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Deltabravo1123
Topic Author
Posts: 325
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When will we see a US low-cost long-haul carrier?

Wed Nov 23, 2022 12:29 pm

After hearing about the new startup Fly Atlantic, I started thinking about other recent European startups like WOW, then PLAY, Primera, Norwegian, I'm sure there are a few others that I have forgotten. Is there something particular about the US that makes it harder to launch such an airline? I think about some airports up in the northeast - particularly Providence, Hartford, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, I'd argue they could all work well as a TATL transit hub given their locations. Not sure if the former two have the adequate facilities and space to serve such a purpose though.

Granted, not many of these startups have done well based out of Europe either. However, it still does not seem to scare away all the investors and entrepreneurs out there. Is it just a matter of time now until we see one launch from the US?
 
davidjohnson6
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Re: When will we see a US low-cost long-haul carrier?

Wed Nov 23, 2022 12:34 pm

Let's see the A321XLR become available first
 
shamrock321
Posts: 838
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Re: When will we see a US low-cost long-haul carrier?

Wed Nov 23, 2022 12:35 pm

Given the lack of success that WOW and Primera had, perhaps that is your answer?
 
johns624
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Re: When will we see a US low-cost long-haul carrier?

Wed Nov 23, 2022 2:56 pm

In the US, people who fly ULCC normally don't do international.
 
Lamp1009
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Re: When will we see a US low-cost long-haul carrier?

Wed Nov 23, 2022 3:58 pm

Deltabravo1123 wrote:
After hearing about the new startup Fly Atlantic, I started thinking about other recent European startups like WOW, then PLAY, Primera, Norwegian, I'm sure there are a few others that I have forgotten. Is there something particular about the US that makes it harder to launch such an airline? I think about some airports up in the northeast - particularly Providence, Hartford, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, I'd argue they could all work well as a TATL transit hub given their locations. Not sure if the former two have the adequate facilities and space to serve such a purpose though.

Granted, not many of these startups have done well based out of Europe either. However, it still does not seem to scare away all the investors and entrepreneurs out there. Is it just a matter of time now until we see one launch from the US?

Northern Pacific is supposedly in the works.
 
teachpdx
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Re: When will we see a US low-cost long-haul carrier?

Wed Nov 23, 2022 4:50 pm

It likely comes down visa restrictions that make transfers for foreigners excessively cumbersome (or impossible). I mean, PLAY wouldn’t work at all if Iceland had the visa policy of the USA and no sterile connections. And then following that is just the higher cost of regulations in the USA which make it harder to start up and maintain ULCC service. And then simply geography… if you have an airline purposed to bring foreigners to the US, the US is so big that it would require either creating one mega-hub with connections into US cities or multiple point to point flights to serve different regions, all of which means lots of aircraft and lots of investment to get adequate catchment. And if it were more of a connection-based venture, there’s no reason to connect via the USA if flying from Europe to Asia, or vice versa… ESPECIALLY with our transit restrictions.

The only case that I could see being plausible is a system with 5-6 Asia locations, 3-4 west coast US, 3-4 east coast US, 5-6 central/South America, and 5-6 European locations. Asia to/from west coast, west coast transcon to east coast and a triangle routing between east/west to central/south America, then east coast to Europe. Then domestic connections from the west coast and east coast cities into the remainder of the US. It would give one-connection flights to/from anywhere in the USA to Asian, South American, and European destinations… then partnering with foreign ULCCs to further serve those overseas locations. And it would create a ‘premium ULCC’ widebody transcon service. But it won’t happen until the US allows easier transits for more nationalities.

johns624 wrote:
In the US, people who fly ULCC normally don't do international.


That’s an overgeneralization. Just because people fly ULCC in the US doesn’t mean they aren’t international travelers (on that itinerary or at another time).

For example, I like saving up my money and flying very inexpensively on domestic itineraries so I can afford the more extensive international trips.

Other times I will utilize a ULCC to fly to a larger city with cheaper international fares. And then once I get overseas I will utilize ULCCs once again.

I’m currently hopping around Mexico on Volaris and Viva Aerobus. First time flying both airlines and they’re perfectly adequate for the fare.

