Jun 10, 2024 - Technology

Summer travel on the cheap

Illustration of Benjamin Franklin from a hundred dollar bill with bags under his eyes wearing a pilot's uniform

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Fierce airline competition could mean lower fares for travelers who don't mind "roughing it" this summer.

  • Delta, United and American are pushing cheap, no-frills tickets to fight back against ultra-low-cost rivals Frontier and Spirit, Bloomberg reports.

The big picture: The big airlines hope discount flyers will "buy-up" to more expensive tickets, with benefits like seat selection, free carry-ons and more.

Yes, but: The ultra-cheap carriers are responding with novel offerings.

  • Frontier flyers can now pay extra for more legroom, priority de-boarding and — hallelujah! — a guaranteed empty middle seat.
  • "We're actually quite encouraged by its performance," Frontier president James Dempsey said of the option, UpFront Plus, during the company's most recent earnings call.

Meanwhile, newer budget carriers like Avelo and Play are trying to break in via smaller airports outside major cities.

  • Play just announced service to Croatia, Marrakech and more from Stewart International Airport — JFK and LaGuardia's oft-forgot little cousin up in the Hudson Valley.

The bottom line: Despite high airfares broadly speaking, it's still possible to fly on the cheap — if you don't mind a no-frills flight.

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