America’s newest airline, known for its $19 flights, is spending $1.2 million to bring its cheap trips to the East Coast

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

  • Avelo Airlines is coming to the East Coast with a new base in New Haven, Connecticut.
  • Routes have not yet been announced but it’s likely Avelo will offer flights across the East Coast and Southeast.
  • Avelo is spending $1.2 million as part of a larger $100 million investment to modernize the airport.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

New Haven, Connecticut, will soon have more going for it than just Yale University and pizza.

Avelo Airlines is choosing the Elm City as its East Coast base with flights from Tweed-New Haven Regional Airport scheduled to start later this year.

“Tweed New Haven has enormous potential, and our first East Coast base is great news for Avelo, New Haven, East Haven and other local communities,” Andrew Levy, Avelo’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.

New Haven is sandwiched between Hartford, Connecticut, and New York City, the two closest cities with service from ultra-low-cost carriers. While travelers living anywhere between those two cities were formerly forced to choose, Avelo is giving a third option that will be more convenient to many.

Convenience is key for Avelo, which launched its first flights in April from Hollywood Burbank Airport in California as an alternative to the busier Los Angeles International Airport. Smaller airports boast greater ease of access for travelers and lower operating costs for the airline.

Avelo’s purpose is to inspire travel and today we begin that process of making it easy, and convenient, and affordable with everyday low fares, for customers to be able to choose us,” Levy said when launching the airline’s first flight from Burbank to Santa Rosa, California.

“It is critically important for us to work with partners who share our ideals to maintain the convenience that people love about Tweed New Haven, while respecting the existing character of the local cities and their communities that we serve,” Sean Scanlon, executive director of Tweed New Haven Airport Authority, said in a statement.

Manhattan is also 80 miles away and Avelo’s low fares could attract New Yorkers for which the drive is under two hours, and train service is offered on Amtrak and the Metro-North Railroad. Travelers from Boston and Eastern Massachusetts may also be inclined to make the journey to New Haven, if the price and flights are right.

Avelo’s entrance is a shot in the arm for New Haven’s airport, which only sees scheduled service from American Airlines to Philadelphia on regional aircraft. But New Haven isn’t yet ready for Avelo and so the airline is investing $1.2 million into modernizing the airport with an extended runway and new terminal as part of a larger $100 million investment by Avports.

Read More: Here’s how the airport experience will likely change post-pandemic, according to a CEO that manages 8 of them

Staffing the New Haven base calls for around 100 new employees ranging from pilots and flight attendants to airport support staff. Avelo estimates its presence will create 11,000 jobs in the region.

Boeing 737-700 aircraft will be based in New Haven, the smaller variant of the Boeing 737-800 aircraft with which Avelo debuted operations in April, with Insider onboard the first flight. In line with the airline’s ultra-low-cost business model, the planes are basic with few onboard amenities, though in-flight WiFi may be offered by the time Avelo starts New Haven flights.

No routes have been announced but Avelo’s goal is to focus on leisure destinations and keep flights at around two hours. That puts most of the East Coast and parts of the Southeast including Florida well within range of New Haven.

“Our surprisingly low fares and refreshingly smooth travel experience are sure to be embraced by residents of Southern Connecticut,” said Levy.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I flew on America’s newest airline, Avelo, for $19 and the friendly service more than made up for the complete lack of frills

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

  • Avelo Airlines began flying on April 28 with an inaugural flight from Burbank to Santa Rosa in California.
  • The ultra-low-cost airline is launching 11 routes from Burbank to kick off operations.
  • The one-hour flight was enjoyable due to Avelo’s friendly atmosphere but lacked in amenities.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
America has a brand new airline.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Avelo Airlines made its debut on April 28 after breaking from cover earlier in the month. The ultra-low-cost airline aims to take advantage of the boom in leisure travelers that have been eager to fly again.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

A total of 11 routes are being launched from Burbank. The initial slate of destinations includes Santa Rosa, California; Pasco, Washington; Bozeman, Montana; Phoenix, Arizona; Ogden, Utah; Grand Junction, Colorado; Medford, Oregon; Eugene, Oregon; Bend, Oregon; Eureka, California; and Redding, California.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

At the helm of Avelo is Andrew Levy, an experienced aviation veteran with most recent experience as the cofounder of Allegiant Air and former chief financial officer of United Airlines.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Read More: America’s newest airline is launching in April with a focus on leisure routes and fares as low as $19: Meet Avelo Airlines

