In October 2013, Republic Airways Holdings entered into an agreement with private equity firm Indigo Partners to sell Frontier Airlines for approximately $145 million. According to Indigo, the transaction would further Frontier's evolution into an ultra-low-cost carrier. In December 2013, Indigo Partners LLC, through an affiliate, completed the purchase of Frontier Airlines from Republic Airways Holdings. The airline's headquarters will remain in Denver. Republic Airways Holdings subsidiary Republic Airlines no longer flies Embraer 190 aircraft on behalf of Frontier, as of January 1, 2014.
The initial JetExpress partnership with Mesa ended in January 2004, when Horizon Air was selected to operate the routes. Horizon utilized slightly larger CRJ-700 regional jet aircraft on these routes. In August 2006, Frontier and Horizon ended their partnership. While Frontier was generally pleased with Horizon's operation, the carrier decided that it needed to revisit the agreement and find a provider with additional regional jets to grow the operation. The last of the CRJ-700's was returned to the Horizon Air fleet on November 30, 2007.
In February 2012, Frontier Airlines cut five nonstop routes from Milwaukee. This move "reduced Frontier's daily departing flights out of Mitchell International from 32 to 18," or 56%. Frontier announced further layoffs in conjunction with this route change: up to 446 Milwaukee-area employees were affected by the job cuts that occurred between April 15 and April 30, 2012.
In November 2012, Frontier started low-frequency service between Orlando International Airport and Trenton–Mercer Airport near Trenton, New Jersey, which, at the time, had no commercial service. Frontier later expanded service several times from Trenton, and as of June 2016 services 11 destinations. Frontier currently bases three aircraft in Trenton. Trenton Mercer Airport lies roughly equidistant between Philadelphia International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport.
Various consumer rights organizations and activists called for the creation of a government mandated “Bill of Rights” to protect air travelers from future experiences similar to the one previously described. On February 20, 2007, jetBlue released an apologetic response to the events that had taken place less than a week before with the creation of their Customer Bill of Rights, which offers financial reciprocation if a customer's flight is delayed or cancelled.
Following the February 2007 incident in which the airline was forced to cancel nearly 1,700 flights due to winter storms, jetBlue's board of directors replaced founder and Chief Executive Officer David Neeleman with Dave Barger. He had politicked the board, while Neeleman was busy publicly apologizing. Barger's ascendancy caused widespread demoralization in the ranks. He became JetBlue's new Chief Executive Officer on May 10, 2007. Neeleman, the company's founder and largest individual investor, became a nonexecutive chairman as a result of the change.
Frontier was ranked in an airline quality rating report by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Wichita State University in 2015 as one of the five worst airlines in the United States, especially due to its rate of customer complaints and bumped passengers. The airline also had relatively poor on-time performance, and the waiting time for help when calling the airline on the phone was reported to have risen to two hours or more.
Frontier has a three-tier frequent flyer status program. The tiers are Elite 20K (earned by flying 20,000 Status Qualifying Miles [SQM] or 25 segments in a calendar year), Elite 50K (50,000 SQM or 50 segments), and Elite 100K (100,000 SQM or 100 segments). Elite benefits include free carry-on and checked bags, advance seat assignment and family seating, priority boarding, redemption fee waiver, stretch seating, Discount Den membership, and mileage multipliers.
In October 2013, jetBlue introduced Mint, a premium cabin service on transcontinental and select Caribbean flights. The service began in 2014, using the Airbus A321-231 aircraft ordered by jetBlue. These planes are outfitted with winglets, as well as with "lie flat" seats, and moveable partitions that can create small suites on the airplane. Called "Mint" by jetBlue, these planes are configured with 16 business-class seats and 143 economy seats, instead of an all-economy configuration of 190 seats.
During the last few days of June and the first few days of July 2015, jetBlue began charging for bags in certain booking classes, leaving Southwest Airlines the only major U.S. carrier to not charge for bags. For the classes in which bag check fees are charged (generally the lowest class of fares offered; jetBlue offers 3 classes of fares), the cost is $20 for the first bag and $35 for the second, which is the lowest in the United States besides Frontier Airlines with similar prices.
On January 11, 2007, Frontier Airlines signed an 11-year service agreement with Republic Airlines. Under the agreement, Republic was to operate 17, 76-seat Embraer 170 aircraft for the former Frontier JetExpress operations. At the time the contract was canceled in April 2008, Republic Airlines operated 11 aircraft for Frontier Airlines, with the remaining six aircraft expected to join the fleet by December 2008. With the integration of Republic aircraft, the 'JetExpress' denotation was removed. Subsequent to the cessation of Horizon's services for Frontier in December 2007, all flights operated by Republic were sold and marketed as "Frontier Airlines, operated by Republic Airlines." The first market created specifically for the Embraer 170 was Louisville, Kentucky, which began on April 1, 2007. Service to Louisville was suspended in August 2008 but restarted in April 2010.
jetBlue also utilizes various forms of advertising media. They use print, online, and television ads as well as advertisements on popular social media sites including Hulu and YouTube. jetBlue emphasizes a secondary slogan, "If you wouldn't take it on the ground, don't take it in the air" poking fun at competitors with hidden fees, little, or no amenities and what jetBlue considers an unacceptable level of customer service.
jetBlue's first major advertising campaign incorporated phrases like "Unbelievable" and "We like you, too". Full-page newspaper advertisements boasted low fares, new aircraft, leather seats, spacious legroom, and a customer-service-oriented staff committed to "bringing humanity back to air travel". With a goal of raising the bar for in-flight experience, jetBlue became the first airline to offer all passengers personalized in-flight entertainment. In April 2000, flat-screen monitors installed in every seatback allow customers live access to over 20 DirecTV channels at no additional cost.
On June 22, 2009, Frontier Airlines announced that pending bankruptcy court approval, Republic Airways Holdings, the Indianapolis-based parent company of Republic Airlines, would acquire all assets of Frontier Airlines for the amount of $108 million. Thus, Frontier Airlines would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Republic. However, 5 weeks later on July 30, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines announced that it would be making a competing bid of $113.6 million for Frontier with intentions to also operate Frontier as a wholly owned subsidiary, but that it would gradually fold Frontier resources into current Southwest operating assets.