Ok, so Frontier and Midwest are uniting under the Frontier name, and now they’re trying to standardize the brand and offerings. So what do they do? They go out and decide to purposefully create a split brand offering by adding internet to the Embraer 170 and 190 aircraft only. I guess we did see this coming, right?
These guys are developing quite the variety of inflight entertainment options. It’s just too bad that they aren’t all available on every airplane. Instead, it’s a hodge-podge. I suppose that’s fitting since their largest competitor is probably United, the king of hodge-podge. Here’s how it’s going to break down.
How do I feel about this? I really don’t mind not having anything but a window on the little Embraer regional jets. I mean, those are flying mostly (if not entirely) dedicated routes to small markets. They fly short routes and inflight entertainment just won’t be worthwhile for those.
But the Embraer 170s and 190s, I’m not thrilled. Those planes fly side by side with the Airbus aircraft. In fact, I’ll be flying one way out of Long Beach on an Airbus and the other way on an Embraer. So having differing products on planes that fly alongside each other on identical routes will be annoying.
I understand why they’re doing it. It’s a lot cheaper and easier to pop a wireless router and an antenna on an airplane than it is to put televisions in every seatback. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right decision.
Ultimately, none of this is a surprise. When I first wrote about the decision to consolidate around the Frontier brand, I said this:
I’m glad to see the TVs sticking around, but I’m wondering what’s coming on the rest of the fleet. I would hope that they’d put TVs on their Embraer 170/190 fleet since those go pretty long distances. But the way this is worded makes me think that their version of inflight entertainment may very well just end up being inflight internet. We’ll have to see.
Unfortunately, it looks like I was right.