I flew on Avelo from Burbank to Santa Rosa in the world-famous Sonoma County on the airline’s first day of flights. Here’s what it was like.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Arriving at Avelo’s new home base at Hollywood Burbank Airport just north of Los Angeles, I felt transported back in time. The single-level terminal is reminiscent of the early days of aviation.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Being able to use more convenient airports like Burbank is a big draw for customers to Avelo. Only a handful of airlines serve this airport, even though it boasts an ease of access that wildly surpasses Los Angeles International.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

“We’re built to offer low fares, but at the same time we’re going to offer a great level of convenience by utilizing Burbank, which we think is probably the best secondary airport in the country,” Levy told Insider in a prior interview.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Avelo’s ticketing counter was not hard to find in the small terminal and its airport staff was out in force for the inaugural flight. Boarding passes can’t be printed from self-serve kiosks as Avelo doesn’t yet have that functionality.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

I had checked in the night before and could have printed a boarding pass but I still needed to check my bag. Luckily, there’s was no line as we were the first and only flight of the day.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

As was the case for most passengers, I only paid $19 for the ticket. But all I got for $19 was the ticket as bags and reserved seat assignments did not come included.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Avelo is an ultra-low-cost so bringing any bag larger than a backpack will incur a fee. Carry-ons cost $35 but checked bags only cost $10, some of the cheapest pricing in the industry for bags meant to encourage more checked bags.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

But my total ticket price came out to only $29 as I checked my bag for $10.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Ticket in hand, I headed to the gate for the first departure. Any gate is a short walk when departing from Burbank.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Two of Avelo’s flagship aircraft, the Boeing 737-800, were parked at the terminal. Avelo currently has plans for six aircraft and 400 crew members by the end of 2021.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

The paint job is an eye-catching purple, white, and yellow that made these 15-year-old aircraft look brand new.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Avelo is the only airline flying daily non-stop flights between Burbank and California Wine Country. That is, until June 1 when Alaska Airlines starts flights on the same route.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Read More: American and Alaska are making moves to compete with America’s newest airline before its first flight has even taken off

Flights to Santa Rosa depart in the morning and return in the late afternoon, enough time for a Sonoma County wine tasting if Southern Californians want to take a cheap day trip up north.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

This was the first flight of a brand new airline so inaugural festivities were in order. “Avelo’s purpose is to inspire travel and today we begin that process of making it easy, and convenient, and affordable with everyday low fares, for customers to be able to choose us,” Levy said.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

And with the cutting of the ribbon, it was time for boarding to begin.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Avelo boards in groups, with six in total, and hasn’t adopted the pandemic practice of back-to-front boarding. The first three groups are priority boarding and the final three are general boarding.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

One of the perks of flying into and out of Burbank airport is ramps are used instead of jetways. It allows for great views of the aircraft.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Parked next to our plane was a nearly-identical backup aircraft, ready for just in case something went wrong.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Levy was stationed at the foot of the ramp to personally welcome each flyer on board.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Many onboard were aviation enthusiasts excited to make history by flying on a brand new airline.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Avelo’s Boeing 737 aircraft seats a whopping 189 passengers in an all-economy configuration. Seat assignments start at only $4 but legroom depends on seat location and greater legroom seats can be bought for a premium.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Seats closest to the front offer the most legroom, between 31 and 38 inches, and they’ll usually cost upwards of $20 to reserve.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Seats towards the back only feature 29 inches of pitch, below average for full-service US airlines but common among ultra-low-cost carriers. But extra legroom or not, all seats are “slimline” with minimal padding and few amenities of which to speak.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Adjustable headrests, for example, are non-existent.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Seats do have, however, a decent size tray table with a cup holder and most do recline.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Those wanting more room to stretch out should book the exit rows in rows 20 and 21, or the first row of seats.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

A mere 29 inches of pitch might not bode well for taller flyers, as aviation’s Johnny Jet found from his middle seat in row 15, but this flight was only around an hour where it was bearable for those aboard.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

I didn’t choose a seat assignment at booking to save money and was auto-assigned a window seat in row 14 at check-in. It offered the standard 29 inches of pitch but I was just glad I wasn’t given a middle seat.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Seat-backs are noticeable bare with only safety cards in the pockets. There are no seat-back screens or any in-flight entertainment, for that matter, though WiFi is on the way, Levy told Insider in a prior interview.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Levy welcomed us aboard the historic first flight of his airline as we prepared to depart for Santa Rosa. The pandemic luckily hadn’t killed the airline but instead bolstered its proposition of cheap flights to travel-hungry Americans.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Read More: Flights are filling up as the pandemic enters its second year — and the crowded flights are only going to get worse

Soon enough, we were ready to head out and pushed back earlier than scheduled.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Levy sat in the very front row for the flight.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

We then blasted out of Burbank on Runway 15, the mighty Boeing 737 handling the short runway well and quickly turned to the north.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

We said goodbye to Burbank airport, to where this aircraft and many of its passengers would return later in the day.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

The views of San Fernando Valley provided the only in-flight entertainment for many as we turned to follow the coast to Santa Rosa.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Flight attendants, smiling from ear-to-ear, then began the in-flight service. Ultra-low-cost airlines aren’t typically known for free snacks and drinks but Avelo’s initial pandemic offering includes what it calls a “convenience package.”

