Travel notes: Amtrak sale offers $19 one-way fares; Frontier’s public offering; Southwest adds small cities

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Amtrak has slashed East Coast fares in a sale that ends on Friday.

Passengers catching a train from Wilmington can travel to New York, Washington, DC, and even Boston for a one-way fare of $19. Fares on a luxury Acela train are as low as $39 one way.

Amtrak is gradually rebuilding service after struggling with sharply reduced passenger numbers during the pandemic. The railroad’s Northeast Corridor service had been close to breaking even before the Covid-19 crisis.

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 The tickets are valid for travel from March 30 to Sept. 30, 2021. Days and available trains with deep discount fares are limited.

The offer is available on Amtrak.com.

Frontier  stock offering valued at $600 million-plus

Frontier Airlines is shooting for a stock market value of $4.5 billion with its planned initial stock offering, Reuters reports.

Frontier, which now offers three-time-a-week service from New Castle Airport (ILG) to Orlando,  plans to sell more than $600  million in stock to give the company a  value north of $4 billion.

Phoenix-based Indigo Partners would remain the largest shareholder. The company sold its stake in low-fare  Spirit Airlines, bought Frontier, and converted it to an ultra-low fare carrier with fees for features like overhead bins and assigned seats.

Frontier is adding new jets to its fleet and now serves 100 or more destinations, often with flights that run a few times a week.

Frontier earlier canceled a stock offering but jumped back into the pool after a successful deal for tiny Sun Country Airlines.

Sun Country offers service from Baltimore-Washington and Philadelphia to Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Frontier and other airlines are banking on a leisure travel boom as more people get Covid-19 vaccinations.

Southwest adds regional routes; American resumes Philly-Asheville flights.

Southwest Airlines continues to add small market airports in 2021 as it also focuses on leisure travelers. 

The airline will fly to Myrtle Beach, Eugene, and Bellingham. No word yet on the airports that will see nonstops to the three cities. Baltimore-Washington would seem to be a good bet for Myrtle Beach. Southwest typically offers connecting service to West Coast destinations from Philadelphia or Baltimore-Washington.

“We’re looking to start Myrtle Beach service in time for summer vacations and we expect our arrival to appeal to travelers who currently drive to this very popular coastal area in the Southeast. ‘Golf bags fly free’ should be very popular for Myrtle Beach service,” Southwest CEO Mark Kelly wrote in a message to employees.

Myrtle is a popular destination for golf outings from Delaware.

Eugene, about two hours south of Portland, is the home of the University of Oregon.

Bellingham is just south of Vancouver, BC, and could provide a gateway to the popular destination once Covid restrictions are lifted in Canada. Service to the Pacific Northwest destinations is expected in the second half of the year.

“That makes 17 new airports that either we have opened or announced since the pandemic began. And for those that have commenced service, they’re performing very well. In fact, we just shared with the airports serving Steamboat Springs and Telluride that we’re extending our service beyond the winter season to continue serving both through the summer of 2021,” Kelly wrote.

Rival American Airlines is reinstating service from Philadelphia to a popular leisure destination, Asheville, NC. Beginning in April.

The western North Carolina city is known for its mountain setting, restaurants and breweries, and the Biltmore Estate. The area’s regional airport is served by four airlines that offer year-round and seasonal service.

American is also adding service from Philadelphia to once-sleepy airports like Bozeman. The Montana city not far from  Yellowstone National Park.

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