The new low-cost terminal at Mobile's Downtown Airport (Brookley) has an important new tenant. Frontier Airlines has announced brand new service from the airport, including Chicago and Denver.
They'll join the smaller Via Air at the low-cost terminal, which also just announced new non-stop service to Birmingham, as well as same-plane service to Raleigh, NC and direct flights to Pittsburgh. Those flights will run four days a week on 50-seat Embraer regional jets, the type of planes we're accustomed to seeing at Mobile Regional Airport.
Frontier's service will include twice weekly flights to Chicago and thrice weekly flights to Denver, but it could become so much more if Gulf Coast residents support the new services.
Frontier is not a small airline. They have more than 80 Airbus jets already and are expanding rapidly. Currently, Frontier has more than 200 orders for additional Airbus A320 family aircraft, and those planes are being assembled literally down the street from the new Brookley Field passenger terminal.
All this new service represents a major commitment to the new terminal at Brookley Field. The airport is close to Downtown Mobile and much closer to the Eastern Shore and beach communities, where travelers have often grabbed flights from Pensacola rather than fight the traffic out to West Mobile. With the expansion at Brookley, the Mobile airport system will have the largest nearby population base from which to draw, compared with other airports on the Gulf Coast. And with the addition of more low-cost service, airfares will continue to drop. Not bad for a $7 million investment in new facilities at Brookley.
Eventually, all passenger services will move to Mobile's Downtown Airport. The city's current passenger airport will then become the freight airport -- basically the opposite of what we have today.
Get used to a new airport code, as well. Brookley Field's 3-letter code is BFM. While not nearly as sexy (can an airport code be sexy?) as the MOB airport code used for Mobile Regional Airport, I don't think many of us will mind once we're all paying less to fly from a location that's simply more convenient to a majority of Gulf Coast residents. We can still put MOB on our hats!
Service from Mobile Downtown Airport is scheduled to begin on May 1, 2019 -- just a few months from now. Introductory fares to Denver and Chicago are as low as $39* to start. Book at flyfrontier.com, or use their app. If you need to make a change, Frontier has a fairly generous change policy -- no change fee if the change is made 90 days out or more; just $49 if the change is made 14 to 89 days from departure; and $119 if the change is less than two weeks before the flight.
Let's be happy about this news, but let's also not take this new service for granted. Frontier will serve Mobile because they believe they'll make money here. They believe customers will fly Frontier to/from Mobile Downtown Airport. If we support the new air service, we'll likely keep and expand low-cost service for the long-term. Not just more Frontier service, but other airlines too. But if we don't fly Frontier, well... you know what happens.
If you're worried about frequent flier miles, Frontier has its own frequent flier program called Frontier Miles, which you should join before you fly. They also have a branded Mastercard with Barclay's that you can use to rack up miles.
So plan a vacation. You've always wanted to go see the Rocky Mountains, right? And Chicago is one of my favorite cities in the world. This new service announcement is great news for Mobile and the Gulf Coast. And it's just the beginning.
Watch the full announcement below.
*Fine print: Must book by 10:59pm Central time on January 23rd for non-stop travel. Travel is valid Wednesdays and Saturdays through June 13, 2019. Fares are one way and do not require roundtrip purchase.
Routes and Frequency (Source: Frontier Press Release)
- MOBILE (BFM) to/from DENVER (DEN)
- Depart BFM -- 7:10pm | Arrive DEN -- 9:15pm
- Frequency: Monday, Wednesday, Saturday
- MOBILE (BFM) to/from CHICAGO O'HARE (ORD)
- Depart BFM -- 1:45pm | Arrive ORD: 4:19pm
- Frequency: Wednesday, Saturday
Both routes are seasonal, starting May 1, 2019