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Inside the complimentary kits I found a bottle of water, a package of shortbread cookies, and a Purell wipe. It wasn’t much but anything is better than nothing and the flight was only an hour long.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

And shortly after, flight attendants passed around sparkling cider for an in-flight toast to Avelo.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Finding the right people to work as flight attendants and pilots was of high importance to Avelo in order to stand out among ultra-low-cost airlines.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

And it showed, all of Avelo’s in-flight crew were happy, smiling, and genuinely friendly.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

After a short speech by Levy, passengers raised their glasses to toast the airline.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

The rest of the flight continued smoothly as we sailed over California. So far, the consensus was that the aircraft wasn’t bad for an hour flight.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

New York to Los Angeles, as Spirit Airlines is planning to do in June, might be a stretch considering the lack of amenities and legroom. But Avelo is looking for a route network where flights are less than two hours.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Read More: Spirit is launching summer flights between LaGuardia Airport and Los Angeles, but a decades-old rule is limiting them to 1 day per week

It wasn’t before long before it was time to descend into Santa Rosa, and those on the left side of the aircraft facing forward were greeted to the best view of the Bay Area. San Francisco International Airport was the first landmark…

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Followed by San Francisco itself.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

California Wine Country soon came into view as we gradually descended into Santa Rosa’s Charles M. Schulz – Sonoma County Airport.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Like Burbank, only a handful of airlines serve Santa Rosa. And those that do only fly regional aircraft like the Embraer E175 and Bombardier Dash 8 Q400.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Avelo’s arrival was welcomed by the county, especially because it would bring more tourists to the region on the heels of the pandemic.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

As the seatbelt sign turned off, Levy was the first to rise. The first passenger flight of his new airline was complete, and it was a success.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Avelo touched down in Santa Rosa on time and with happy passengers.

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Sun Country is adding and growing 18 routes in a major expansion that will help shape it into the Midwest’s hometown airline

Sun Country Airlines
A Sun Country Airlines Boeing 737-800.

  • Sun Country Airlines is growing its ultra-low-cost route network to more cities outside of Minneapolis.
  • A total of 18 routes are being added and expanded to sun destinations in the US and abroad.
  • Arizona and Florida are the main focus but more flights to the Caribbean are being added.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sun Country Airlines is marching across the Midwest with 18 new and expanding routes in the next year that were just announced on Tuesday.

Fresh from its conversion to an ultra-low-cost carrier, the Minneapolis-based airline is growing its point-to-point route network outside of the Twin Cities. The goal is to win more customers amid a wave of leisure travelers returning to the skies in 2021.

Sun Country has long been Minneapolis’ hometown airline but these latest route additions are a sign the airline is setting itself up to be the Midwest’s hometown airline. Smaller towns across the region lack non-stop flights to leisure destinations but now cities like Rochester, Minnesota, and Green Bay, Wisconsin will see more direct links to the sunnier locales.

Florida and Arizona destinations are among the new routes but the expansion will also see Sun Country fly deeper into the Caribbean with new flights to Turks and Caicos and Grand Cayman. As Sun Country is now a low-cost airline, flyers can expect cheap fares and extra fees for amenities like advanced seat assignments and carry-on baggage.

Read More: Spirit Airlines’ low-cost model puts it in the perfect spot to be the big winner of the pandemic, a Deutsche Bank analyst says

Most of Sun Country’s competition on the Minneapolis-originating routes will be from Delta Air Lines, which maintains a hub in the city acquired in a merger with Northwest Airlines. But routes from Minneapolis comprise less than half of the expansion, with Sun Country facing no direct competition on other routes.

Here’s where Sun Country Airlines is flying in the next year.

Between Minneapolis and Phoenix

Phoenix Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona.

Flights between Minneapolis and Phoenix via Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport launch on November 24 with four-times-weekly weekender service on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The route to Phoenix’s secondary airport complements its existing route to the larger Sky Harbor International Airport.

No other airlines directly operate the route but Sun Country will have competition from Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Spirit Airlines that operate the route from Sky Harbor International.

Between Minneapolis and Bozeman, Montana

Bozeman
Bozeman, Montana.

