Spirit Airlines, the fast-growing low-cost carrier, will begin operating out of the main terminal at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport beginning Jan. 27, airport officials announced Tuesday.
The move will give Spirit more flexibility and two dedicated gates on Concourse E. It currently operates 11 daily flights out of Terminal 2, formerly known as the Humphrey Terminal.
The slots at Gates E2 and E4 opened up because of the consolidation of gates after the recent US Airway and American Airlines merger and Great Lakes Airlines' move to Concourse A, said airport spokeswoman Melissa Scovronski.
At Terminal 2, Spirit shares gates with other airlines. With its move to the Terminal 1, both Southwest Airlines and Sun Country Airlines will have room to expand service at Terminal 2, said airport spokesman Patrick Hogan.
Spirit's ticket counter will be on the north end of the main terminal near American and US Airways and adjacent to Checkpoint 2.
Spirit started service at MSP in May 2012 with service to four cities. It now flies to 13 cities, including Dallas, Chicago, Detroit, Orlando, Denver, Phoenix and Los Angeles. Some service is daily, other is seasonal.
From January to November 2014, the airline flew 905,208 passengers into and out of MSP, according to airport records.
The airline's "Bare Fare" includes a seat and allows travelers to bring one personal item such as a small backpack or purse on board. Fees starting at around $35 are charged for larger bags — carry-on and checked — as well as for snacks and beverages, and even printing boarding passes at the airport.
That has created a love-hate relationship with the Florida-based airline, which registers a larger number of consumer complaints than many other airlines, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Customers filed 75 complaints in November and 86 in October of 2014.
The move to the main terminal comes as the Metropolitan Airports Commission is assessing the long-term needs at Terminal 2. With growing demand, three new gates will be added with construction beginning this spring. They are expected to be completed by 2016.