JetBlue Wants to Buy Spirit Airlines & Scrap the Brand as We Know It

In an effort to expand, JetBlue put in an offer to purchase the budget airline.

Markus Mainka/Shutterstock
Markus Mainka/Shutterstock

Sometimes, flying with the budget airline feels like you have to sacrifice every basic luxury and every standard comfort as well. But when you need to get somewhere for cheap, no other airline can beat Spirit's budget fares. And Spirit's fleet and service route is in high demand; Frontier Airlines offered to purchase the airline in February for $2.9 billion.

JetBlue has seen Frontier's offer and made an even larger bid, somewhat unexpectedly. The airline made an offer to purchase Spirit Airlines on April 6. Executives at JetBlue said in a press release that buying the airline known for its bright yellow planes would help JetBlue achieve its goal to expand and compete against other rivals.

According to CNBC, JetBlue made a $3.6 billion all-cash offer to purchase Spirit Airlines. (Yes, cash!) In a press release, Spirit executives say that JetBlue made the offer completely unsolicited. For those keeping track, though, JetBlue did put $700 million more on the table than Frontier did.

JetBlue would completely erase Spirit's branding if it were to purchase the airline. There would be no more caution tape coloring or the ability to purchase only the services customers want, and Spirit's existing planes and routes would be folded into the existing JetBlue services. If JetBlue were to acquire Spirit successfully, Frontier would be the only US-based budget airline.

As for the benefits for JetBlue, the offer to purchase Spirit has confused experts. CNBC reported that Wall Street experts had a general response of "Wait, what?"

Honestly, I'm similarly confused about the scramble to purchase Spirit Airlines. Perhaps it has something to do with Spirit flights being more likely to arrive on time than both JetBlue and Frontier.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a staff writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.