Spirit Launching Pittsburgh-Houston Route This Summer

Airline adds 12th city, ULCCs continue increasing capacity at PIT

By Evan Dougherty

Published April 19, 2024

Read Time: 3 mins


Spirit Airlines is heading back to Southeast Texas. The ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) will launch daily, nonstop seasonal service between Pittsburgh and Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) starting June 5.

Spirit will operate the route daily with its Airbus A320 aircraft. The inbound flight will depart from Houston at 6:58 a.m. local time and arrive in Pittsburgh at 10:48 a.m. The outbound flight will depart from Pittsburgh at 12:40 p.m. and arrive in Houston at 3 p.m. Flights can be booked at Spirit.com.

“Our new, daily service from Pittsburgh to Houston provides an affordable option to travel between the two cities and easily connects family and friends in the Steel City and Space City,” said John Kirby, Vice President of Network Planning at Spirit. “We’re excited to give our PIT Guests More Go this summer, and this new flight to IAH expands our PIT service.”

The announcement comes as PIT saw total passenger numbers climb 10 percent in March, including a 37.5 percent rise in nonstop international passengers (travelers that begin and end their trips in Pittsburgh) for the month.

Year-to-date, total passengers at PIT are up 8.1 percent, surpassing 2 million passengers during the first quarter for the first time since 2019.

Spirit last flew the PIT-IAH route in 2017 as one of the carrier’s first destinations when it entered the Pittsburgh market nearly seven years ago.

Spirit’s announcement provides an additional low-cost option for travelers visiting the Houston market; Southwest Airlines provides daily nonstops to Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) from PIT while United Airlines already operates three daily flights to its IAH hub.

A Spirit Airlines A320neo takes off from Pittsburgh International Airport on March 4, 2024. (Photo by Beth Hollerich)

“We’re thrilled Spirit continues to grow in the Pittsburgh market with three new routes in 2024,” said Bryan Dietz, senior vice president of Air Service and Commercial Development at PIT. “Adding more low-cost service is one of our top priorities, and Spirit continues to recognize the strong demand in the Pittsburgh region.”

With Houston, Spirit now serves 12 destinations from PIT. The airline begins new daily, seasonal nonstop service to New York-LaGuardia on May 8 and daily nonstop flights to Boston on June 5. Spirit has also increased capacity on existing routes, such as additional service to Orlando, and resumed its seasonal service to Myrtle Beach last month.

Overall, ULCCs – including Spirit – are capitalizing on pent-up demand for air travel in the Pittsburgh region. The growth of ULCCs is a major component of PIT’s strategy as an origin-and-destination airport: to provide more nonstop, convenient and affordable flight choices for Pittsburgh travelers and those coming to Pittsburgh. With the addition of Spirit to Houston, ULCCs now fly nonstop to 19 of PIT’s top 25 origin-and-destination markets.

Additionally, ULLCs are shifting their network strategies, moving capacity and bringing low-cost service to historically underserved or high fare routes nationwide.

For example, Spirit added Boston, Houston and New York-LaGuardia alongside its existing daily service to Newark. Frontier Airlines is also beginning twice daily service to Philadelphia in May as part of a four-city expansion at PIT that includes Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth and Raleigh-Durham.

Sun Country Airlines, which entered the Pittsburgh market in 2022, will resume its seasonal service to Minneapolis on May 24, increasing service to four times a week in June.

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