Yes, there are a fair share of American families where the farthest they will ever travel is on an NK fight to Florida, but there are so many others who actually travel the world extensively and use ULCCs to do it.
 
teachpdx
Posts: 236
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Re: When will we see a US low-cost long-haul carrier?

Wed Nov 23, 2022 5:13 pm

Lamp1009 wrote:
Northern Pacific is supposedly in the works.


Utilizing ANC the same way that PLAY and Icelandair use KEF is probably the most basic strategy to have a US-based ULCC. There’s no USA connection, it’s all O/D from US airports. It seems more aimed at getting people from Japan and South Korea to popular vacation destinations like NY, CA, NV, and FL rather than getting Americans abroad to Japan or South Korea. To do the latter they would need to partner with a domestic ULCC to connect from those few destinations elsewhere. But they’re missing a huge opportunity to provide easy connections to Canada, Mexico, and Central America/Caribbean because of US transit visa restrictions.

I’m hopeful that they start up and are successful, but I’m not holding out very much hope.
 
Lamp1009
Posts: 160
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Re: When will we see a US low-cost long-haul carrier?

Wed Nov 23, 2022 5:26 pm

teachpdx wrote:
Lamp1009 wrote:
Northern Pacific is supposedly in the works.


Utilizing ANC the same way that PLAY and Icelandair use KEF is probably the most basic strategy to have a US-based ULCC. There’s no USA connection, it’s all O/D from US airports. It seems more aimed at getting people from Japan and South Korea to popular vacation destinations like NY, CA, NV, and FL rather than getting Americans abroad to Japan or South Korea. To do the latter they would need to partner with a domestic ULCC to connect from those few destinations elsewhere. But they’re missing a huge opportunity to provide easy connections to Canada, Mexico, and Central America/Caribbean because of US transit visa restrictions.

I’m hopeful that they start up and are successful, but I’m not holding out very much hope.


I mean if demand ever warranted it, they could very easily implement a sterile zone at ANC to get around the transit visa issue. Otherwise, so long as they fly out of Detroit and Seattle, people from Toronto and Vancouver could very much end up utilizing the service. Maybe Flair can pick up for service to Canada, I personally feel anchorage is an underrated market from Canada anyways.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: When will we see a US low-cost long-haul carrier?

Wed Nov 23, 2022 7:21 pm

Deltabravo1123 wrote:
After hearing about the new startup Fly Atlantic, I started thinking about other recent European startups like WOW, then PLAY, Primera, Norwegian, I'm sure there are a few others that I have forgotten. Is there something particular about the US that makes it harder to launch such an airline? I think about some airports up in the northeast - particularly Providence, Hartford, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, I'd argue they could all work well as a TATL transit hub given their locations. Not sure if the former two have the adequate facilities and space to serve such a purpose though.

Granted, not many of these startups have done well based out of Europe either. However, it still does not seem to scare away all the investors and entrepreneurs out there. Is it just a matter of time now until we see one launch from the US?


Didn't Frontier recently say that they might launch TATL operations with the A321XLR once they arrive? There has been a lot of speculation about it.

However from what I understood one of the reasons long haul low cost airlines are based outside the US mainly has to do with labor costs. US-based staff is more expensive than European or Asian-based staff. Therefor, should Frontier launch their TATL operations, don't be surprised if a European ULCC copies their routes and undercuts their fares.

Also the fact that the US doesn't allow for sterile international-to-international connections plays a role. Even if you don't stay in the US you still have to clear immigration in the US, which is a nuisance. In plenty of countries you can arrive on one international flight and walk straight to the gate to catch another international flight without having to clear immigration. You only clear immigration once you arrive in your country of destination. The US falsely assumes that for international passengers the country of destination is the US, that certainly isn't always the case.

For now the US has plenty of service on foreign long haul low cost airlines. FrenchBee and Norse Atlantic to Europe, ZipAir Tokyo to Asia. That should be sufficient.
 
teachpdx
Posts: 236
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2017 1:51 am

Re: When will we see a US low-cost long-haul carrier?

Wed Nov 23, 2022 7:28 pm

Lamp1009 wrote:
I mean if demand ever warranted it, they could very easily implement a sterile zone at ANC to get around the transit visa issue. Otherwise, so long as they fly out of Detroit and Seattle, people from Toronto and Vancouver could very much end up utilizing the service. Maybe Flair can pick up for service to Canada, I personally feel anchorage is an underrated market from Canada anyways.


