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Spirit Takes a Page from the Allegiant Playbook

Spirit Airlines is trying a bit of a different strategy:  taking a page out of the Allegiant playbook, they have announced new service from tertiary cities to Ft Lauderdale and Myrtle Beach beginning next January.  Spirit will roll out flights from Plattsburgh (NY), Latrobe (PA), Niagara Falls, Charleston (WV) and Dallas (OK, not a tertiary city) to FLL and roughly the same cities (swapping Washington DC for Dallas) to Myrtle Beach.

Although Allegiant serves Plattsburgh – FLL, they will stay out of their way, only offering overlapping flights on Saturdays.  Latrobe, Niagara Falls and Charleston are all new service, though not daily (Dallas is double-daily).  Spirit’s domestic service to FLL has typically been daily, so this 4x/week service to small cities is likely a test to see if they can mimic that Allegiant strategy.  Given Spirit’s strong ancillary revenues (and propensity to pull out of cities that don’t work immediately), I bet we’ll see them expand using this strategy over the coming years.

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  1. Living in Pittsburgh and close to Latrobe airport, I think this is a great offer. I’m looking forward to cheap flights to Myrtle Beach in the spring for our yearly golf trips.

  2. “Tertiary” cities are always a risk, but I’m intrigued by the Plattsburgh and Niagara Falls service. They’re clearly aimed at Montreal and Toronto snowbird travel. If you’re ever wanted to fly from the US to Canada, you know the taxes are brutal. It pretty much makes even a short hop from the Northeast to Montreal and Toronto unaffordable for leisure travel. Obviously, Canadians crave summer warmth, and the combo of Spirit’s rock-bottom pricing, the massive tax-savings and the strong Canadian dollar should makes these flights irresistible.

    I guess we’ll see. If Plattsburgh can work for anybody, it will be Spirit. Heck, I wouldn’t mind an el cheapo Spirit fair from Atlantic City to Plattsburgh (a longshot!).

  3. That’s “winter warmth” they’re craving.

  4. Great point. Tertiary cities are risky, but some of them seem to work (and some don’t). I have no idea whether Latrobe will work, but it’s certainly worth trying. Or why Latrobe would work while Allentown wouldn’t. The beauty of the Allegiant (and Spirit, I guess) model is that they can come in, try it, then leave.

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