Spirit Airlines just announced they’re adding service to Memphis with 3 daily destinations:
- Las Vegas starting April 20, 2022
- Orlando starting April 20, 2022
- Los Angeles starting June 8, 2022
Delta dropped the Memphis hub it inherited from Northwest for a reason (despite promises at the time that the hub would grow). The reason Spirit says they see potential here is what’s interesting to me. It’s not Memphis traffic per se but rather, according to Spirit’s Vice President of Network Planning,
We’re excited about serving Memphis because we think travelers in Western Tennessee and nearby states could use more high value flight options to popular leisure destinations. Also, Memphis is a vibrant community with so much to explore in music, food, culture nad more for visitors looking for a rich experience.
(Emphasis mine). They do the yadda yadda on Memphis being great as an ‘also.’ They’re suggesting this is a play to pick up leisure travel from the broader catchment.
Los Angeles is surprisingly lightly served from Memphis, with Delta offering non-daily service and Allegiant flying the route. There’s no United or American flights. Memphis – Las Vegas has limited service, from Allegiant and Frontier. And Memphis – Orlando has very limited service from Southwest and Frontier. All are routes where Spirit has a shot. And, for their strategy, if the fares are low enough people will come from all over.
Sam Waterston reminded us in The Newsroom that Memphis is really a stand-in, Tom Hall’s “That’s How I got to Memphis” isn’t actually a country song about Memphis but about any place – wherever you are – and how you wound up there.