Frontier Airlines Route Expansion Includes New Midwest Routes

While everyone agrees that the covid-19 pandemic has been beyond catastrophic for the airline industry, it has also given low-cost carriers the opportunity to grow their route systems to entice leisure travelers to try new services. Airlines such as Allegiant, Frontier, JetBlue and Twin Cities-based Sun Country are all in the process of adding new routes that are pretty much non-competitive. Additionally, new airlines have popped up, most notably Avelo and Breeze, both of which offer primarily point-to-point service from secondary airports that allow travelers to bypass the mega-airline hubs.

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Top Airlines in the World? What Do You Think?

As it does annually, AirlineRatings.com has announced its list of the world’s best airlines for 2021. This, of course, doesn’t mean that these are the world’s best airlines or that there aren’t many other superb carriers, as that is a totally subjective determination, but the website’s editors have conferred internally, as well as taken in the opinions of its readers to comprise their list for this year.

The airline website considers inflight service, safety (thank goodness), and passenger comfort as primary factors in naming their winners. To make the top-20, each airline must also receive a seven-star safety rating from the website. How each airline has reacted to and worked through the covid-19 crisis is another determinant for this year.

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With Increased Travel Demand Delta to Add Airbus & Boeing Aircraft to Fleet

Delta Air Lines Airbus A350-900 aircraft as seen on final approach landing at Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) airport in the Netherlands. (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

With its CEO Ed Bastian calling it “….an investment in Delta’s future”, the Atlanta-based airline has announced agreements that will add 29 used Boeing 737-900ERs and seven used Airbus A350-900s to its fleet. Delta has a long history of entering into lucrative contracts for previously owned aircraft, while at the same time improving fuel efficiency with newer aircraft replacing older ones such as the Boeing 777, MD-88 and MD-90.

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Summer Traffic at MSP Airport is Booming

A Delta Boeing 767-300 wide-body takes to the skies.

The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) is reporting a dramatic increase in summer travel demand as the number of available flights, and carrier reported advance bookings continues to spike. Thanks to strong confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines, Minnesotans and the majority of Upper Midwest residents have been innoculated, leading to a mass desire to get out of town.

The strongest bookings thus far have been to domestic destinations, but European travelers are also increasing thanks to Delta’s resumption of non-stop service in late May to Iceland, and on July 7 to Paris. At the same time, both Icelandair and Air France have returned to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport with their own non-stops to Reykjavik and Paris. Delta has also resumed operation of one daily non-stop between the Twin Cities and Amsterdam, though during normal times the carrier flies three times each day. KLM has not yet returned to MSP with its daily flight, but that can’t be too far off.

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Allegiant Airlines is Finally Coming to the Twin Cities

After many years of offering unique routings from several Upper Midwest cities but avoiding flights from the very competitive environment at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Las Vegas-based Allegiant Airlines has announced it’s coming to town this fall. The closest Allegiant has come to MSP has been seasonal service from St. Cloud Regional Airport to Las Vegas and Phoenix in years past, but the domestic airline environment now encourages low-fare carriers to offer proprietary routes from major airports to destinations that have no current service.

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