No-frills Spirit Airlines adding daily flights between MSP, Detroit

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 13, 2014 - 9:14 AM

Spirit announced that one flight each way between the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Detroit Metropolitan Airport will begin May 22 and run until Nov. 1.

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A no-frills airline is adding daily service between the Twin Cities and Detroit, two of Delta’s hub locations.

Florida-based Spirit Airlines announced Thursday that one flight each way between the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Detroit Metropolitan Airport will begin May 22 and run until Nov. 1.

The new flights from Spirit provide “welcome new air service competition to and from the Motor City,” said Jeff Hamiel, executive director and CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission. “When airlines compete, consumers often benefit from lower fares as well as increased flight options.”

Spirit Airlines offers low ticket prices but has been criticized for its poor record for on-time arrivals. Spirit stays on schedule about two of every three flights, while the national average is closer to four of every five.

A sample round-trip itinerary booked at www.spirit.com, flying between Minneapolis and Detroit during the first days of the new service, shows a bottom-line fare of $178. Warning: There is a fee of up to $16.99 each way for booking online.

Keep in mind that Spirit charges extra not only for checked bags but for carry-on luggage. Other airlines allow one free carry-on piece. Like its competitors, Spirit does not charge for bringing aboard a personal item, such as a purse or small backpack.

Delta’s website comes back with a low fare of $400 for the same itinerary, albeit with many more schedule options and far fewer unconventional fees.

Spirit now offers 13 nonstop destinations from the Twin Cities airport, based at Terminal 2-Humphrey. Late last month, it announced daily nonstop flights between the Twin Cities and Houston and Baltimore starting May 1 and continuing until Nov. 1.

Spirit started Twin Cities service in 2012. It mainly flies to Chicago, Dallas and Las Vegas but adds several other destinations, such as Tampa, Orlando, Fort Myers and Fort Lauderdale, during winter months.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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