Flights between Minneapolis and Bozeman, Montana continue on December 16 with twice-weekly weekender service on Thursdays and Sundays. Bozeman has been growing in popularity during the pandemic as a year-round socially distant destination.

Delta will be Sun Country’s sole competition on the route.

Between Minneapolis and St. Petersburg, Florida

St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg, Florida.

Flights between Minneapolis and St. Petersburg, Florida launch on November 25 with four-times-weekly service on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays. St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport is a smaller alternative to Tampa International Airport, just across the Old Tampa Bay, complementing Sun Country’s existing route to the city.

No other airlines directly operate the route but Delta, Spirit, Southwest, and Frontier Airlines fly non-stop to nearby Tampa.

Between Minneapolis and Punta Gorda, Florida

Punta Gorda Florida
Punta Gorda, Florida.

Flights between Minneapolis and Punta Gorda, Florida launch on December 10 with twice-weekly weekender service on Mondays and Sundays.

No other airlines directly operate the route.

Between Minneapolis and George Town, Grand Cayman

grand cayman, cayman islands, shopping area
George Town, Grand Cayman.

Flights between Minneapolis and Grand Cayman launch on December 18 with twice-weekly service on Mondays and Fridays.

Delta will be Sun Country’s sole competition on the route.

Between Minneapolis and Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

providenciales turks and caicos
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos.

Flights between Minneapolis and Providenciales, Turks and Caicos launch on December 18 with once-weekly service on Saturdays only.

No other airlines directly operate the route

Between Duluth, Minnesota and Fort Myers, Florida

fort myers
Fort Myers, Florida.

Flights between Duluth, Minnesota and Fort Myers, Florida launch on December 17 with twice-weekly weekender service on Mondays and Fridays.

No other airlines directly operate the route

Between Duluth, Minnesota and Phoenix

phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona.

Flights between Duluth and Phoenix launch on December 17 with twice-weekly weekender service on Mondays and Fridays.

No other airlines directly operate the route

Between Green Bay, Wisconsin and Fort Myers, Florida

Fort Myers Florida
Fort Myers, Florida.

Flights between Green Bay, Wisconsin and Fort Myers, Florida launch on December 16 with twice-weekly weekender service on Thursdays and Sundays.

No other airlines directly operate the route.

Between Green Bay, Wisconsin and Phoenix

Phoenix Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona.

Flights between Green Bay and Phoenix launch on December 17 with twice-weekly weekender service on Mondays and Fridays.

No other airlines directly operate the route.

Between Madison, Wisconsin and Phoenix

phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona.

Flights between Madison, Wisconsin and Phoenix launch on December 16 with twice-weekly weekender service on Thursdays and Sundays.

American will be Sun Country’s only competition on the route.

Between Milwaukee and Minneapolis

minneapolis minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Flights between Milwaukee and Minneapolis launch on August 26 with twice-weekly weekender service on Thursdays and Sundays. The route will help connect Milwaukeeans to Sun Country’s greater route network.

Delta will be Sun Country’s only competition on the route.

Between Milwaukee and Cancun, Mexico

Cancun, Mexico
Cancun, Mexico.

Flights between Milwaukee and Cancun, Mexico launch on December 18 with once-weekly service on Saturdays only.

No other airlines directly operate the route.

Between Milwaukee and Las Vegas

Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada.

Flights between Milwaukee and Las Vegas launch on August 26 with twice-weekly weekender service on Thursdays and Sundays.

Frontier, Southwest, and Spirit will be Sun Country’s competition on the route.

Between Milwaukee and Fort Myers, Florida

Fort Meyers, Florida
Fort Myers, Florida.

Flights between Milwaukee and Fort Myers launch on December 15 with twice-weekly weekender service on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Frontier, Southwest, and United Airlines will be Sun Country’s competition on the route.

Between Milwaukee and Phoenix

arizona
Phoenix, Arizona.

Flights between Milwaukee and Phoenix launch on December 16 with twice-weekly weekender service on Thursdays and Sundays.

American and Southwest will be Sun Country’s competition on the route.

Between Rochester, Minnesota and Fort Myers, Florida

Fort Myers pier
Fort Myers, Florida.

Flights between Rochester, Minnesota and Fort Myers launch on February 3, 2022, with twice-weekly weekender service on Thursdays and Sundays.

No other airlines directly operate the route.

Between Rochester, Minnesota and Phoenix

Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona.

Flights between Rochester and Phoenix launch on February 4, 2022, with twice-weekly weekender service on Mondays and Fridays.

No other airlines directly operate the route.

Read the original article on Business Insider

After taking 13 flights on Frontier Airlines, I’ve figured how to get the best experience for the cheapest price. Here’s what to know.

