The big question with airline mergers is always whether it will be good or bad for travelers. And this particular merger could have wide-ranging implications.

What does the Frontier and Spirit Airlines merger do?

Frontier Airlines has announced plans to buy Spirit Airlines, a move that would make the new Frontier the fifth largest airline in the U.S. The CEOs of Frontier and Spirit say that the combined forces put pressure on the larger legacy airlines to compete, and bring their prices down. This would obviously be a win for budget travelers.

Do the airlines plan to continue selling “no-frills” flights?

The answer to this one is an enthusiastic, “yes!” The airlines actually plan to expand quickly into more markets, perhaps providing more choice in low-cost tickets for budget travelers. In fact, the airlines claim to have already identified more than 300 new routes to be offered – and soon!

Since the two airlines have complimentary offerings – with very little overlap in routes – the banding together should be good news for operations. They’ve already identified some routes that had been previously abandoned that could be brought back under the combined forces.

Additionally, this deal is different than if a larger, legacy airline were to fold one of the no-frills carriers into their existing business model. In this deal, two budget airlines are combining forces so they can keep their low costs and bring them to more passengers.

Of course, it’s early days. The merger could also be a good opportunity for the company to increase prices, more in line with the other legacy airlines. So far, that’s not what the executives say is underway.

Could prices for travelers go down?

Possibly. The merger could force Delta, United, American and Southwest to lower their prices, and it’s also possible that the larger company could bring lower fares into more markets faster.

What will happen to Spirit’s popular, “Big Front Seat”?

That hasn’t been sorted out, but passengers sure would lose out if the Big Front Seat was nixed. It’s one of the best values in the sky. So far at least, executives have hinted that it may not be going anywhere. There would be significant cost to retrofitting Frontier aircraft so they could offer it on Frontier’s aircraft. On the other hand, the Big Front Seat is so popular, we predict the merger team will keep it if they can make the math work financially.

Will the fee structure and “a la carte” ticket model survive the merger?

You betcha! Though newbies to the pricing structure aren’t always thrilled, the structure is a winner for the companies financially. It’s even prompted other airlines to develop more of a similar business model. Though you might see slight modifications in the fees themselves, they’re not going anywhere.

Will Frontier flights get Wifi?

Right now, Spirit flights have Wifi, and Frontier’s flights do not. At some point, the inflight amenities will likely be streamlined, but for now, it’s status quo on service and amenities on each carrier.

What don’t we know yet about the implications of the Frontier/Spirit merger?

A lot, it turns out. Other than the general announcement and a timeline, there’s still a lot we don’t know. The merger is expected to be completed by the second half of 2022, which is actually quite a bit of time. There could potentially be pushback from the regulatory arm of the federal government, which has shown itself to be rather skeptical to these kinds of buyouts.

The executives in charge of the deal also say they haven’t made any decisions about which brand name might come out on top. For now, customers won’t see many changes at all. If you bought a Spirit or Frontier ticket, all of the attendant policies and expectations should remain the same, as will the branding you see at the airport.

What are your thoughts on the merger? Do you have concerns about prices going up? Do you fly Frontier or Spirit regularly, and if so, how do you think the merger could improve service levels for passengers? We’d love to hear all of your thoughts in the comments below. Happy travels!

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8 Comments

  1. I hate Spirit from the first time I tried it. The name suggested to me compassionate & courteous service. The low price was increase by charging you for service for seats and baggage that made the savings an illusion. I never flew with them again!

  2. Thanks,for letting us know. How you keep the mascots on your planes. Please keep the friendly Alaskan crew, and teach other how to make the sky friendly

  3. Maybe if I can afford it buy airfare ticket. Depends on how much cost for airfare ticket. It would be nice if I could ride the flight ✈ sometimes. I will be happy to visiting with my son and grandchildren. Thank you for information.,Michelle

  4. Unfortunately, I have seen other mergers in the past that purport that the merger is only for the good of the operations and customers. It it true that if the executives are being honest in their press relations that this could be GREAT for the consumer because as you say, they are both lower-cost airlines that compliment each other in routing. I think I may be becoming a jaded personality when it comes to any corporate merger, seeing so many in the past eat up the little guy to eliminate the competition. But I will keep an optimistic outlook for this one! We shall see.

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