Travel notes: Frontier takes on American with Pittsburgh flights; Avelo eyes Lakeland, FL service; Amtrak fare sale

Alstom photo.

Signs point to Avelo signing a long-term lease at the Lakeland, FL airport, the city’s Ledger newapaper-website reported. The deal is contingent on security improvements and marketing budgets from the airport’s owner.

Service could start this summer, with Wilmington and New Haven as possible destinations. Despite its location in a growing area of Florida south of Orlando, the airport has been unable to attract commercial service.

Lakeland would allow Avelo to serve a destination near Orlando and not go head-to-head with other airlines flying into the home of Universal and Disney. Also possible are flights to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Avelo will reduce service from Wilmington (ILG) early next year as one of the two aircraft is scheduled for heavy maintenance. Signs point to seasonal routes resuming in the spring.

Avelo is currently ranked first among airlines with the industry’s lowest rate of cancellations and delays. The 16-jet airline is sticking with its strategy of offering all nonstop flights from smaller airports, which reduces the odds of delays.


Amtrak fare sale

Amtrak launched a fare sale on its Northeast Corridor routes that stop in Wilmington and Newark.

Tickets can be purchased for fares that are 20% off their regular price for travel between Jan 2 and Feb. 29.

A quick look at the Amtrak site showed one-way fares on Northeast Regional trains from Wilmington ranging from $8 to Washington, DC, and New York City to $26 to Boston. Acela fares can be as low as $97 to Boston and $35 to New York City and DC. A January evening one-way fare to Washington, DC from Newark was listed at $3.

Amtrak recently reported a strong Covid-19 recovery in passenger traffic and has become more aggressive in discounting at off-peak times.

Frontier to serve Pittsburgh next year

Frontier Airlines will launch a twice-daily nonstop service from Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) to Pittsburgh International Airport in May of 2024.

With the new service, Frontier will serve 28 destinations from Philadelphia. Some have flights a few times a week.

The Pittsburgh services come more than a decade after Southwest Airlines launched short-haul service from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and cities in New England. That brought an aggressive response from USAirways, and Southwest shifted its jets to other routes. Fares to Pittsburgh run $250 or more for a round trip.

Frontier is offering tickets for as low as $19, although other charges will sharply increase that figure.

The Pittsburgh service would also allow Frontier to tap into the business travel market.

“We’re very excited that Frontier Airlines continues to expand its service at PHL and provide more direct and low-cost options for travelers,” said Atif Saeed, CEO of Philadelphia International Airport. “This new service connecting Philadelphia and Pittsburgh will support business and personal connections across Pennsylvania and provides a great link for the regions surrounding our two major airports.”

The airline will briefly offer base fares of $19 one-way. The fare does not include fees for overhead bin luggage or seat assignments.

Frontier, an ultra-low-fare carrier, is looking for routes for its 124 jets to fly and is now the second-largest airline operating out of Philadelphia. Its Airbus fleet is the youngest in the industry.