Ultra-low-cost carrier Spirit is no stranger to reasonably long routes or transcontinental services. Forthcoming Newark to Los Angeles will be its fourth-longest route by distance this summer – but its longest by block time, at least from New Jersey to California.

What's happening?

The coast-to-coast link will take off on May 5th. At 2,454 miles (3,949km), it'll be just 546 miles (879km) short of being considered long-haul.

Operating 1x daily, as is typical with Spirit, it'll use 182-seat A320neos. This will clearly help to lower fuel consumption and improve route performance versus older A320ceos and A319s, which are still deployed on some of its longer routes.

The schedule is as follows, with all times local. It has a block time to New Jersey of five hours and 25 minutes, and six hours and 10 minutes back.

  • Los Angeles to Newark: NK1892, 08:00-16:25
  • Newark to Los Angeles: NK1891, 17:25-20:35

According to Spirit's website, one-way fares (including a random seat and personal item) on the route are available from $76. That's about a third cheaper than the lowest priced non-stop deals with Alaska, JetBlue, and United. They do, of course, include a personal item, but no other carry-on or checked luggage, seat selection, more miles, etc.

Spirit's summer 2022 network from Newark and Los Angeles
This summer, Spirit has 14 routes from Newark and 28 from Los Angeles. Note: Louisville, served briefly for the Kentucky Derby, is excluded. Image: OAG.

Stay aware: Sign up for my weekly new routes newsletter.

The fourth airline in the market

On May 5th, 2019, only United and Alaska operated the route. Now there will be four carriers, the most ever, with Spirit joining Alaska, JetBlue, and United.

Never before has a ULCC operated it, bringing more choice and lower overall fares – whether you use the airline or one of the others.

In the week Spirit begins, Newark-Los Angeles has some 117 departures or about 17 daily, according to the latest OAG data. They're as follows, with United obviously having the lion's share, as it always will. Over eight in ten of United's flights will be by widebodies, including the B787-10.

  1. United: 63x weekly departures (9x daily) in the week of May 5th; 54% of departures; B777-200/200ER, B787-10, B757-200ER, B787-9 all deployed
  2. JetBlue: 26x (nearly 4x daily); 22%; A321
  3. Alaska: 21x (3x daily); 18%; B737-800, B737-900ER, B737 MAX 9
  4. Spirit: 7x (1x daily); 6%; A320neo

As is typically the case, Spirit won't be chasing market share but instead, focus on the 'soft underbelly' of demand that prioritize price more than anything else. That's just as well, as it has just 6% of departures.

Newark to Los Angeles development
The rise in passengers in 2013 was from United's big growth following the merger with Continental, with Virgin America also entering the market that year. The year 2019 was the best yet, thanks to the growth of Alaska (which began in 2018 and replaced Virgin) and United. JetBlue entered in July 2020. Source of data: T-100.

Spirit's fourth-longest route

OAG indicates that Newark-Los Angeles will be Spirit's fourth-longest route by distance this summer, as shown below. Notice number three, New York LaGuardia-Los Angeles, operated only on Saturdays due to the perimeter rule.

  1. Fort Lauderdale-Lima: 2,627 miles (4,227km)
  2. Oakland-Philadelphia: 2,511 miles (4,041km)
  3. LaGuardia-Los Angeles: 2,469 miles (3,974km)
  4. Los Angeles-Newark: 2,454 miles (3,950km)
  5. Los Angeles-Philadelphia: 2,402 miles (3,865km)
  6. Boston-Las Vegas: 2,381 miles (3,831km)
  7. Fort Lauderdale-Los Angeles: 2,343 miles (3,770km)
  8. Baltimore-Los Angeles: 2,329 miles (3,748km)
  9. Las Vegas-Newark: 2,227 miles (3,584km)
  10. Las Vegas-Philadelphia: 2,176 miles (3,503km)

If block time is considered, Newark-Los Angeles is the longest, at six hours and 10 minutes. It's thanks to the New Jersey airport's congestion and size and heavy headwinds going westwards. Only two others exceed six hours: Boston-Las Vegas (six hours and seven minutes) and LaGuardia-Los Angeles (six hours and five minutes).

Would you like to fly Spirit on its new route? Let us know in the comments.

Spirit A320neo
Back In Puerto Rico: Spirit Returns To Ponce After 13 Years
Read Next
About The Author