Frontier Airlines (F9) announced today they are giving SWA a break but taking on the larger giant United at Bush-Intercontinental (IAH) airport in Houston. F9 will move across town and will depart for a final farewell from Houston Hobby, only 7 miles from downtown in July 10, 2012 and will resume flights Wednesday July 11, 2012 at the larger and further (23 miles from downtown) IAH. F9 will be the only LCC at IAH.
Flights will continue to operate on the E-190 region jets, seating 99 people with, features like onboard Wi-Fi (fee for use) and two-by-two leather seats. The E-190s have Five rows of STRETCH seating which offer an additional 5 to 7 inches of legroom, and the airline’s new SELECT seating product will be available on every flight–meaning no cookies. Furthermore, F9 has secured the same landing slot times at IAH as Hobby and will keep to their same schedule. Those passengers already ticked from HOU will automatically be rebooked on the flights from IAH.
Analysts say Frontier will be the only domestic low-cost carrier at Bush Intercontinental and it shall bring low fares to Houston’s larger airport. Originally I was skeptical about this, because despite being at two different airports, United already fights steep competition from SWA operating out of Hobby, like AA at DFW competes with SWA across town at Dallas-Love. However, fares on F9 are currently priced at a steady $133 in July regardless of which Houston airport one flies from and taxes and fees are listed at an even $5.00 passenger facility charge regardless of what Huston airport one flies from.
F9 is confident passengers will stand behind the airlines as they shift from HOU to IAH. David Siegel, president and chief executive officer of Frontier said, “We’re confident that Frontier customers will appreciate the convenience and increased flexibility when we move back to Houston’s primary airport…In particular, the great connection opportunities that Bush Intercontinental offers will provide our passengers with additional travel choices.” F9 has a number of interline agreements in place that will allow passengers to connect onward from IAH that were not available at HOU. Some include but are not limited to United, EVA, and Singapore airlines, all which have service at IAH.