A low cost airline is a carrier that offers generally low fares in exchange for reducing many of the traditionally offered passenger services, by no means compromising the security of the travelers. The general characteristics of the low cost airlines are:
– flying to cheaper, less congested secondary airports and flying early in the morning or late in the evening to take advantage of lower landing fees
– short flights and fast turnaround times, allowing maximum utilization of the aircraft
– direct sales of tickets, especially over the Internet, avoiding fees and commissions paid to travel agents and reservations systems
– eliminated in-flight catering and other complimentary services, replaced by optional paid-for in-flight food and beverages.
Since the early 1990’s a number of these airlines have sprung up all over North America as an alternative to the major, long-established carriers. The most successful low cost/charter airlines operating in the United States and Canada are:
Serving flights nationwide flying out from Las Vegas, running significant bases at Orlando Sanford International Airport and St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport
A low cost airline based in Indianapolis, Indiana, operating scheduled passenger flights throughout the US mainland and Hawaii, as well as commercial charter flights around the world.
Based in Orlando, Florida, AirTran operates over 700 daily flights throughout the eastern USA and the Midwest, including over 200 daily departures from Atlanta.
AMERICA WEST AIRLINES
It is the second largest low-cost airline in the US, providing service to approximately 100 destinations in the US, Canada, and Mexico. The main hubs are Phoenix, Arizona and flights to Las Vegas, Nevada
Based at Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado, the carrier operates flights throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada. It’s major US destinations are west of the Mississippi River.
It’s one of the major American low-cost airlines, serving destinations in the United States (New York-JFK, Long Beach, Oakland, Boston, Orlando, Ft Lauderdale, Washington-Dulles), along with flights to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, and Mexico.
America’s largest low cost airline, having notably large operations at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, Chicago’s Midway Airport, Houston’s Hobby Airport, Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport, Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, Nashville, Oakland, and San Diego.
Serving flights nationwide, as well as destinations in the Caribbean, Bahamas, and Mexico.
SUN COUNTRY AIRLINES
Uses nearby Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport as its main hub, and operates flights to destinations in the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
A Canadian low-cost carrier based in Calgary, Alberta, that flies across most major cities in Canada and 11 cities in the United States. WestJet was rated the second-best low-cost airline in North America.
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