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New routes for JetBlue, AirTran, and Spirit

Low-cost carriers continue to change the face of the air-travel landscape (or is that skyscape?) with new or expanded service to smaller airports around the country. In the past few days alone, JetBlue, AirTran, and Spirit have each announced new routes.

AirTran will add nonstop service between St. Louis and Sarasota and between Newburgh and West Palm Beach in early November. Spirit, meanwhile, will start daily nonstop service from Ft. Lauderdale to Ponce, Puerto Rico, also in November. So, too, will JetBlue, which in addition to its new Ponce flights will also expand service from Salt Lake City to San Francisco and San Diego.

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So what are we to make of all these moves? Lots, naturally. Notably, this continues the trend of low-cost carriers reaching out to the smaller airports that until now have been served exclusively (and not very well) by the legacy lines. We're also seeing more head-to-head clashes between low-cost carriers (e.g., Spirit versus JetBlue) and between low-cost carriers and legacy lines (e.g. JetBlue adding flights to one of Delta's key cities).

Or, put more succinctly: Lots of new flight options, which is never a bad thing for travelers.

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