[Update: Spirit Shareholders Reject Frontier Merger] Frontier And Spirit Plan To Merge And Create An Even Larger Terrible Airline

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Update: After nearly 6 months of back and forth offers as Frontier and JetBlue improved their bids to acquire Spirit, Frontier refused to improve their last offer and Spirit shareholders have rejected Frontier’s merger offer. Spirit’s board, which has strongly preferred merging with Frontier, will now consider whether to merge with JetBlue or remain an independent airline.

Originally posted on 2/7:

Frontier and Spirit announced today that they plan on merging to create the 5th largest US airline. Frontier will control 51.5% of the combined company. The airlines hope to complete the merger in the second half of this year.

The ultra low cost carriers are famous for their poor customer service and customer unfriendly policies.

I always Say, Friends Don’t Let Friends Fly Spirit (Or Frontier).

Yes, their flights will often get you to where you want to go. But when things go bad, they go spectacularly bad. If things go wrong on United you can get moved to American or Delta. But when you book travel on an ultra low cost carrier, they won’t rebook you on another airline.

Just last week, Frontier announced they would match Spirit in only allowing 40 pound checked bags, even after you pay for their pricey checked luggage.

The ultra low cost carriers have created a culture of racing to the bottom that other airlines have felt the need to copy, which has spawned awful products like basic economy.

Only Southwest seems immune to that race to the bottom, while once proud airlines like JetBlue go down a rabbit hole of product devaluations to the point that they no longer resemble anything close to what they were originally created to do. No wonder David Neeleman is trying again.

JetBlue was just ranked by the WSJ as the worst airline in the US by overall 2021 performance at number 9, while Frontier and Spirit came in at number 6 and 8. Frontier was tied with American at number 6. There is a noticeable difference in operational performance between the top 4 and the bottom 5:

The merger will have to clear regulatory hurdles, but given that Delta, American, United, Southwest, and Alaska have all gone through recent mergers, it would be surprising if the merger was rejected. Then again, regulators may feel that they have approved too many airline mergers, which have caused higher prices and less meaningful market competition. The DOJ under the Biden administration has also acted more aggressively against airline partnerships, challenging previous approval for American-JetBlue Northeast cooperation, so we’ll have to see if they will challenge future mergers as well.

On paper, the merger does make sense as the airlines have similar fleet compositions, will create economies of scale, and will allow the airlines to stop competing with each other and focus on attacking the major network carriers.

The merger would leave JetBlue in 7th place and the smallest of the major US airlines, which will further hinder their ability to compete. If a Spirit-Frontier merger is approved, it wouldn’t surprise me to see JetBlue merge or get bought out by another airline. I’d say that United and American would both be prime candidates to buy and merge with JetBlue.

What do you think of the merger news?

Some tweets from our readers:



HT: Leon F.

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57 Comments On "[Update: Spirit Shareholders Reject Frontier Merger] Frontier And Spirit Plan To Merge And Create An Even Larger Terrible Airline"

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Have never flown either one…and never will.


I hate broccoli, I hate cauliflower, if I make them into one salad I’m pretty sure it only makes it worse.


You say Spirit or Frontier won’t rebook you on another airline. Would JetBlue or Southwest do that?


Spirit re-booked my P2 on UA in early January, so it can happen


What’s a P2?




Ya know what they say, two wrongs don’t make it right. This will be a disaster ….


Bad news for consumers. Will give them more power against legacy carriers which means legacy will be forced to get worse… or better?


Or would it force legacy carriers to drop their fares? I don’t know…


It’s not just fares, standards of service and amenities get copied by the legacy carriers. Unless people refuse to fly them and vote with wallets


There are two different “Dave’s” here which is annoying lol. When you say “vote with your wallets”, does that really mean paying double, triple, quadruple on another airline? Believe me, I know what you are saying; it’s that I’m comfortable paying less on Spirit, in a Big Front Seat, with the purchase of wifi and baggage— and still paying less than a Basic Econ on Jetblue.


