3 March 2001
We arrived at Eppley at 6:50am for the 7:35am departure to DEN. Check-in was quick. We were told that even though it was the same flight number all the way to LAX and we had the same seats, there was a plane change in Denver. We went upstairs by 7:05am to gate 3. The aircraft landed shortly afterwards, arriving from Bloomington, Illinois. About eight passengers deplaned. The fog at the airport was especially heavy, as it is surrounded by the river on three sides and a lake on the fourth. Boarding started at 7:20am. I took my seat, 15A, a window overlooking the trailing edge of the port wing. The full flight pushed back at 7:45am during the demo. The aircraft did a 180 turn and taxied slowly toward runway 14R. We stopped suddenly once close to the end of the runway. Captain Zalinsky announced that the fog had rolled in thicker and we could not take-off until it lifted some to restore 600-foot visibility minimums. He also said that if the aircraft had taken off 5 minutes later from Bloomington, it would still be circling over Omaha. He kept us well informed during the delay. Flight attendant Annette circulated around the cabin chatting with passengers, keeping spirits up. The Captain announced that connection would be protected as they would hold the three flights that passengers would be missing due to the delay. He also said that upon arrival in Denver, the LAS-bound passengers would be let off first to run to their next flight. At 8:13am, the fog had lifted enough so we taxied onto 14R and started the take-off roll, quickly coming out on top of the heavy fog. Flight time was estimated at 1 hour 15 minutes at FL310. After the double chime, the flight attendants started the drink service. Whole cans were given out, and two drinks were offered to apologize for the delay. A snack cart followed with a choice between plain or chocolate chip muffins on a small plate. They were freshly heated and not stale like most airline muffins. Coffee refills were offered several times. Legroom was sufficient. My knees weren't even in the seat in front of me as they are on Southwest/America West. The decent into DEN was quick. F/A's asked LAS passengers to put their carry-ons from the overheads under the seat in front of them if possible to expedite their deplaning. We landed at 8:22am local and arrived at gate A27 by 8:27am. Connecting gate information was given during the taxi. While pulling into the gate, a request was made for all non-LAS passeners to stay seated temporarily while those folks could get up and reach the plane being held for them. After those 35 or so people left, the rest of us deplaned.
3 March 2001
Our flight was boarding when we finished our five gate walk over to A36. We boarded and took the same seats as before. This airplane had the same seat coverings, but more legroom and the rows were offset across the aisle. The overheads and passenger service units were different as well (but not surprising as Frontier's fleet is all leased from a wide variety of sources). This 1978 vintage B737-200 was clean, but seats showed age with tray tables that slanted downhill toward one's lap (made the drink service fun). That is my only complaint about Frontier to this point. We pushed back at 8:52am and took off at 9:03am from runway 17R, following out two Frontier B737-300's. After the chime, flight attendants Jeanele, Ursula, and Melissa started the drink service, once again giving out whole cans of soda. They then came through with baskets offering breadsticks and small tubs of marinara sauce. I'll take these over snack mix any day. A second round of drinks was offered after the snack service. The rest of the flight was uneventful with occasional rounds offering coffee or orange juice refills. The approach into LAX was fast and we touched down at 10:07am on runway 24R. There was a long taxi to gate 39 where we had to shut down engines in the alleyway and be towed in, around a corner, to the jetway, arriving at 10:20am. We deplaned and went down to the baggage claim, where luggage took 20 minutes to arrive, and did so mixed in with Alaska Airlines baggage. Then it was off to catch the Hertz Bus to the #1 Club Gold area where we followed the indicator board to our Alero.
