Edited by: Nick Ellis
We may be compensated when you click on product links, such as credit cards, from one or more of our advertising partners. Terms apply to the offers below. See our Advertising Policy for more about our partners, how we make money, and our rating methodology. Opinions and recommendations are ours alone.
Spirit Airlines is giving Coloradans a big lump of coal for the winter holidays: It will leave Denver International Airport in early January.
“We’re forced to make some tough choices,” Spirit spokesperson Thomas Fletcher said in an emailed statement to the Denver Post last week. “After considering those constraints and the underperformance of our routes through Denver International Airport (DEN), we’ve made the difficult decision to discontinue service at the airport, effective January 9, 2024.”
Here’s what you should know about this unfortunate news for Denver flyers.
Spirit Withdraws From Denver
Spirit Airlines‘ share of passenger traffic in Denver (DEN) — one of the country’s busiest airports — fell from 2.1% in 2019 to a paltry 0.8% in 2023, according to the airport. The airline has operated flights from Denver since May 2012.
The beleaguered low-cost carrier has seen its shares plummet by nearly 40% from a high this summer, with reported losses of nearly $160 million in the third quarter of 2023. Last year, the airline was the prize in a bidding war, with JetBlue beating out Frontier Airlines and walking away with the promise of a $3.8 billion merger with Spirit. But that has been thwarted by a Justice Department suit that argues that a JetBlue takeover of Spirit would be unfair to customers. That antitrust trial is still ongoing.
In his statement, Fletcher also cast blame on problems with the availability of Pratt & Whitney’s GTF engine, which is used on the Airbus A320neo, among other planes. Spirit was forced to ground 7 of its A320neos in August so they could be inspected for possible microfractures in the engines.
Denver Airport spokesperson Stephanie Figueroa said that Spirit operates a single gate in Concourse C for 3 routes. Those include flights to Las Vegas (LAS), Miami (MIA), and Fort Lauderdale (FLL). The city of Denver will regain control of the gate once Spirit leaves.
The airline said it will offer refunds to those who booked flights that are scheduled for after January 9, 2024.Hot Tip:
Make sure to read our guide to Spirit’s baggage policies so you’re not surprised by additional costs when you arrive at the airport.
While Spirit is pulling out of Denver, other airlines have been beefing up their presence at the Colorado airport. United Airlines operates, according to some measures, its busiest hub from the airport, while Southwest Airlines and Spirit’s primary low-cost competitor Frontier Airlines all offer dozens of routes from the city, seemingly without issue.
The bad news continues to pile up for Spirit Airlines, and now, the airline is set to withdraw completely from one of the nation’s busiest airports. If you have a flight scheduled with Spirit to or from Denver, make sure to keep an eye out for communication from the airline if you qualify for a refund.
Featured Image Credit: Carlos Yudica / Adobe Stock
Was this page helpful?
About Michael Y. Park
Michael Y. Park is a journalist living in New York City. He’s traveled through Afghanistan disguised as a Hazara Shi’ite, slept with polar bears on the Canadian tundra, picnicked with the king and queen of Malaysia, tramped around organic farms in Cuba, ridden the world’s longest train through the Sahara, and choked down gasoline clams in North Korea.
UP's Bonus Valuation
This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.