ducing a basic fare option would be “a huge mistake”
because the airline has built its brand around a simple,
fee-free fare and passenger experience model. Tinkering
with that business model would risk the revenue stream
and customer loyalty, he said.
“We like to say at Southwest there is no second class
[and] in addition to that we strive to keep the customer
experience and the product ofering as simple as possible
… Complexity drives confusion and it clouds the brand.
So what you have at Southwest is a very strong brand positioning in customers’ minds that we stand for friendliness, reliability and low fares. Te whole ‘free bags and no
change fees’ becomes a very powerful component of all
that,” Kelly told analysts.
But for American, Delta and United, the market—and
their responses—continue to evolve and become more
Te ULCCs are also successful beyond the US borders.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Spirit has large and growing Caribbean and Mexican markets. Denver, Colorado-based Frontier operates to Mexico and has resumed service to the Canadian market
Further complicating the ULCC versus legacy picture,
A major move this year was Frontier’s codeshare part-
nership with Mexico City ultra-LCC Volaris. Te code-
share started in early August and added 12 more Mexi-
can cities to Frontier’s network and 53 more US cities to
Volaris’ network, Frontier SVP commercial Daniel Shurz
said during the Boyd Group International Aviation Fore-
cast Summit in Denver in August.
Shurz also noted that the codeshare takes Volaris into
Cancun, which Frontier serves but Volaris did not.
Overall, Frontier has grown its network from 54 cities in 2017 to 99 this year. It has also restarted Canada
service with a Denver-Calgary route. “It’s an experiment,”
Shurz said. “We are interested to see how we can make
that transborder market work.”
While maintaining its low costs and “very low fares,”
Shurz said the airline was “changing a lot” with the aim
of “building a diferent type of product as an ultra-low
As an Indigo Partners carrier, Frontier is set to take de-
livery of 100 Airbus A320neos and 34 A321neos.
As it grows its feet and network, Frontier is adapting
its loyalty program, called Frontier Miles, and begun ofering new ancillary product bundles. For example, a “Works”
bundle, which must be purchased on Frontier.com when
the ticket is bought, is fully refundable and includes a
carry-on bag, checked bag, priority boarding and seat
Te Frontier Miles program, meanwhile, has additional tiers and allows families to pool their miles.
At the frst tier, Elite 20k, passengers get free carry-on
bags and pre-assigned seats.
“Almost all the major airlines have gone to dollar-based mileage programs, with elite status harder to
achieve,” Shurz said. “Te main carriers have alienated the moderate traveler who fies two or three times
a year. At Frontier, a mile fown is a mile earned. We
“You don’t try to be different just to be different; you try to look for a
competitive advantage.” Bob Fornaro, Spirit Airlines CEO