MINNEAPOLIS - Spirit Airlines has announced that it is going to double its daily offerings in and out of Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport.
Starting in November, the low-cost carrier will be running flights to and from Los Angeles, Phoenix, Orlando and Tampa.
The company started last year by offering flights to Chicago and Las Vegas, but Spirit has been expanding in the Twin Cities ever since.
"Minneapolis is a higher fare market. We are inherently a lower fare airline. We built our cost structure to ensure we can offer those low fares, so we look for places like Minneapolis where we see an opportunity to grow," Spirit VP of Network Planning Mark Kopczak told KARE 11.
The airline does charge customers for carry-on luggage and seat assignments. Kopczak says they're simply offering consumers choices.
"When you take that fare and you add in the options that customers chose on to it, typically speaking, our fares are quite less, and we are generally targeting a 20 to 25 percent reduction in that regards," he explained.
KARE 11 did a quick search online for flights to both Phoenix and Orlando over the Thanksgiving holiday. To Orlando and back, Spirit wanted $317 (without any luggage fees). The next closest competitor came back with a $453 round-tripper. To and from Phoenix set the consumer back a hair under $300 (without luggage fees) on Spirit while the next best, through Expedia, was $400 with a layover.
Airline industry expert Terry Trippler with theplanerules.com expects the addition of Spirit in the market to have a good effect on consumer's airfares.
"This will bring it down," he said, noting talks of two more legacy carriers merging is also a huge factor in the equation. "Spirit has seen an opening and they're going for it. I will bet you dimes to dollars we're going to be hearing from Southwest within six weeks."
Spirit did receive the lowest rating in a recent consumer reports quality survey. The airline's CEO has been on record saying customers know what to expect and that's the lowest possible price out there.