Flying Frontier Airlines during pandemic
Flying Frontier Airlines during the pandemic.

  • Frontier Airlines boasts cheap tickets but fares can quickly add up with extra fees.
  • Everything from advanced seat assignments to carry-on bags incurs a fee.
  • I’ve taken 13 flights on Frontier and know how to make the most of flying on the low-cost carrier.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Frontier Airlines is one of the country’s fastest-growing airlines with a sprawling network that always seems to be adding new routes.

The airline’s strategy is offering flyers cheap non-stop flights to leisure destinations, and that’s in demand now that Americans are raring to get back in the air following an extended pandemic. But while Frontier may fly the same type of aircraft as its full-service competitors like American Airlines and United Airlines, the onboard product couldn’t be any different.

Read More: Spirit Airlines’ low-cost model puts it in the perfect spot to be the big winner of the pandemic, a Deutsche Bank analyst says

As with any ultra-low-cost carrier, Frontier is built for savings and that’s reflected in every aspect of the flying experience. Seats, for example, are bare-bones with minimal padding, menial tray tables, and as little as 28 inches of legroom on some planes, according to SeatGuru. But that doesn’t mean flights can’t be enjoyable.

Frontier flies from my local airport on Long Island in New York and I’ve had many an opportunity to journey on the ultra-low-cost carrier by taking advantage of its rock-bottom pricing. In my years of flying the airline, I don’t think I’ve paid more than $30 for a round-trip flight when traversing the East Coast as far south as Miami and have had a good experience nearly every time.

Here’s what you need to know when flying Frontier in order to get the best experience.

Know what you’re paying for

Flying Frontier Airlines during pandemic
Flying Frontier Airlines during the pandemic.

Flyers should know that their $15 one-way ticket isn’t going to get them much more than a ticket to ride. Everything from an advanced seat assigned to the drinks onboard the aircraft is going to incur an extra fee.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you know what to pay for and what not to pay for. Personal items like a backpack can fly free of charge and so I avoid the baggage fees by skipping the carry-on and using a backpack for my items if the trip allows.

The seats onboard Frontier are also unlike anything passengers would find on a full-service airline. They’re thin “slimline” seats with no headrests, in-seat power, or even full-size tray tables. Legroom is also significantly reduced, which can make for an uncomfortable ride for taller passengers.

Ultimately, they’re not the most comfortable but I also know my limits when flying an airline like Frontier. I tend to get squirmish when flying Frontier after around three hours, especially if in a crowded row, so I wouldn’t generally book a flight longer than that.

Flyers wanting the extras can pay for them and those wanting seats comparable to a full-service carrier can book “stretch” seats in the first few rows of the cabin. They include full tray tables, extra legroom, and full recline capabilities.

Travelers with too high of expectations will ultimately be disappointed by Frontier but I’ve found that managing those expectations will result in a better experience.

Why I never pay for a seat and how to get a better one for free

Flying Frontier Airlines during pandemic
Flying Frontier Airlines during the pandemic.

I’ve taken 13 flights on Frontier and I’ve only been assigned a middle seat a total of one time. The science isn’t exactly clear on how Frontier randomly assigns leftover seats but my trick is checking in exactly 24 hours in advance and I’m typically given an aisle or window seat.

I prefer a window seat and so I always check with the gate agent to see if any have opened up if I’m assigned an aisle or middle. The gate staff are usually more than willing to help out and will often assign the closest open seat to the front.

And now with the pandemic, I ask if any full rows are open. On my most recent flight from Las Vegas to Seattle, a near-three-hour journey, I asked if there were any full rows open for social distancing and managed to get a row closer to the front all to myself.

As I found when flying basic economy to Europe in January 2020, there’s very little you can’t get for free when asking politely, even when flying on the cheapest ticket.

Why I subscribe to Discount Den and how to get it for “free”

Flying Frontier Airlines during pandemic
Flying Frontier Airlines during the pandemic.

Discount Den is a paid membership product where customers get discounts on flights in exchange for a $59.99 annual fee. It’s separate from the MyFrontier loyalty program and perks can include discounts, free tickets for children, and buy one, get ones.

The savings are more pronounced on more expensive flights as the cheaper flights in Frontier’s network will only see a modest savings of only a few dollars. A $95 flight I booked from Islip, New York to Phoenix in June, however, was only $77 thanks to the program. The $18 savings was around a third of the annual fee so if I had two more flights with that amount of savings, I’d break even.

But I didn’t outright pay to join the program. I joined in January and discovered that I could use travel credit from a Frontier flight that I had canceled during the pandemic to pay for it, but only if I bought the membership while booking a flight.

