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Frontier Announces $6 Billion Merger with Spirit; FlyerTalkers Weigh In

Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines want to create the nation’s largest ultra-low-cost carrier through a merger which would offer over 1,000 daily flights to 19 nations.
Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines want to combine to create the largest ultra-low-cost airline in the United States – one which would operate over 350 Airbus aircraft, employ over 15,000 people, and offer more than 1,000 daily flights to 145 destinations in 19 countries.


The two carriers announced their intention to merge before markets opened on Monday, February 7, 2022.


Combined Carrier Promises $1 Billion in Annual Savings, More Service to Smaller Airports

The merger is being sold to the public as a combination of two very similar airlines with a mission to make air travel more accessible across the country. Both carriers operate a fleet of Airbus A320-family aircraft (with Frontier recently listed among the carriers with the world’s youngest fleets), both cut fares through a schedule of ancillary fees, and both are associated with aviation investment private equity firm Indigo Partners. The Phoenix-based company held a stake in Spirit until 2013, when the firm purchased Frontier from Republic Airways.


“We are thrilled to join forces with Frontier to further democratize air travel,” Spirit president and CEO Ted Christie said in a press release. “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.”


The merger is expected to close in the second half of 2022. The deal is subject to approval by both the U.S. Departments of Justice and Transportation. Flyers can learn more about the proposed transaction at https://evenmoreultralowfares.com.


FlyerTalk Weighs In: Fears of Higher Fares, Worse Customer Experience

Although the airlines are painting a rosy picture of their future, FlyerTalkers are less optimistic on the future of the ultra-low-cost carrier space. On the forums, the biggest concerns include undoing many of the changes made to Frontier Miles and Free Spirit, along with a long and messy marriage.


“I fear higher fares as no reason to compete with each other and changes to Frontier loyalty program to be more in line with Spirit,” writes FlyerTalker ericjenrique. “No free stretch seating for elites and status obtained by fare spending instead of actual miles. I now question whether it is worth trying to fly 100k miles this year in order to keep 100k elite status for next year.”


“This merger transition should be an absolute mess for everyone involved,” opines FlyerTalker Tino. “Take two money-losing airlines with awful operations, IT systems and customer interfaces and smash them together. The only thing they have going for them is the similar Airbus lineup between the two.”


“I think the merger isn’t consumer friendly as it will result in higher fares, and the operational meltdowns will affect more passengers,” writes FlyerTalker beyondhere. “In the past, if Spirit had a meltdown, at least it wasn’t at the same time Frontier was having one.”


Where do you stand on the possible Frontier-Spirit merger? Share your opinion on the FlyerTalk forums!


Feature image courtesy: Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines

dliesse February 10, 2022

I oppose any type of merger on general principles.  They are essentially never good for the customer, nor for the employee.  When private capital is invovled it's even worse.

DFW_Airwolf February 10, 2022

While many lambast this, I see this as just another step toward what all the Cheap Skate Flyers have been asking for and not actually realizing it. Everyone says they want Beer Budget Fares with Champagne Service. SORRY, but that is not a feasible business model. Everything costs someone something. Going to end up being Cheapo Fares with everything beyond the Basic Transportation an Additional Fee Item. You know things like Baggage Fee's, Change Fee, Drink Fee's etc. Dont like it, pay a Higher Fare and get those things included with a Full Service Airline and not just a simple jettnie type service.

BC Shelby February 9, 2022

“We are thrilled to join forces with Frontier to further democratize air travel,” 

...consolidating eliminates choices which does the opposite.

Danwriter February 9, 2022

Big Front Seat was the only reason to even consider Spirit. Perhaps it's an opportunity for these ULCCs to create a separate experience in the front.

u600213 February 9, 2022

Start a lounge program, name it Fight Club