I recently went on Alaska Airlines. I find them to be average or below average airline. All the way from New York to LA with one drink. The staff is also extremely pareve and not friendly at all that is until you are leaving the airline. They also have extremely outdated aircrafts. I would say that southwest is considerably and fare more friendly and United is definitely an upgrade to Alaska. I would rate them as 3.5 out of ten.


ya cant judge based on 1 flight. it could be the staff had a hard day or sumthin like that.

Brian G

Oy vey

Love $Save

Coming from someone with a billion miles, yet has been stuck in Miami for four days because United and American can’t get you home.

All airlines are terrible these days and they all give you the same seat.


“In efforts to combat climate change, effective on xx/xx/xxx we will be lowering our luggage allowance to 40lbs”. I guess it’s cute to blame it on climate change. —- You have a well written article. I agree Jetblue will eventually be merged with a larger “animal”. The path B6 has been going down, I don’t know how sustainable it is. They certainly have an identity crisis. Do they want to turn into Spirit? Do they enjoy steadily racing to the bottom of charts for on-time performance, amenities, status benefits, obnoxious fares $$. My airport (PHL) has 3 airlines to FLL (AA, Spirit, and Frontier). I’m sure a merger will make AA happy in that particular segment. Even people that hate Spirit, admire having Spirit as a competing player in their market- as it provides a drive for the other players to somewhat compete with those fares. In other words, I can fly PHL to CVG on AA for $600, or PHL to FLL or MCO for $175 on AA. A Spirit/ Frontier merger will be a win for legacy carriers, and a loss for Jetblue.


How about their safety standards?


Look it up. Neither airline ever had a fatal planne crash.


BH I’ve only had good experiences with frontier. Very cheap tickets, always left on time and never issues with carry-ons

ted onig

Its like a joke that someone made up!

David Djmal

I’m no expert but this merger may turn out better for consumers, offering more flights and a better network. Plus, competing head on with Delta/United etc. will force those carriers to either offer distinctly better product, pricing, or both.

In regards to JetBlue, don’t know if it makes sense strategically, but would like to see Alaska buy them out and restore them to their old time glory.


I disagree. Let’s look at LGA. If you want to fly to South Florida or Orlando- you have several options. Delta, Spirit, Frontier, Jetblue, etc. Combine Spirit and Frontier together, and you have 1 less competitor for the budget airliners, resulting in 1 less competitor for legacy and Jetblue. It’s even more pronounced where an airport has 3 options- a legacy, Spirit, and Frontier. Well, now that Spirit and Frontier wouldn’t have to “butt heads”, they can up their fares. I hate the budget airlines, but I wouldn’t have ever been able to fly United for $60 RT without them!


Will they merge their mileage programs? 🙂


Dan, why all the hate for these airlines? Not everyone has thousands of extra dollars to fly an entire family at regular prices and most people don’t have your millions of points. To many, these airlines are their only hope of a family vacation.




Seems like a lifetime ago when you could fly Midwest Express non stop MCI-PIT all business class with (the smell of) warm cookies.


Wow qt by burge? Nice!

CLE Rocks

I found frontier not as bad as spirit..


Same. For the right price I would fly Frontier. Spirit not so much. Frontier attracts a more normal crowd than Spirit, which usually results in less dogfights onboard.


Any likely affect on Allegiant Air? I could see them disappearing in a few years.


what a suprise – Jetblue rated worse then both Spirit and Fronteir

Dan\'s the man

I say regulators should require airlines to book people on other airlines in cases of delays/cancellation like used to t be required.

All airlines are the same

I’ve flown both and they weren’t worse than Jetblue was this winter. They all stink.


