Let the low-fare battle for the Caribbean begin.
The arrival of low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines in the Dallas-Fort Worth market is pushing down airfares to the Caribbean 40 percent to 60 percent from last year, according to Bestfares.com
Miramar, Fla.-based Spirit starts service today with a 6:05 a.m. scheduled flight from Dallas/Fort Worth Airport to its hub in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. From there, the airline connects to 10 Caribbean destinations, including Cancún, Mexico; Grand Cayman; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Fort Worth-based American Airlines will likely match Spirit's fares, said Tim Smith, a spokesman at American. By Monday afternoon, American, Delta Air Lines and Continental Airlines had matched many of the fares.
Tom Parsons, chief executive of Bestfares.com, said there will be some serious competition between Spirit, which offers one daily flight from D/FW to Fort Lauderdale, and American, which offers eight daily flights to Fort Lauderdale.
"This is going to be a major dogfight," Parsons said.
Although American offers direct flights from D/FW to San Juan and service to Nassau, Bahamas, Spirit executives will use lower fares to carve out a niche.
ONLINE: Spirit Airlines, www.spiritair.com
Spirit Airlines begins service from Dallas/Fort Worth Airport today with these round-trip fares via Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to the Caribbean.
Cancún, Mexico $178
Fort Lauderdale $88
Grand Cayman $198
Nassau, Bahamas $158
San Juan, Puerto Rico $258
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