We’ve talked about how Republic’s acquisition of Frontier and Midwest has given the carrier tremendous flexibility in moving its airplanes around between its different subsidiaries. We’ve already seen announcements that Frontier will operate aircraft under the Midwest name, and some of the Republic-operated Embraer aircraft will come to Denver to operate for Frontier. Now, we’re seeing something even more interesting. Republic will have a single airplane operate for both airlines on the same exact day.
Dan Webb picked up on this one in his Things in the Sky blog. Midwest has announced it will fly from Omaha to both Orlando and Tampa using Embraer 190 aircraft. You might remember seeing that Frontier will fly from Oklahoma City to Orlando and Tampa. Hmm. So here’s how the aircraft is scheduled for the Orlando run. (Tampa is virtually identical.)
Midwest Lv Omaha 750a Arr Orlando 1150a
Frontier Lv Orlando 1220p Arr Oklahoma City 215p
Frontier Lv Oklahoma City 250p Arr Orlando 630p
Midwest Lv Orlando 7p Arr Omaha 905p
Pretty crazy, right? I mean, it may make a lot of sense, but I have so many questions. I assume that they can operate both brands out of the same gate in Orlando and Tampa fairly easily, but there is still the potential for customer confusion. And what about the onboard product? If they are going to keep flipping between airlines like this, they’re going to need to seriously consider the product that they’re offering. It should require a closer standardization between Frontier and Midwest, because otherwise they could create some real customer service issues.
Also, how did they decide to make Oklahoma City on Frontier and Omaha on Midwest? I know that historically Omaha has had a decent Midwest presence, but I would hardly call it a stronghold. They’ve apparently created a line somewhere breaking up the territory, I suppose.
I must admit, it’s pretty cool to see an airline try something like this. It really does show the flexibility of brands, but it requires a certain skill when it comes to implementation. We’ll see if they can pull it off while still maintaining a good customer experience.