Frontier Swaps Philadelphia for Trenton, Continues Airline Trend to Alternative Airports

As FareCompare has noted on its Deals Blog, Frontier Airlines has been aggressively marketing airfare sales to and from its new northeast destination of Princeton/Trenton, which is airline shorthand for New Jersey’s Trenton-Mercer Airport (TTN). Now, the small airport will serve as replacement for all of the airline’s flights to and from Philadelphia.

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Frontier: No More Philly Flights

As Frontier spokesperson Kate O’Malley confirmed to FareCompare, “We eliminated our route between Philadelphia and Denver effective Jan. 7” but noted the airline is still operating a couple of charter flights out of Philadelphia on Caribbean routes for Apple Vacations. “We eliminated the PHL-DEN route because the full year of economics did not justify ongoing service,” added O’Malley.

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Other Airlines Alternative Airports

Frontier’s move continues a longstanding trend among low cost carriers to opt for cheaper airport alternatives over the bigger hubs. Southwest probably started it all with Chicago flights to Midway instead of sprawling O’Hare. A more recent example is JetBlue’s flights in and out of Long Beach, though the airline has not abandoned nearby LAX (or Burbank for that matter).

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Benefits for Passengers Can Include Cheaper Tickets

As air travel analyst Rick Seaney says the decision to leave one airport for another can pretty simple when the big airport “isn’t a money-maker.” Smaller airports may offer cheaper gate space plus sometimes their cities, chambers of commerce or even the airports themselves will subsidize carriers willing to relocate. Seaney notes that Europe’s Ryanair does this all the time by flying to airports as much as 60 miles or so away from popular cities. “For the right price,” says Seaney, “folks will drive.”

The airlines sure hope so. Frontier is currently running specials on flights in/out of Trenton for just $29 one-way, while JetBlue’s new deals feature flights from Long Beach starting at $49 one-way.


Published: January 14, 2013