A Spirit Airlines Airbus A321 wearing the Bare Fare livery at TPA – Photo: JL Johnson | AirlineReporter
I paid a mere $16.11 for a one-way Spirit Airlines Bare Fare flight from Kansas City to Dallas. Crazy, right? It gets crazier… $14.24 of that ticket went to the “Government’s Cut,” (Spirit’s words, not mine) that is, various government-imposed fees and taxes. Of the remainder, a single penny went towards the base fare, with the final $1.86 going to what Spirit refers to as “Unintended Consequences of DOT Regulations.” Depending on where you sit on the regulatory fence, the actual revenue from my Bare Fare was either a penny or $1.87.
Spirit Airlines Bare Fare cost structure breakdown – Image: Spirit.com
Either way, the airline was bound to make money off of me from their various fees, right? After all, that’s what Spirit is known for: evil fees. But, what if I went totally bare and instead just paid only for “ass plus gas” (again, Spirit’s words, not mine). Do people actually do that? I did… for science.
An American Eagle CRJ200 taxiing at LAX, with an Embraer 175 following – Photo: John Nguyen | AirlineReporter
Let’s face it… the 50-seat Bombardier CRJ200 isn’t very popular. At all. You’ll find countless articles and blogs about how much flyers dread flying in it, and how all-around terrible the experience was. Complaints were numerous: claustrophobic cabin, tiny overhead bins that fit only the smallest of carry-on bags, no first class, inoperable lavatories, and so on. This wasn’t limited to just one airline either; CR2s are found in the regional fleets for most of the major U.S. airlines. Coincidentally, many of them are operated under contract by the same regional carrier, SkyWest Airlines.
Does the CR2 deserve its bum rap? Maybe, maybe not (but probably). For some passengers, however, there is hope just over the horizon…
This Emirates Boeing 777-300ER is in Seattle, but only because it was built there. Soon one will be based in Seattle.
Emirates has announced they will start flying non-stop from Dallas and Seattle to Dubai starting early next year. Flights from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) will commence on February 2, 2012 and from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) on March 1, 2012. The airline is also looking at possible expansions to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and Washington, DC.
Before 9/11 Emirates had plans to expand in the US, but their plans were put on hold due to lack of demand. Currently, Emirates is the world’s number one airline in international traffic and they feel it is time to increase service to the US.
“We’ve always had fairly ambitious plans for the U.S. and this is part of that,” Emirates President Tim Clark told Bloomberg. “It’s an immense market. There will be more to come, including increased frequencies and bigger planes. We have ideas for the East Coast, the north-south axis in the center and for the west.”
Emirates will operate their new flights from DFW and SEA using Boeing 777s, but the airline is speaking openly about using larger Airbus A380s on future US routes.
“The A380 will be an option for all U.S. operations post- 2013, when the plane will have a higher takeoff weight, so that routes such as Dubai-Los Angeles become a distinct possibility,” he said. “And most U.S. airports are A380- capable or will be.”
Being based in Seattle, it is very exciting to hear that not only will a new airline start operations here, but that they are also contemplating using the Airbus A380 in the future. As of now, no airline operates the A380 to SEA and even with this announcement, it seems it could still take a while.
“We do not have any immediate plans to bring the A380 to Seattle, although this may be something we consider in the future,” Jim Baxter, Vice President North America, Emirates Airline explained to AirlineReporter.com via email. Even if Emirates was ready to operate the A380 to Seattle, the airport is not able to handle scheduled service of the world’s largest airliner.
“We can handle the A380 in emergencies, however we do not have facilities for regular use, such as the multiple gate loading ramps, for the aircraft,” Perry Cooper, SEA’s Media and Public Affairs Manager explained. “At this time, if an A380 were to arrive and need to access a gate, safety guidelines would require all traffic to stop until the aircraft stopped at its gate, due to the width of taxiways and safety zones next to the runways.”
The A380 is so large, that it would currently take up two of SEA’s gate configurations and due to the cost and lack of direct demand, the airport does not “currently have plans to expand to accommodate the A380.”
Image: Rick Schlamp