ANC is already making a bit of headway in that direction, receiving significant exceptions from the DOT back in 2020 for both cargo and passenger transit. But DOT is not CBP, which loves having pax data and therefore a transit visa (which can be expensive and hard to get for many for non-waivered nationalities) before any person sets foot in USA. Ever since 9/11 you aren’t going to skirt around it for any pax inbound to USA whether just transiting or not. And while ANC could likely be easily converted to have sterile transit (and had it at one time IIRC), the likelihood of a rule change from CBP is minuscule at best. Even a connection via Flair as you mention would still require pax to clear US customs on the connection due to CBP rules.

And I’m hoping beyond hope that if Northern Pacific actually takes off (pun intended) that they quickly add SEA to their route map. A one-stop ULCC to Seoul from the PNW would make me the happiest person ever. But right now they aren’t looking at any destinations in the northern US outside of New York.
 
Lamp1009
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Re: When will we see a US low-cost long-haul carrier?

Wed Nov 23, 2022 7:38 pm

teachpdx wrote:
Lamp1009 wrote:
I mean if demand ever warranted it, they could very easily implement a sterile zone at ANC to get around the transit visa issue. Otherwise, so long as they fly out of Detroit and Seattle, people from Toronto and Vancouver could very much end up utilizing the service. Maybe Flair can pick up for service to Canada, I personally feel anchorage is an underrated market from Canada anyways.


ANC is already making a bit of headway in that direction, receiving significant exceptions from the DOT back in 2020 for both cargo and passenger transit. But DOT is not CBP, which loves having pax data and therefore a transit visa (which can be expensive and hard to get for many for non-waivered nationalities) before any person sets foot in USA. Ever since 9/11 you aren’t going to skirt around it for any pax inbound to USA whether just transiting or not. And while ANC could likely be easily converted to have sterile transit (and had it at one time IIRC), the likelihood of a rule change from CBP is minuscule at best. Even a connection via Flair as you mention would still require pax to clear US customs on the connection due to CBP rules.

And I’m hoping beyond hope that if Northern Pacific actually takes off (pun intended) that they quickly add SEA to their route map. A one-stop ULCC to Seoul from the PNW would make me the happiest person ever. But right now they aren’t looking at any destinations in the northern US outside of New York.

And yet they remove passport stamps, lol.

That being said, the CBP and/or DHS in general need to come up with a transiting ESTA for anyone with a biometric passport that's only valid for sterile zones. The current restrictions are overkill.

Regarding Northern Pacific, I could definitely see them getting bought out by United or even Alaska if they're even slightly successful either for market consolidation (United), or international expansion (alaska). I really want them to succeed but I have a lot of doubts myself.
 
UALFAson
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Re: When will we see a US low-cost long-haul carrier?

Wed Nov 23, 2022 9:03 pm

teachpdx wrote:


johns624 wrote:
In the US, people who fly ULCC normally don't do international.


That’s an overgeneralization. Just because people fly ULCC in the US doesn’t mean they aren’t international travelers (on that itinerary or at another time).

For example, I like saving up my money and flying very inexpensively on domestic itineraries so I can afford the more extensive international trips.

Other times I will utilize a ULCC to fly to a larger city with cheaper international fares. And then once I get overseas I will utilize ULCCs once again.

I’m currently hopping around Mexico on Volaris and Viva Aerobus. First time flying both airlines and they’re perfectly adequate for the fare.

Yes, there are a fair share of American families where the farthest they will ever travel is on an NK fight to Florida, but there are so many others who actually travel the world extensively and use ULCCs to do it.


You are n=1. Just because you do something or behave a certain way does not make you reflective of the population as a whole.

Only 37-40% of the American population has passports. I don't know what you do for a living, but even the majority of those folks are not "hopping around Mexico" or building multi-airline do-it-yourself itineraries to traipse around overseas on a regular basis.

