Having chosen the United 787-9 for my flight out to Denver, I completely forgot that I needed to book a return as well. Knowing I was going to meet with Frontier, I really thought it best to fly the airline home. I’m glad I did. This was a really good experience.
Frontier’s fare was $99, well below others on midday flights. Of course, I needed to add on a few things. I could have simply chosen The Works. This is Frontier’s way of letting you rebundle if you want a better experience. Here was my option:
Indeed, $72 would have been a great deal if I wanted Stretch seating and if I valued refundability. That’s not a big step up in price to get it, but this trip was locked in. Plus, I only wanted a carry-on bag ($30) and a window seat in the back ($9). I opted for the a la carte option instead, paying $138 in total, still better than others.
The printer at the business center in our Homewood Suites in Littleton (which needs serious renovation) broke, and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get my boarding pass. Frontier is finalizing a new phone app which will make this much better in the future, but fortunately, someone at the front desk figured out a way for me to email it to them for printing. Problem solved.
The next day, I made my way out to
Western Kansas Denver Airport, and again found myself bracing for the worst. I had been watching the inbound aircraft, and suddenly noticed that a delay had been posted on the flight in from Salt Lake. It was going to be 2 hours late, and I figured that meant I was destined for a couple hour delay myself. Dejected, I headed toward security.
Frontier doesn’t participate in Pre Check, and I really dreaded the process. Fortunately since Frontier is on Concourse A, I could walk upstairs to the special security area on the bridge over there, bypassing the train. The lines weren’t too long, but it still took me 15 minutes to get through. Pre Check would make a huge difference.
After getting through, I saw my flight was still on time, and then I realized why. Frontier had pulled a spare aircraft out for us! Having met with the Frontier folks on Friday, I wondered if this was some sort of special treatment. But I looked later and Frontier had 96.1 percent of flights arrive within 14 minutes of schedule that day. With such a good operation, that spare must have just been itching for an opportunity to get in the air. The spare is an A320, so that was an upgauge for us from a 144 seat A319 to 180 seats. Sweet.
Boarding was called and people orderly lined up by zone. I was in zone 1, which I think is what happens when you purchase a carry-on but I’m not sure. I boarded Sally the Mustang, our tail animal, and headed toward my seat. The seats are brand new and looked really nice. I heard a couple people say “wow, this must be a new airplane,” not realizing it was more than
20 10 years old.
October 12, 2015
Frontier 405 Lv Denver 1220p Arr Los Angeles 145p
Denver (DEN): Gate A36, Runway 17R, Depart 5m Early
Los Angeles (LAX): Gate 31B, Runway 25L, Arrive 16m Early
N203FR, Airbus A320-214, Sally the Mustang colors, ~80% Full
Seat 14A, Coach
Flight Time 1h49m
Once on the airplane, I made my way back, passing the smart-looking Stretch seats (below).
When I got back to my seat, I put my stuff up in the bin. There was plenty of space even once boarding was completed, as you can see in this photo.
There were some open seats on the airplane, but my row was completely full. I took a deep breath and sat down. And you know what? It was comfortable. This row is a little different than others because the seat in front is an exit row and has the traditional tray table hanging off the back. (Most of the seats have half-tables.) But I think that means that personal space may feel a bit smaller than in other seats. That being said, I felt like I had plenty of legroom.
The seat is of the “pre-reclined” variety so it feels like the whole thing is ever-so-slightly tilted back into a cradle position. Over time, I still found the seat bottom to be really comfortable. The back was a bit stiff, but it wasn’t bad.
I also took notice of the seat width. Frontier offers middle seats that are wider than the rest. That not only gives a little more breathing room, but it also adjusts where you’d want to put your arms on the tiny armrest. It was a surprisingly nice configuration. I tried to get a good photo of it, and you can kind of see here. Look where my shoulders fall on my seat compared to the guy in the middle.
As I was checking out my seat, people kept trying to move forward and the flight attendant kept pushing them back. He was more stern than I would have liked, but he rightly explained that it wouldn’t be fair to let them move into seats that others had to pay for. Some people were mad, but everyone followed directions. It must not be fun enforcing those rules.
We were ready to go so we pushed back early and had a really short taxi to runway 17R. We were in the air and on our way very quickly. The sky was a brilliant blue as we pointed our nose toward the Rockies. As usual, there were some bumps on the ascent over the mountains, but it smoothed out and the seatbelt sign went off before we leveled off.
Frontier has no wi-fi, so I had prepared with some reading material to keep me busy. The flight attendants made a pass trying to sell snacks and drinks. I declined but I did take a cup of water, which is free.
The rest of the flight passed quickly. We descended into LAX and arrived at the gate fairly early thanks to light headwinds. (Strangely, the eastbound flight on United was 10 minutes longer than this westbound flight.)
I really enjoyed my flight on Frontier and wouldn’t hesitate to fly the airline again. As long as it’s able to keep its on-time performance where it is, then Frontier should be an increasingly good option.