Spirit Airlines announced on Jan. 25 that it will soon begin an ultra-low cost nonstop service from Bradley International Airport to three additional destinations in the southern United States.
The new service, which will connect Hartford to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Orlando, Florida and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, will result in the first ultra-low cost air carrier to operate out of Bradley.
The average cost for a one-way flight with Spirit will be $50, but carry-on baggage costs between $35 and $100 depending on when passengers notify Spirit that they are taking a carry-on. Checked luggage will be between $30 and $100 per bag, based on the same reason, as well as the total number of bags.
Bradley now hosts six domestic airlines, several of which are low-cost carriers. But none have the same price structure as Spirit, which charges less for a ticket and makes up the difference in additional fees, like baggage charges.
Spirit plans to start daily flights to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale beginning April 27 and June 15, respectively. Also starting April 27, Spirit will offer flights to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina four times a week.
In a Jan. 25 press conference at Bradley, Gov. Dannel Malloy praised the new service and urged Spirit executives to add even more routes out of Bradley.
“Our future in this state is to be better linked with the rest of the country and the rest of the world, and we’re doing that,” Malloy said.
He added that the return of Aer Lingus, which brought back nonstop trans-Atlantic service to Bradley last fall, helped boost the airport’s status among airlines.
According to the Hartford Courant, the state gave Aer Lingus an incentive package that included up to $9 million in assistance to offset losses in the first two years, plus $5 million in marketing money and fee waivers.
Though Spirit will not receive any state money, Bradley will give the airline $400,000 in funding and fee waivers.
In the press conference, Spirit executives praised their airline for its low prices.
“On April 27, the consumers of this area are going to be shocked and surprised on how much money they can save by flying Spirit,” said Paul Berry, Spirit’s director of communications.
Varsha Midha ’19 said that although the airline’s tickets were cheap, she hesitated to fly on it because of the carry-on and baggage fees, which would perhaps bring the price of flying up to that of a competitor such as Southwest.
But Berry said the pricing structure actually gives passengers complete control over what they want to pay for and what they don’t.
Out of four students interviewed, three had flown from Bradley in the past. Midha, who is from Los Angeles and has flown into Bradley, said the airport should have more nonstop flights.
But two other students said it was a good airport because of its proximity to campus and the length of its lines, which are shorter than those at New York City airports.
Though no students interviewed had ever flown Spirit, all were willing to do so if the cost were lower than that of other airlines. Aastha Kc ’20 said Spirit could even allow students to go home more often because of its low prices.
Two-hundred and twenty Yale College students are from Florida.