What does JetBlue-Spirit merger mean for travelers?

Deal will create 5th largest domestic airline
A JetBlue Airways Airbus A320, left, passes a Spirit Airlines Airbus A320 as it taxis on the runway, Thursday, July 7, 2022, at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Posted at 4:45 PM, Jul 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-28 18:16:29-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — JetBlue Airways is buying up South Florida-based Spirit Airlines.

The nearly $4 billion deal is expected to create a much bigger airline, but what does it mean for travelers?

Many travelers on Spirit Airlines seem to have a love-hate relationship with the low-cost carrier.

But those yellow Spirit planes will be painted white and blue if the deal is approved by the federal government.

WATCH: Airline expert explains why JetBlue is buying Spirit Airlines

Airline expert explains why JetBlue purchased Spirit Airlines

So, why does JetBlue want to make the purchase? It's about acquiring more planes, pilots and staff.

"JetBlue wants to acquire Spirit basically as a way of growing JetBlue much faster," David Slotnick with The Points Guy said. "They want to double the size of their airline."

The deal will create the fifth largest domestic airline with 458 planes and a lot more on the way.

Based in Miramar, Spirit has established a foothold in South Florida, especially in Fort Lauderdale.

The company said in a statement that it expects to keep its workforce in place, especially in South Florida.

A line of Spirit Airlines jets sit on the tarmac at the Orlando International Airport on May 20, 2020, in Orlando, Fla.
A line of Spirit Airlines jets sit on the tarmac at the Orlando International Airport on May 20, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. JetBlue is buying Spirit Airlines, Thursday, July 28, 2022, in a $3.8 billion deal, a day after Spirit and Frontier Airlines agreed to abandon their merger proposal.

"It's more JetBlue being able to double down," Slotnick said. "This would sort of cement their presence, especially in areas like Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Miami and really just the overall Florida leisure, warm weather market."

Slotnick said that means maybe less delays and cancellations for travelers.

One thing flyers may not be happy about is Spirit's low fares going away. Experts said that may be a concern for government regulators who need to approve the sale.

The companies hope to have the merger done no later than the first half of 2024.

Spirit said Thursday that construction on their new campus in Dania Beach is underway and will continue.