A low cost carrier battle is brewing in Puerto Rico.
In recent weeks, Frontier and Spirit Airlines both announced five new routes out of the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport (SJU) in Puerto Rico, set to start this spring, with low introductory fares to entice travelers.
The airlines’ bare-bones service and tight seating configuration typically do well in leisure destinations like Puerto Rico, but analysts and industry watchers have questioned whether there’s enough demand for travel to and from the island to support so much new service.
The airlines will go head-to-head on a few of the new routes, and others represent one of the carriers trying to compete in a market where the other is already established.
Tell us your story:Mobility device lost or damaged by an airline? USA TODAY wants to hear about it
A local’s beach guide to Puerto Rico:Which beaches to visit, what to know in San Juan, Culebra and more
Spirit Airlines’ new Puerto Rico routes
Spirit Airlines will add service between SJU and Atlanta (ATL), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Detroit (DTW) and Chicago (ORD) on May 5, and Hartford (BDL) on June 7.
The airline is also planning to increase service between Puerto Rico and some of its existing destinations in the coming months. Baltimore, Newark and Fort Lauderdale will be bumped to double daily flights this spring, and Orlando will move to five round trips per day to San Juan.
“Spirit Airlines has served the Puerto Rican community for more than two decades, offering affordable fares to connect family and friends across the United States,” John Kirby, vice president of network planning at Spirit Airlines said in a statement. “We continue our San Juan growth with five new nonstop routes, reaffirming our commitment to the island and making it even easier to travel more often.”
A comfier ride:Spirit Airlines will offer new wider seats with more padding
To promote the new routes, Spirit is offering one-way fares as low as $59 between Atlanta and Dallas and San Juan, with $69 fares available on the Chicago flights, $74 on the Hartford route and $79 between San Juan and Detroit.
Keep in mind Spirit fares typically do not include checked or carry-on luggage, seat selection or onboard refreshments. Those can all be purchased for an additional fee.
Frontier Airlines’ new Puerto Rico routes
Frontier Airlines, which already serves Spirit’s new destinations in Atlanta from San Juan, will also add flights to Detroit, Dallas-Fort Worth and Chicago (MDW) as well as Cleveland and Baltimore in May.
The Baltimore and Dallas flights will be daily, while Cleveland and Detroit will see four round trips per week, and Chicago will get six round trips per week.
Frontier is also planning to add service from San Juan to Cancún, Mexico.
The airline is also planning to add thrice-weekly service between Ponce and Orlando, and Tampa and Aguadilla, both set to begin on May 4.
“Puerto Rico is a hugely popular destination for leisure travelers as well as the large population of Puerto Ricans residing in the U.S. who enjoy returning to the island to visit friends and family,” Daniel Shurz, senior vice president, commercial at Frontier Airlines, said in a statement. “For those with family and friends on the island, we’re offering more options than ever to fly affordably and conveniently between a multitude of major cities and Puerto Rico.”
Stay safe:Even if the seatbelt sign is off, you should stay buckled up while flying. Here’s why.
Frontier is promoting the new flights with $69 one-way fares on all the flights to and from San Juan, except Baltimore which has $59 one-way fares available.
The new services at Ponce and Aguadilla, meanwhile, are starting off with promotional $49 fares.
Like Spirit, Frontier’s fares typically do not include checked or carry-on luggage, seat selection or onboard refreshments, but those can all be purchased for an additional fee.