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COVID-19

Budget airlines may have an advantage as people seek low-cost leisure escapes

Meghan McCarty Carino Apr 5, 2021
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Low-cost carrier Frontier is banking on an expected increase in domestic travel. Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

Budget airlines may have an advantage as people seek low-cost leisure escapes

Meghan McCarty Carino Apr 5, 2021
Heard on:
Low-cost carrier Frontier is banking on an expected increase in domestic travel. Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images
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The weather is warming, the days are getting longer and the CDC has said fully vaccinated people can travel with low risk to themselves, which could signal a brighter summer for airlines. The low-cost carrier Frontier banked on that sense of optimism last week becoming the second discount airline to go public this year.

What do these no-frills airlines have to offer? Well, if you want a snack, you’ll probably pay for it. A checked bag? That’s extra. And don’t even think about choosing your seat until you’ve shelled out some more.

“The base airfare you buy includes your seat and the seat belt and nothing else,” said travel analyst Henry Harteveldt. He said low-cost carriers focus on shorter-haul domestic destinations, a good thing right now.

“There’s still a lot of short-term planning going on,” Harteveldt said. “Many international destinations that are normally popular with American travelers are still off-limits to us.”

And air travel will be about leisure trips instead of business travel for the foreseeable future, said airline consultant Jay Sorensen.

“Business travelers are obviously more concerned about comfort and convenience, whereas leisure travelers have a preponderance of concern for low prices,” Sorensen said.

One drawback for low-cost airlines in the COVID era? They often depend on packing flights as tightly as possible.

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