of Delta Air Lines in the Twin Cities at Minneapolis/St. Paul Intl Airport (MSP).  At one point, Northwest Airlines controlled the turf, but post NWA merger, Delta Air Lines is the dominant airline at MSP and operates out of the giant Lindbergh Terminal.

Spirit Airlines will join Southwest Airlines and Sun Country over in the Humphrey Terminal which is known for its low cost airlines as well as charter flights.

As the carrier dives in, Spirit will operate flights between Minneapolis (MSP) and Las Vegas (LAS), as well as Chicago O’Hare (ORD).  As Spirit does when they enter new markets, they are offering $9 fares on specific days and flights.

Delta Air Lines, the carrier with the majority of traffic at MSP, already serves the same markets non-stop – as such, it’ll be interesting to see if fare wars break-out in these markets.  When Delta feels challenged, they’ve been known to pull an ace out of their sleeve.  As an example, when Sun Country started non-stop service from Minneapolis (MSP) to Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR), Delta put a Boeing 737 on the route to compete with Sun Country.

Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR) is a year-round Delta destination and has been for several years, but all flights have been via their primary hub at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Intl Airport (ATL).

Spirit Airlines Controversy

 

Spirit has been the subject of much controversy after the US Department of Transportation required transparent pricing along with providing consumers a 24 hour window to cancel their tickets.   As a result, Spirit added the Unintended Consequences of DOT Regulations Fee – also known as DOT UC for $2.00 each way on most reservations.

When it comes to transparency, many argue Spirit is anything but transparent when it comes to their fees and charges.  For Example, the “Passenger Usage Fee” is added as a “fee” onto most tickets at $16.99 each way (or $8.99 on discount fares) – this Usage Fee is not a tax, but revenue that goes straight into the coffers at Spirit.  In essence, it is a fee for the privilege of booking on their website.

Some consider their $9 fare club to be a “bait and switch”, as it requires a $59.95 yearly membership, but we’ll let you make the decision.

Spirit is Competitive

 

Looking at the brighter side, Spirit is good at providing low airfares.  Spirit is an a la cart carrier – you pay for what you use.  Checked Baggage and Food/Drink on-board all attracts a fee – even carry-on baggage attracts a fee.  Pay for what you use – many enjoy the concept, others hate the concept, but regardless, when Spirit enters a new market, lower fares do follow.

The Minneapolis to Chicago route already enjoys competition with Southwest Airlines operating the route non-stop between Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) and Chicago Midway Airport (MDW) while Spirit will be operating into O’Hare (ORD).  Delta Air Lines operates from the Twin Cities into both O’Hare and Midway.

“I am very pleased to welcome Spirit Airlines to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and wish the airline every success here,” said Dan Boivin, chairman of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), which owns and operates MSP and six general aviation airports in the Twin Cities metropolitan area; Boivin continues, “Competition among airlines is good for consumers, and Spirit’s unique low-fare business model provides a valuable alternative for cost-conscious travelers. It is a goal of the MAC to expand choices for the consumer with more options to more destinations while maintaining our commitment to sound environmental stewardship.”

MAC Executive Director, Jeff Hamiel, noted, “Spirit Airlines is the fourth new carrier to announce service at MSP since 2008, highlighting the strength of the Minneapolis-St. Paul market for business and leisure travel services. Spirit’s decision to join the MSP community further ensures the region will continue to enjoy not only some of the most abundant air service per capita in the nation but also healthy competition on key routes.”

Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner, Rosemarie S. Andolino, said, “Spirit Airlines’ new service to Minneapolis-St. Paul enhances competition and expands options for travelers at O’Hare International Airport…….In less than one year, Spirit has more than doubled its flight offerings from O’Hare with service to 11 destinations, including Minneapolis and Denver beginning in May. Spirit’s rapid growth at O’Hare is in line with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s vision to maintain and grow the service offerings, economic impact and job creation of Chicago’s airports.”

Randall H. Walker, Director of Aviation for Clark County, Nevada, points out a few interesting facts, “Minneapolis-St. Paul is currently the 12th-largest provider of air visitors to Las Vegas, sending approximately 700 travelers to McCarran International Airport each day.”

Spirit Airlines Schedule at Minneapolis (MSP)

 

Schedule for Spirit’s Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) — Chicago O’Hare (ORD) service effective May 31, 2012:

Depart Arrive Flight # Stops Frequency
Minneapolis — Chicago 6:25 am 7:50 am 612* 0 Daily
11:10 am 12:35 pm 708* 0 Daily
6:05 pm 7:30 pm 614* 0 Daily
Chicago — Minneapolis 9:00 am 10:20 am 761* 0 Daily
4:05 pm 5:25 pm 773* 0 Daily
8:15 pm 9:35 pm 763 0 Daily

*Effective June 1, 2012

Schedule for Spirit’s Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) — Las Vegas (LAS) service effective May 31, 2012:

Depart Arrive Flight # Stops Frequency
Minneapolis — Las Vegas 10:15 pm 11:45 pm 763 0 Daily
Las Vegas — Minneapolis 12:25 am 5:35 am 612* 0 Daily

*Effective June 1, 2012

Spirit Airlines operates a fleet of new Airbus A320 aircraft.

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2 Responses

03.01.12

more .information on $9 flights to Las Vegas please

03.01.12

I would check out Spirit’s website – I believe it is spirit.com

Also, I think they make people purchase into their $9 ‘fare club’ to get the $9 (plus taxes/fees) fare.

They’re a low cost operation and then charge for everything a la carte. Works well with some travelers if you travel light while it can turn out to be an expensive ordeal for others.

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