Midwest Airlines and Frontier Airways Brands Heading for Retirement

wbaiv, flickr

After over 25 years in the sky, it seems as though the Midwest Airlines brand may soon make its final departure.

Republic Airways Holdings Inc. bought the airline in July and then purchased Frontier Airlines in October. The company plans to unveil a "unified brand plan" this spring, according to a report run by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on February 26th.

The two carriers have been flying as stand-alone brands, but the mixing of the fleets has caused confusion for customers. For example, Frontier customers would expect to have DirecTV service in their planes, but would not find the amenity on a Midwest jet. Alternatively, Midwest customers are used to roomier seats, which are not a staple of the Frontier brand.

"We believe both Frontier and Midwest bring great brand value to us. And we need to work in a path of fusing these brands that retains as much customer loyalty as we can," said Republic Chairman Bryan Bedford on Friday.

This fusion will result in a more consistent product, a more focused marketing approach, and cost cutting.

Bedford also announced that sometime after Labor day, both Frontier and Midwest customers will be able to book tickets on one reservation system for both airlines.

Formerly, Midwest was known as "The Best Care in the Air," distinguishing itself with amenities such as extra-wide seats and warm cookies. Former Midwest marketing manager Jay Sorensen told the Sentinel that the brand is "no longer Midwest in products and people."

After Republic dropped Midwest's Boeing 717 fleet and replaced them with jets flown by lower-paid flight crews, hundreds of former Midwest crew members remain without work. The flight attendants and pilots may eventually fly with Republic, depending on negotiations made by unions representing Republic, Midwest, and Frontier.

No timeline has been specified for merging the two airlines together. Additionally, there is no word on what the new unified brand name will be.
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