Spirit and Frontier Are Merging to Create a Super Crappy Airline

One discount carrier to rule them all (poorly)

Spirit and Frontier Are Merging to Create a Super Crappy Airline

Frontier and Spirit airlines have long helmed the discount carrier space, competing for lowest airfare — and most uncomfortable seats — for nearly three decades. But now, in a show of “if you can’t be more disappointing than them, join them” camaraderie, two of the most reviled names in the travel sector are finally joining forces.

In a deal valued at $6.6 billion, executives at Spirit and Frontier have announced their intent to merge, creating — per a report from CNBC — what would be the 5th largest airline in the U.S. A super budget airline, if you will. Or a super shitty airline. TBD.

“This transaction is centered around creating an aggressive ultra-low fare competitor to serve our guests even better, expand career opportunities for our team members and increase competitive pressure, resulting in more consumer-friendly fares for the flying public,” Spirit President and CEO Ted Christie said in a statement announcing the deal.

While a lot of the details have yet to be released (the name of the new airline chief among them), the company will reportedly offer 1,000 daily flights to over 145 destinations.

“The merged carrier would leapfrog JetBlue and Alaska Air  in the number of miles flown by paying passengers, according to 2021 statistics, putting them behind the four major airlines that control about 80% of the nation’s air traffic — American, Delta, United and Southwest Airlines,” CNN’s Chris Isidore wrote. It will be the first unification of major U.S. airlines since Alaska Airlines merged with Virgin America back in 2016.

The deal is still subject to shareholder approval, and thus won’t be cemented for a while, but frequent budget airline fliers can rejoice. Two of the lowest ranking airlines in the U.S. are set to join ranks, which presumably translates to delays, canceled flights, customer-service headaches and involuntary bumps like this world has not yet seen. Want to pay $20 for a cross-country flight so you can break your kneecaps against the back of the seat in front of you? You better buckle the fuck up.

There are some silver linings to be had here: a more comprehensive loyalty program, for starters. Then there’s the obvious: more routes, at better prices, which may ultimately putting enough pressure on the other major airlines to rethink their steadily increasing prices.

Of course, on the same day the merger was announced, 127 Frontier flights were canceled and another 116 delayed due to automation issues, so temper your expectations in the meantime.


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