If you flew on Spirit Airlines in the mid-2000s, chances are pretty good you were headed to, or coming from, Florida. Back then, most of the carrier's seats were deployed on routes to and from the Sunshine State.
But an analysis of market data shows the extent to which 21-year-old Spirit expanded its reach in recent years as it transformed from a regional airline into a national, publicly-traded low-cost carrier.
And the carrier says its route map will continue to expand in the coming years as its cost advantage allows it to stimulate traffic in hundreds of potential new markets.
In 2005, the earliest year of available data from Capstats, Miramar, Florida-based Spirit deployed 62% of its capacity on routes between Florida and destinations in the Northeast and Midwest USA - places like Detroit, Chicago, New York, Providence in Rhode Island, Washington DC, Myrtle Beach in South Carolina and Atlantic City in New Jersey.
Spirit's annual capacity was 6.3 million seats in 2005, and its entire route map included just a few dozen destinations, including about 10 in the Caribbean and just two US cities - Las Vegas and Los Angeles - west of the Mississippi River.
Map created with gcmap.com using data from Capstats
Today, the carrier's route map looks much different.
Between January and June 2013, only 23% of Spirit's available seats will be on routes from Florida to those same Northeast and Midwest destinations.
In recent years, the carrier has expanded to major destinations in the central and western USA, where it faces direct competition from much larger airlines.
In the first half of 2013, 9% of Spirit's capacity will move through Dallas-Fort Worth International airport, from where Spirit serves some 25 destinations.
Another 8% of Spirit's capacity now flies between Las Vegas and roughly one dozen cities, and 8% is deployed on flights to and from Chicago to some 15 cities.
Spirit also flies west to places like Portland in Oregon, Phoenix in Arizona and Oakland and San Diego in California, and it has also added service to smaller, secondary cities like Latrobe in Pennsylvania, Charleston in West Virginia and Plattsburgh in New York.
Spirit now serves about 55 destinations, including more than two dozen in the Caribbean and Central and South America. Capstats shows that Spirit's capacity in 2012 was roughly 12 million seats.
Spirit's route map as of June 2013
As it expanded, Spirit ceded market share on many of the north-south routes where it once had a more dominant presence.
For instance, Spirit will have a 13% market share between the three major New York airports and Fort Lauderdale in the first six months of 2013, down from about 20% in 2010, according to Capstats.
Likewise, Spirit's market share between Detroit and Fort Lauderdale decreased to 28% from 54% in 2008, and its share of seats between Fort Lauderdale to Chicago declined to 27% from 43% in 2011, according to Capstats.
Executives at the company say Spirit's route map will continue to expand thanks to its low costs and broad trends in the airline industry.
In a 20 May analyst call, executives say Spirit's initial public offering in 2011 has improved its financial condition and allowed it to lease aircraft at better terms than before.
The public offering was central to the airline's transition from a regional player into a national, ultra-low cost airline. Spirit helped pioneer many ancillary fees like those for checked baggage and onboard soft drinks.
As it grows, Spirit will also benefit from economies of scale, chief executive Ben Baldanza says during the call.
Spirit already has the lowest unit costs in the industry, at 10.09 cents per available seat mile in 2012, but Baldanza says its cost advantage will improve in the coming years.
And he says more opportunities have been created for Spirit thanks to industry consolidation, which has resulted in higher fares and less competition on many routes.
"[Consolidation] gives us the ability to come in underneath [and] price more and more markets at a lower rate," says Baldanza, adding that Spirit can attract business from travellers who have been "priced out" by high fares.
"The same consolidation that has stabilised the industry has also created more growth opportunity for Spirit," he says.
Those factors open hundreds of new potential markets for Spirit, the airline says.
"We find today that there's over 400 markets that we believe that we can enter, stimulate the market, reach our target margins and grow," says chief marketing officer Barry Biffle during the analyst call.
Spirit did not respond to a request for comment for this story.