I know a lot of folks on this board like to see this, so I'll give hotel information:
Sat night: Hilton Harbor Island/San Diego Airport
Sun night: Hilton Irvine/Orange County Airport
Mon night: With family friends
Tues night: Marriott Courtyard Riverside
Sat night: The Fish Market (San Diego)
Sun night: Javier's (Laguna Beach)
Mon night: Spago (Beverly Hills)
Tues night: some Mexican restaurant in Riverside
7 March 2001
We arrived at the Hertz Car Return at 12:10pm and by 12:15pm we were on board the bus to Terminal 3. By 12:45pm, we were checked in and proceeded upstairs toward gate 39 for our 2:50pm flight to Denver. I passed the time spotting airplane registration numbers out the window under the stairs up to the TWA Ambassadors Club (which has an Admirals Club sign pointing up the stairs to the room with “Ambassadors Club” on the door…. More progress toward the merger perhaps?). At 1:30pm our aircraft arrived from Denver and taxied near the terminal to be towed around the corner and up to the jetway. I spotted over 100 different aircraft to check off in JP Airline Fleets while waiting for boarding. At 2:25pm, boarding started with a pre-board then from the back to the front five rows at a time. We got on toward the end. I took seat 9A, a window directly over the leading edge of the left wing. The airplane pushed back at 2:46pm, four minutes early. We took off at 2:55pm from runway 24L after a taxi that was guided half the time by a tow tug (out of the gate and out to the taxiway that parallels the runways). After the climbout to the west and turnaround to overfly the field, flight attendants Gloria, Rochelle, and Heidi served beverages to the full load of passengers. Warm breadsticks with marinara sauce accompanied drinks. A refill was offered on drinks before trash was collected. The 1 hour 56 minute flight was uneventful and smooth at FL370. We touched down in a perfect landing at 5:48pm in Denver. The F/A said “Awesome landing” to the pilot over the p.a. and asked the passengers to give him a round of applause, which he received. We had a very quick taxi to gate A28 where we pulled in at 5:53pm.
7 March 2001
N271FL (plane swap from N118RW)
After spending the connection at the food court in the center of A Concourse, we went to gate A38 at 7:15pm as boarding was about to commence for the 7:40pm flight to Omaha. By 7:30pm, almost everybody was on board the aircraft. We came down the jetway to see the same captain from our flight out of Omaha a few days before. Flight attendant Annette from the OMA-DEN flight was also on board, and she remembered us and asked us how our trip to Los Angeles went (we had chatted with her during the delay at Omaha). The gate agent came on the p.a. saying she had bad news: there was a part that needed replacement so there would be a delay. She invited us to go and sit in the gate area, saying it would be more comfortable than sitting on the airplane, which was probably true. As everybody got up at once following the announcement, Annette jokingly shouted “It’s a mutiny!” and jokingly said if we were going to revolt against the crew, we should know it’s the fault of the other flight attendant (Natalie) who pretended to run for the galley. Up in the gate we were told they didn’t know how long the delay would be and said there may be an equipment change so we were asked to stay in the gate area, or not to leave it for very long. Throughout the delay, the gate agents made frequent announcements which is probably why nobody seemed to be too distressed or angry. An announcement was made that the first officer was offering cockpit tours to pass the time. I lined up along with about four others. The cockpit crew said they enjoy flying for Frontier and especially like the atmosphere and camaraderie between employees. They told me the part they needed was for the engine starter. They didn’t need it at DEN or OMA as they could use ground power to start up the engines, but they would need it the next morning in Bloomington (terminus of flight 436) where the same facilities weren’t available. After going up to the gate area once again, the agents started calling a few passengers up to the podium and giving them new boarding passes. Then one took off down the gate corridor with the manifest in his hand. The other agent announced that dispatch had assigned us a new airplane and told us to go to A30. We boarded by giving the agent our last name, which she then checked off of the manifest, as soon as the crew went down the jetway. We finally pushed back at 8:41pm and took off at 8:50pm from runway 8. Service was beverages, with two rounds offered. I had seat 8A, another window seat over the wing’s leading edge. Legroom seems to vary on Frontier’s airplanes as all are slightly different on the interior. The flight attendants were friendly as always and apologized over and over for the delay to the full load of passengers. After a smooth flight at FL330, we descended over west Omaha, circling to the south near Council Bluffs Airport before making a quick turn to final for 32L. We touched down at 10:55pm and were in gate 3 by 10:58pm, just 58 minutes late. The baggage claim area for South Terminal was busy as we arrived at the same time as Northwest and Midwest Express flights. However, by 11:15pm, we had our two checked bags and were in the car.
WOW! Frontier is great. I appreciate the snacks (a lot more than peanuts), whole cans of soda, two rounds of drinks, information during delays, and especially friendly employees like the flight attendants (especially Annette). It was a great way to break in my Frontier EarlyReturns account. Too bad that after August I'll be living in JAX and no opportunity to use Frontier.