Frontier sometimes offers signup bonuses when joining the program to make it an even better value. I signed up and was given a $50 voucher to fly on Frontier so the program basically paid for itself.

The only downside is that there are no perks when actually flying. I still have to pay for a seat, I don’t get to board any earlier, and I don’t receive any baggage allowance. But the discounts I get do help offset the cost of buying extras like a seat assignment or carry-on bag if I absolutely need them.

Frontier’s pandemic safety measures

Flying Frontier Airlines during pandemic
Flying Frontier Airlines during the pandemic.

Like most major US airlines, Frontier flyers must wear masks when flying and acknowledge a health declaration that basically says flyers haven’t contracted COVID-19 recently and haven’t been exposed to the virus. But that’s about where the similarities stop.

All travelers flying Frontier must submit to a temperature screening at boarding. If a flyer shows a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, they’ll be denied boarding.

On the plane, Frontier has not blocked middle seats and does not proactively notify of full flights. Customers are also on their own to social distance, either by asking the gate agent to move to an empty row or asking the flight attendant to be re-seated.

The in-flight service has also been suspended with no snacks or drinks, besides bottles of water, available for purchase. Bottles of water are available on request for $2.99 or flyers can bring their own drinks from the terminal.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Southwest just added dozens of new leisure routes across the US in a major bid to get travelers back in the skies this summer – here’s the full list

Southwest Airlines 737
A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737.

  • Southwest Airlines is adding 31 new routes to its network this spring and summer.
  • Austin, Texas and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina are the focus of the expansions.
  • Additional non-stop routes are being added between secondary cities and vacation destinations.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Southwest Airlines is going all-in on the summer of vaccinated travel.

A countrywide expansion is seeing 31 new routes added to the airline’s already-sprawling leisure network with the hopes of getting more travelers to ditch road trips and get back in the skies this summer. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is a major focus of the expansion and is getting its first routes since Southwest announced service to the beach town in early March.

Austin, Texas, is also in Southwest’s crosshairs with seven new routes to keep up with expanding competition. The tech boomtown has most recently been the target of American Airlines, which recently announced 10 new and expanding routes from Austin.

Read More: These 9 firms pay Austin-based software engineers upwards of $250,000 – and they’re hiring. Here are salaries and job postings at Google, Apple, Dell, and more.

But travelers don’t have to live in or frequent Austin and Myrtle Beach to get in on the action as Southwest is adding new point-to-point routes between secondary cities and popular vacation spots.

Returning Southwest flyers will also notice the airline has brought back some of its pre-pandemic amenities. Passengers now board aircraft in groups of 30 instead of groups of 10 and soft drinks including Coke, Diet Coke, and 7UP are now being served in addition to ice water during the in-flight service.

Here’s where Southwest Airlines is flying in 2021.

Between Myrtle Beach and Baltimore

baltimore maryland
Baltimore, Maryland.

Flights between Myrtle Beach and Baltimore launch on May 23 with as many as three daily flights. Southwest’s only competition on the route will be from ultra-low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines.

Between Myrtle Beach and Chicago

chicago illinois
Chicago, Illinois.

Flights between Myrtle Beach and Chicago launch on May 23 with one daily flight to Chicago’s Midway International Airport. Southwest’s competition on the route will be from Spirit, United Airlines, and American Airlines, all three of which connect Myrtle Beach to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

Between Myrtle Beach and Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville
Nashville, Tennessee.

Flights between Myrtle Beach and Nashville launch on May 23 with two daily flights. Southwest will have no direct competition on the route.

Between Myrtle Beach and Dallas

dallas
Dallas, Texas.

Flights between Myrtle Beach and Dallas launch on May 29 with one round-trip flight operating only on Saturdays, utilizing Dallas Love Field. Southwest’s only competition on the route will be from American Airlines, which connects Myrtle Beach with Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Between Myrtle Beach and Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Flights between Myrtle Beach and Pittsburgh launch on May 29 with one round-trip flight operating only on Saturdays. Southwest’s only competition on the route will be from ultra-low-cost carriers Spirit and Allegiant Air.

Between Myrtle Beach and Atlanta

Atlanta Georgia skyline
Atlanta, Georgia.

Flights between Myrtle Beach and Atlanta launch on June 6 with one daily flight. Southwest’s only competition on the route will be from Delta Air Lines, Atlanta’s hometown airline that offers as many as five daily flights to Myrtle Beach.

Between Myrtle Beach and Columbus, Ohio

columbus ohio
Columbus, Ohio.

Flights between Myrtle Beach and Columbus, Ohio, launch on June 6 with one daily flight. Southwest’s only competition on the route will be from Spirit, which offers three-times-weekly service between the two cities.