I know Spirit and Frontier have issues with customer service. In fairness though I have flown places that would never have been possible with any other airline. Most recently, I was able to purchase 8 tickets to a Bar mitzvah in Las Vegas with each ticket costing $40 round trip. This is only one of about 5 trips I have taken over the past few years. If that is the price I do not mind paying for a bag and for a drink. I know there have been others with issues but each of my flights have been corteous, professional, and friendly and have literally opened up vistas of travel that would absolutely not exist otherwise.


That’s like when you and your neighbor flush your toilets at the same time, and both of your piles of crap meet in the same sewer pipe.

Gut gezuckt

Ha ha


I consider this a plus, now when I search on Kayak, I will only have to filter out one airline






I have been flying Spirit for years and have zero complaints. I have never had any major delays, I have had only positive experiences with the crews, and I have been able to fly places that I could not otherwise afford. Yes, you get what you pay for, but then again, you only pay for what you get.

Most recently, I flew with my family to Miami for just $55/person round trip (and that is not even the second cheapest I have paid for flights to Miami with Spirit). My original flight was canceled, along with flights from every other airline, due to inclement weather. Spirit allowed me to choose any flight to rebook on and allowed me to rebook my return flight as well. In addition, Spirit gave me and each of my family members a travel voucher (and yes, it needs to be used on Spirit ) for $50.

Also, given that I fly with little children, Spirit has always graciously reserved seats for my entire family to sit together despite my being cheap and opting not to pay to choose seats.

All in all, I will be very sad to see Spirit go—especially if those travel vouchers are no longer honored!

agree to disagree

So appreciate the service that Dan provides. I always appreciate the honesty and the facts. I also understand that the WSJ ratings say what they say, and they’re pretty accurate based on my experience. I’m just not understanding why you advise so strongly against Frontier and Spirit, but not as strongly against AA. You’ve clearly had spectacularly bad experiences (as I and others who WSJ polled have) with AA, but they don’t get the “friends don’t let friends fly AA” treatment.

I don’t work for Frontier, nor do I care if anyone else flies them. I did decide over a year ago (when Frontier offered a status match from other airlines) to give them a shot. I took over 50 flights with them this past year (as an “elite”, bags/seats/refundability were free for myself and entire family). I simply can’t even come close to their fares using anyone else. Yes, their policies and customer service stink. Yes, their options for rebooking are practically nonexistent. I had BH absolutely no issues with any of the flights. I have flown each of the legacy airlines (when schedule/price made sense) numerous times this past year and have had issues on each.

All in all, the WSJ ratings are accurate. I am just writing to say that I have saved many thousands of dollars on using Frontier this year, and it has BH worked for me and actually saved me aggravation due to the fact that I was able to cancel for cash refund, which I didn’t even get on Southwest. Keep your awesome blog coming!


I personally do think the merger will be rejected, as it creates a monopoly…
…of world’s largest bad airline.

But on the positive side, I actually think the merger is a good thing, as there won’t be any competition down.


I only had good experiences with Frontier so far and they have been on time on most of my trips. It’s so cheap I could travel more and spend more on other things especially when it’s just a short < 3 hours flight. Can’t say the same about AA or United. Delta is definitely the best now. Southwest has had a crazy year I used to fly with them a lot out of Lovefield but stopped since early last year.


Their fares are not as competitive as you think they are when you take into consideration that you have to pay for seat selection, carry on, checked bags etc.
Southwest remains my preferred airline domestically. Even though they will not rebook on other airlines, their denied boarding policy is in my opinion fair. Have been denied boarding twice this year. They gave me a 600.00 voucher, rebooked on a next day flight, refunded my airfare and were going to pay for a hotel. Suggested I would accept another 200.00 voucher instead which they agreed on. Booked myself a 8000 point Hyatt Place.


I always experience more on time flights from LCCs, primarily because they don’t do ‘banking’ as the legacy carriers.

lover of truth

Budget airlines are made for people who dont work and dont car sitting around in an airport for hours on end both ways. Also their slots are usually smack in middle of the day, whos interested in flying lax-jfk at 3pm??? kind of burnt your whole day