Spirit Expands at DFW with Five New Routes

Spirit Airlines announced that they will be expanding at Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW) by adding five new routes starting July 15th.

The Florida based ultra-low cost carrier (ULCC) already has a sizeable route map out of DFW with service to 25 destinations. The airline will now add flights to Columbus (CMH), Kansas City (MCI) Memphis (MEM), Milwaukee (MKE) and San Antonio (SAT). All of the added routes will be sub-daily with the exception of San Antonio which will operate 2x daily.

What’s the Strategy with San Antonio?

The San Antonio flights are the real head scratcher here as American currently flies the relatively short route up to 13 times a day. I was a frequent flyer of this route and have flown it over 100 times on American when I was DFW based. I jokingly nicknamed this flight the “Consultant Express” as they were always filled with business travelers and upgrade lists would stretch into the high double digits on most flights.

Many of these travelers are connecting to/from a variety of destinations through American’s massive DFW hub. Spirit, as a ULCC, caters more towards leisure travelers and more cost-conscious passengers.

a Spirit Airlines plane at DFW Airport
Spirit is adding flights and increasing competition on American’s home turf.

The distance between Dallas/Ft. Worth and San Antonio is less than 300 miles and you can make the drive in about 4 hours. For travelers driven primarily by cost, driving is a far better option, especially if traveling with multiple people.

From a route perspective, Spirit is likely looking to fill this flight with connecting traffic. The schedule appears optimized to get passengers to/from San Antonio rather than DFW. The flights will operate on the following schedule:

NK 3706 Departs: 5:00a Arrives: 5:50a
3700 Departs: 3:50p Arrives: 4:40p

NK 3705 Departs: 1:20p Arrives: 2:15p
NK 3699 Departs: 10:10p Arrives: 11:05p

It will be interesting to see what the loads are like on this route and how much connecting traffic the airline can siphon off. With delivery delays, engine issues, and the airline’s financial woes, they must see enough value here to add this line to their route map.

Special thanks to IshrionA for flagging this.


Spirit Airlines is expanding and going head to head against American on five new routes. Of all the new routes, San Antonio is getting the most service and have the most competition from American. Only time will tell if the airline can get enough connecting traffic to make this route work long term.

What do you make of Spirit’s expanded presence in Dallas?

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