Between Myrtle Beach and Indianapolis

indianapolis indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana.

Flights between Myrtle Beach and Indianapolis launch on June 6 with five-weekly flights on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Southwest’s only competition on the route will be from Allegiant, which offers twice-weekly service between the two cities.

Between Myrtle Beach and Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri.

Flights between Myrtle Beach and Kansas City, Missouri, launch on June 6 with twice-weekly service on Saturdays and Sundays. Southwest’s only competition on the route will be from Spirit, which offers three-times-weekly service between the two cities.

Between Myrtle Beach and St. Louis

st. louis missouri
St. Louis, Missouri.

Flights between Myrtle Beach and St. Louis launch on June 6 with twice-weekly service on Saturdays and Sundays. Southwest’s only competition on the route will surprisingly be from United, which will offer three-times-weekly service between the two cities on May 28.

Between Austin and Sacramento, California

sacramento
Sacramento, California.

Flights between Austin and Sacramento, California, launch on May 9 with one daily flight. Southwest will have no direct competition on the route.

Between Austin and Burbank, California

ABC Burbank California
Burbank, California.

Flights between Austin and Burbank, California, launch on June 6 with one daily flight. Southwest will have no direct competition on the route.

Between Austin and Miami

Miami, Florida
Miami, Florida.

Flights between Austin and Miami launch on June 6 with one daily flight. Southwest’s only competition on the route will be from American, which offers as many as four daily flights on the route.

Miami has been experiencing an increase in visitors and new residents during the pandemic as Florida has remained largely open since last spring. Southwest began service to Miami International Airport in November, which Insider experienced on a recent flight.

Between Austin and Minneapolis

minneapolis minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Flights between Austin and Minneapolis launch on June 6 with one daily flight. Southwest’s competition on the route will be from Delta, which offers as many as three daily flights on the route, and ultra-low-cost carrier Sun Country Airlines, Minneapolis’ hometown airline.

Between Austin and Orange County, California

newport beach
Newport Beach, California.

Flights between Austin and Orange County, California, launch on June 6 with one daily flight. Southwest will have no direct competition on the route.

Between Austin and Salt Lake City

salt lake city utah
Salt Lake City, Utah.

Flights between Austin and Salt Lake City launch on June 6 with one daily flight. Southwest’s competition on the route will be from Delta, which offers as many as three daily flights on the route and connections across its intercontinental network.

Between Austin and Destin, Florida

Destin, Florida
Destin, Florida.

Flights between Austin and Destin, Florida, launch on June 6 with twice-weekly service on Saturdays and Sundays. Southwest’s competition on the route will be from American, which added Saturday-only Destin service in its most recent route expansion from Austin, and Allegiant, which offers twice-weekly service starting May 28.

Between Denver and Richmond, Virginia

richmond virginia
Richmond, Virginia.

Flights between Denver and Richmond, Virginia, launch on May 9 with one daily flight. Southwest’s competition on the route will be from United, which offers daily flights between the two cities.

Between Las Vegas and Palm Springs, California

palm springs
Palm Springs, California.

Flights between Las Vegas and Palm Springs, California, launch on May 9 with one daily flight. Southwest will have no direct competition on the route.

Between St. Louis and Miami

miami beach
Miami, Florida.

Flights between St. Louis and Miami launch on May 9 with daily service. Southwest’s only competition on the route will be from American, which also offers daily flights between the two cities.

Between Nashville and Long Island, New York

Montauk Point, Long Island, New York
Montauk, New York.

Flights between Nashville and Long Island, New York, launch on June 6 with daily service. Southwest will have no direct competition on the route.

Between Chicago and Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine
Portland, Maine

Flights between Chicago and Portland, Maine, launch on June 6 with daily service. Southwest’s competition on the route will be from United and American, both of which offer daily flights from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

Between Dallas and Bozeman, Montana

Bozeman
Bozeman, Montana.

Flights between Dallas and Bozeman, Montana, launch on June 6 with twice-weekly flights operating on Saturdays and Sundays. Southwest’s only competition on the route will be from American, which offers daily flights to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Between Phoenix and Bozeman, Montana

Bozeman, Montana
Bozeman, Montana.

Flights between Phoenix and Bozeman, Montana, launch on June 6 with twice-weekly flights operating on Saturdays and Sundays. Southwest’s only competition on the route will be from American, which offers daily flights.

Between Chicago and Bozeman, Montana

Bozeman, Montana
Bozeman, Montana.

