Tag Archives: Spirit Airlines
What is Standby, basically you show up to the airport in advance of your flight and try to hop on an earlier flight. Airlines used to do this as a matter of routine because it is a win-win. The airlines fill a seat that would have gone out empty and they get an open seat on a later flight that can be used for IRROPS. The passenger wins because they get to go somewhere sooner. However, US Airlines discovered this could be a revenue stream and have changed their policies to get customers to pay for the privilege. Some airline force customers to use the “Same day confirmed or SDC” this means for a reduced fee airlines will confirm the passenger on to an earlier flight. We’ll discuss that policy in another post. So when you see references to SDC that’s what that means.
Here is the list of US Airline policies:
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Spirit Airlines, America’s version of Ryanair announced they were starting Houston-Orlando service effective immediately. It’s pretty rare, well non-existent really, that airlines start service as soon as they announce it because they haven’t sold any tickets. I am guess I just missed the announcement of intent to start service. Houston-Orlando is pretty much an all leisure market, you know with Walt Disney World and such, so there is a strong market for Spirit which markets to the leisure traveler.
Fight times are actually decent, IAH-MCO leaves at 0900 and MCO-IAH at 1300, so it may be worth looking at.
Spirit Airlines is another one of those Ultra Low Cost Carriers that live in the margins of the U.S. Aviation market. Perhaps best known for their cheeky advertising and $9.00 fares that rarely add up to $9.00; they have been frequent targets of DOT enforcement for violating fare disclosures. Today however, they are in the news for a different reason. Via press release, http://ir.spirit.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=702720, they have announced service from Houston to Chicago and Las Vegas, joining their existing service to Dallas.
Spirit has been expanding their service out of Dallas for some time now. It is surprising that Sprit would announce service not just from Houston but to a major operation for Southwest and a hub-to-hub route for United. People who write aviation blogs and have opinions about the effects of low cost expansion will tell you that this will have no real impact on United’s or Southwest’s operation in Houston. I think those people are wrong. It’s true spirit makes its own markets. They target people who do not use air transport and would not without Spirit otherwise travel. However, there will be some leisure travel that will move to Spirit from both WN and UA. WN is in the middle of dramatically increasing its Houston operation while UA is in the process of trimming theirs. Spirit will continue the trend of draining passengers away from United. This drain will further decrease the profitability of UA’s Houston operation. Whether or not this decrease will accelerate or increase UA’s pull back remains to be seen.
Spirit has largely gone unnoticed by the legacy carriers. Their aggressive expansion over the past couple of years suggests that they are fast becoming a force to be reckoned with. UA and WN have for the most part peacefully co-existed in Houston. That balance that existed before the merger is largely gone with United ceding ground and markets to Southwest. With Spirit’s entry into the Houston market this suggests that the Houston market will rebalance again.