Domestic ULCCs mostly cater to people who would either drive instead or not travel at all. Are there occasionally higher-income passengers who fly them for whatever reason? Sure. But the majority of Americans who have the disposable income to be able to afford international travel are not motivated by the presence of an ULCC on their route(s). The overall number of folks who would be willing to purchase such a product is not enough to support the extensive domestic and international route map that would be required to make a U.S.-based ULCC viable, even if you are one of the folks who would.
 
PSU.DTW.SCE
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Re: When will we see a US low-cost long-haul carrier?

Wed Nov 23, 2022 11:11 pm

You won’t the labor arbitrage that favors foreign based airlines renders this highly unlikely
 
teachpdx
Posts: 236
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2017 1:51 am

Re: When will we see a US low-cost long-haul carrier?

Thu Nov 24, 2022 1:03 am

UALFAson wrote:
teachpdx wrote:


johns624 wrote:
In the US, people who fly ULCC normally don't do international.


That’s an overgeneralization. Just because people fly ULCC in the US doesn’t mean they aren’t international travelers (on that itinerary or at another time).

For example, I like saving up my money and flying very inexpensively on domestic itineraries so I can afford the more extensive international trips.

Other times I will utilize a ULCC to fly to a larger city with cheaper international fares. And then once I get overseas I will utilize ULCCs once again.

I’m currently hopping around Mexico on Volaris and Viva Aerobus. First time flying both airlines and they’re perfectly adequate for the fare.

Yes, there are a fair share of American families where the farthest they will ever travel is on an NK fight to Florida, but there are so many others who actually travel the world extensively and use ULCCs to do it.


You are n=1. Just because you do something or behave a certain way does not make you reflective of the population as a whole.

Only 37-40% of the American population has passports. I don't know what you do for a living, but even the majority of those folks are not "hopping around Mexico" or building multi-airline do-it-yourself itineraries to traipse around overseas on a regular basis.

Domestic ULCCs mostly cater to people who would either drive instead or not travel at all. Are there occasionally higher-income passengers who fly them for whatever reason? Sure. But the majority of Americans who have the disposable income to be able to afford international travel are not motivated by the presence of an ULCC on their route(s). The overall number of folks who would be willing to purchase such a product is not enough to support the extensive domestic and international route map that would be required to make a U.S.-based ULCC viable, even if you are one of the folks who would.


Yeah, I agree that n=1 and my method of travel is not representative of the whole, absolutely. I’ve thrown together crazy itineraries and traveled extensively for super cheap. It’s a travel lifestyle that I’m sure is microscopic compared to the whole. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s an overgeneralization to say that domestic ULCC travelers don’t travel internationally.

People in the USA do travel less than people from many other developed nations mostly due to having zero federally guaranteed vacation time, long work weeks, and a paltry minimum wage compared to cost of living. And it’s something like 13% of US-born adults have never flown at all, and 10% have never left their state.

But there’s still a substantial group of people in the USA (usually millennials and Gen Z) who have the desire to travel and have finally racked up a couple weeks off every year, but don’t have enough disposable income or money in savings to justify flying a legacy carrier (even in basic economy). The money they may save on the ticket is a couple more days of hotel or quite a few decent meals at destination. The concept of not paying for services you don’t need (the heart of the ULCC model) is very popular amongst younger US residents traveling both domestically and abroad.

And like I said before, you have plenty of folks flying NK for their family vacay to Disney, or to catch that cruise, or go to their great aunt’s funeral, and this may be their first flight in awhile if ever. And they have no desire or intent to travel internationally and they are the bread and butter of the domestic ULCC, I completely agree. I just think that the cohort of people who both fly domestic ULCC and travel internationally is larger than most people give it credit for and should not be dismissed completely.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: When will we see a US low-cost long-haul carrier?

Thu Nov 24, 2022 3:42 am

In addition, US people don’t travel internationally because there’s so much in the US to see. For Europeans, where countries are smaller than our states, meeting people who speak a different language; crossing borders for the beach or to ski is second nature. I’d attribute that as much as vacation time.

Here’s an interesting link which proves some of your contentions, but adds there’s a significant cultural aversion to international even domestic travel

https://yourmileagemayvary.net/2022/02/ ... gage-more/
 
FlyingHonu001
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Re: When will we see a US low-cost long-haul carrier?

Sat Nov 26, 2022 10:27 am

There is still Avatar Airlines... :duck:
https://avatarairlines.com

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