Flights between Chicago and Bozeman, Montana, launch on June 6 with twice-weekly flights operating on Saturdays and Sundays. Southwest’s competition on the route will be from United and American, which offer daily flights to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

Between Kansas City, Missouri, and Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston south carolina
Bozeman, Montana.

Flights between Kansas City and Charleston launch on June 12 with one round-trip flight operating only on Saturdays. Southwest will have no direct competition on the route.

Between Dallas and Sarasota, Florida

Siesta Key beach at Sarasota, Florida
Sarasota, Florida.

Flights between Dallas and Sarasota launch on June 12 with one round-trip flight operating only on Saturdays, utilizing Dallas Love Field. Southwest’s only competition on the route will be from American, which offers daily flights between the two cities from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Between Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Sarasota, Florida

Sarasota, Florida
Sarasota, Florida.

Flights between Grand Rapids and Sarasota launch on June 12 with one round-trip flight operating only on Saturdays. Southwest’s only competition on the route will be from Allegiant, which offers twice-weekly flights between the two cities.

Between Milwaukee and Destin, Florida

destin florida
Destin, Florida.

Flights between Milwaukee and Destin launch on June 12 with one round-trip flight operating only on Saturdays. Southwest will have no direct competition on the route.

Between Salt Lake City and Tampa, Florida

Tampa, Florida
Tampa, Florida.

Flights between Salt Lake City and Tampa launch on June 12 with one round-trip flight operating only on Saturdays. Southwest’s competition on the route will be from Delta, which offers daily flights between the two cities.

Between Las Vegas and Chicago

Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada.

Flights between Las Vegas and Chicago launch on May 9 with four-times-weekly flights on Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays, and Mondays to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Southwest will have no shortage of competition on the route including American, United, Spirit, and Frontier.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Spirit is launching summer flights between LaGuardia Airport and Los Angeles, but a decades-old rule is limiting them to 1 day per week

Spirit Airlines Airbus A320neo flight
A Spirit Airlines Airbus A320neo.

  • LaGuardia Airport is getting new flights to Los Angeles; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Nashville, Tennessee.
  • Flights to Los Angeles and San Juan will only run on Saturdays thanks to a decades-old rule.
  • Any flight longer than 1,500 nautical miles from LaGuardia Airport can only fly on Saturdays, with one exception.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Transcontinental flying between New York and Los Angeles is going low-cost.

Spirit Airlines plans to launch flights between New York’s LaGuardia Airport and Los Angeles International Airport this summer from June 12 to September 4. Flight NK2151 departs New York at 7:20 a.m. and arrives in Los Angeles at 10:30 a.m. with the return flight, NK2152, departing at 1:30 p.m. and arriving back in New York at 10:05 p.m.

The timing makes it possible to jet off from LaGuardia, have a quick meeting in Los Angeles (or a bite to eat and plane spotting at the In-and-Out Burger next to Los Angeles International), and make it back to New York in the same day.

The catch, however, is that flights will only operate on Saturdays.

A 1984 rule from the airport’s operator, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, limits how far flights from LaGuardia can be at 1,500 nautical miles. Denver is the only exception and flights can be flown to the Colorado capital any day of the week.

Countless airlines have tried to make Saturday-only flights to far-off destinations work with varying degrees of success. United Airlines once flew non-stop between LaGuardia and Montrose, Colorado and Southwest offered flights to Phoenix. Both routes have not returned to the airport.

American Airlines, however, currently flies to Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Aruba in the Caribbean on a Saturday-only basis.

The Airbus A320neo, Spirit’s flagship aircraft, will serve the new transcontinental route and feature the airline’s latest seat products, as Insider found on a recent trip from Newark to Boston.

Read more: Spirit Airlines’ low-cost model puts it in the perfect spot to be the big winner of the pandemic, a Deutsche Bank analyst says

Spirit will also fly from New York to San Juan, Puerto Rico on a Saturday-only basis starting on April 17, as well as daily to Nashville, Tennessee starting May 5. The ultra-low-cost carrier will be the only airline offering flights to San Juan and Los Angeles from LaGuardia, as of now.

LaGuardia will also see a terminal shakeup with Spirit flights for Fort Lauderdale moving to Terminal A, also known as the Marine Air Terminal, on April 28. Currently home to JetBlue Airways, LaGuardia’s smallest terminal is a holdover from the early days of New York City aviation and boasts short walking distances from the curb to any gate.

Flights to Los Angeles, San Juan, and Nashville, as well as Spirit’s existing destinations besides Fort Lauderdale, will still use Terminal C, home to Delta Air Lines.

None of Spirit’s flights will use the nearly-completed Terminal B which now features an entirely new Arrivals and Departures Hall and two new concourses.

Read the original article on Business Insider