Spirit Expanding in Dallas Again, Going Head to Head with American and United

Spirit Airlines is expanding in Dallas again, continuing their expansion on American’s home turf. The Florida based carrier is adding flights between Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport, American’s largest hub and home airport, and Houston’s Bush-Intercontinental Airport. This comes on the heels of an announcement earlier in April where they added five new routes from DFW.

a yellow airplane on a tarmac
Spirit Continues to Add Service at Dallas/Ft. Worth, Directly Competing with American

Spirit Attacking American Head-On

When Spirit announced they would fly between Dallas and San Antonio I found the route to be odd. The two cities are less than 300 miles and you can make the drive in about 4 hours. Passengers on ultra-low-cost carriers (ULCCs) are typically driven by price only. On this route, there is likely very limited origin and destination traffic between the two city pairs for Spirit. Instead, the airline timed the flights to focus on connections in Dallas.

This most recent route update sees Spirit flying 2x daily between DFW and IAH on a route that is even shorter (250 miles) by car. Once again, the timing of the Spirit flights point to routing traffic via DFW on connecting itineraries.

The flights are scheduled to begin on August 14th and will operate on the following schedule:

NK 3723 Departs: 12:55p Arrives: 2:10p
NK 3958 Departs: 7:28p Arrives: 8:28p

NK 3716 Departs: 6:00a Arrives: 7:15a
 3724 Departs: 3:04p Arrives: 4:19p

These additional flights add to the already high number of daily flights between the two cities. Spirit will be the 4th airline on the route, competing with American, United, and fellow ULCC Frontier. Combined, the 4 carriers will operate roughly 24 daily flights between Dallas and Houston.

a yellow airplane on a runway
Lots of competition on the DFW to Houston Route

While this is already an extremely high number of flights, if you factor in flying from Southwest and JSX at nearby Dallas-Love and Houston-Hobby, there will be almost 50 daily flights. This is great news for travelers as the ULCCs will likely drive down flight prices across the board.

Betting Big on Dallas

The most recent round of Spirit expansion brings the airline up to almost 30 non-stop destinations from DFW. While they can’t compete with the number of destinations and frequencies American offers, this is no small operation. Spirit also has an operating base at DFW to facilitate all of this growth.

Spirit is expanding in Dallas while cutting routes elsewhere in the country as they deal with aircraft shortages caused by ongoing Pratt & Whitney engine issues. They obviously see potential in the Dallas market to continue to expand but, the Houston and San Antonio routes will face stiff competition from American, Southwest, and United.


Spirit is clearly bullish on Dallas/Ft. Worth and has no qualms going up against legacy carriers on very competitive routes. The airline will link American’s largest hub with United’s Houston hub 2x daily beginning in August. Thanks to @IshrionA for flagging this!

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