Frontier Trip Report
I decide to write a brief report on Frontier, as it is a great airline. As a LCC, it certainly does very well, even when compared to United. I was awarded the “ascent” status last year through a comp promotion, and was able to use the Ascent/Summit line at all times, and the F/As are all thankful for my loyalty. Also it is a great deal to get free Direct TV. I flew a RT between LGA and PHX, and a RT between DCA and PHX, and they cost around $200RT. Great bargain during the sale at the end of August. I took a flight from DCA, so I could fly the A318, which was very similar with A319, but with better overhead lightning (the new style light bulb, which is easier on the eyes and your neighbor). Of course, the performance is superb and even quicker than A319. Legroom is the standard 32” but can be a bit cramped when the flights are full (which happens quite much). Exit rows are the best – Row 9 on A318s and Row 10 on A319s, as well as Row 1 bulkhead seats 1C and D. F/As are friendly, down to earth, and the most professional. Light snacks and full can of beverages are provided on all flights. Yes, you will possibly want to buy some food for the DEN to East Coast flight, but the snack pack and wraps are great snacks. Here are the details:
September 25, 2004
F9 725 DCA-DEN Lv1815 Arr2000 Airbus A318 N801FR
Check in at DCA’s Terminal B and handled by Continental Airlines – there was a separate line for Ascent and Summit members, and I was checked in within five minutes. For the regular line, there was about ten to fifteen minutes wait – I recommend checking in early to get good seats. I checked in two hours prior to departure and was able to get the emergency exit row. The agent was polite and efficient, and soon I headed to the Japanese restaurant and grabbed a bite. Frontier uses gate 10 at DCA terminal B. The inbound aircraft arrived a little bit late, but still had more than an hour to turnaround the aircraft. Boarding began at 5:40pm and the flight was pretty full, which was a bit surprise for a Saturday evening flight. Thankfully, the middle seats at the exit rows remained open and it was nice to be able to spread out. We pushed back five minutes early and headed to R/W19 for takeoff. At 6:20pm, we were off the ground – a beautiful day at DC. Flying time was three hours and twenty-seven minutes. We first climbed to 39,000feet, and passed the cities of Charleston, Huntington, OH, Louisville, Edwardsville, St. Louis airport, Columbia, Kansas City, Topeka, Salina, and Hays before descending to 37,000feet due to turbulence and headed straight towards Denver. The service was standard Frontier westbound flight from East Coast. Beverage service was offered first, followed by a Frontier snack box, which consists of Fritos, Oreo, Cheese spread, O’Brien’s Premium Hickory Smoked beef summer sausage, breadsticks, and Pearson’s Mint patties, and is produced by Oakfield Ridge Farm, like Jetblue. It was fine other than the sausage. For the shorter flight from Atlanta, you will get a smaller version of snack pack with basically the same contents, except the sausage and mint patty. After trash is collected, there is a second round of beverage – once again, whole can is offered. There are water runs throughout the flight on the longer flight. It was almost 8:15pm, when the service was completed. I watched some TV, and soon descent began at 9:20pm EST. We landed on R/W16L at 7:47pm MST, and parked at gate A31 a few minutes later.
F9 861 DEN-PHX Lv2110 Arr2155 Airbus A319 N919FR
During transit, I went to have a quick bite and checked out the evening BA’s Boeing 777 flight to London (G-YMMD tonight). Our aircraft arrived on time from Chicago Midway and after a change of crew and catering, boarding began at 8:33pm. Ascent and summit members are invited to board with the pre-board, such as families with children or people required extra time to board (of course, wheelchair passengers boarded before that). I settled at 3A and the flight was about 70% full with mostly middle seats left opened (compared to a 100% full flight last Friday), it was a better flight today. Door was closed twelve minutes early (yes, 12 minute early), and soon we were on our way to R/W17R following a Frontier Jet Express CRJ-700. We took off at 9:10pm… yes right on schedule for this quick hour and twenty-five minutes flight. The routing was south towards Colorado Spring, and then onto Farmington, New Mexico and then headed directly towards Sky Harbor airport. There was a full beverage service once again, and Direct TV for $5, and a light snack, which was a bag of Sun Chips. Pretty good for a short flight! Descent began at 10:02pm MST and we landed on PHX’s R/W8 at 9:35pm PST. Frontier used terminal three and had its own ground staff and gate agents – very friendly folks. Everyone was able about the early arrival – soon I was on my way to Hilton Garden Inn, which was a nice hotel – complimentary Internet access and a business center with free Internet connection, photocopying and printing. Each room is a suite with full kitchen and fridge and a living room. I got two bottles of water, $5 off coupon on Pavilion Pantry purchases, and free continental breakfast, as a Gold member, as well as a box of pistachio nuts.
September 26, 2004
F9 674 PHX-DEN Lv1315 Arr1600 Airbus A319 N905FR
Frontier has its own check in counters at Terminal three and is opened from 5am till the last flight. It has a separate line for elite members. I arrived at the airport two hours prior, so I got get an exit row seat on the very full flight from DEN to LGA, which was no surprise. Well I only got the window of the exit row, but not bad… Frontier check in agent and gate agents are very friendly and I cannot have said better things about them. I read at the gate area – not much activities to report, except many DL CRJs including CR7 N710EV, America West Airbus A320s and Boeing 757s (spotted Arizona Diamand and Nevada Battleground liveries), and southwest, especially –700s with the winglet. The inbound flight arrived early at 12:13pm and we were off to an early start. No surprise, I saw the same crew from last night flight – short layover, but not surprised. Boarding began at 12:36pm and the wonderful F/A said hi to me and said, “Short trip… less than 12 hours,” and guess what, two other passengers were also on last night flight. The F/A immediately got me two bags of Sun Chips (I asked for an extra bag last night and she forgot) that she “owed” me… the whole crew was in a real great spirit. The flight was about 80-90% full and my row was fully occupied. Door closed at 1:04pm and we wasted no time to taxi to R/W8. We took off a minute earlier than scheduled time of 1:14pm – Frontier was really good on running on time. Flying time was an hour and twenty-four minutes. The service was the same as yesterday, and today we got a choice of Sun Chips or Fritos. The routing took us heading NE towards Durango, and then onto Denver. Descent began at 2:14pm and some light chops on the way to DEN, as expected at the time of the day. We landed on R/W35L at 3:38pm, and parked at gate A39, just about the same time that Lufthansa’s Boeing 747-400 D-ABVD parked at their gates as well. It was a beautiful sight to see a Boeing 747 from a foreign airline. My neighbors were happy to see the LH’s 744, as they did not need to look for the gates of their connecting flight to Germany.
F9 516 DEN-LGA Lv1645 Arr2225 Airbus A319 N915FR
I flew ten flights with Frontier during the past month, and this was the only one that departed and boarded late, due to the late arrival from Las Vegas. The flight was 100% full as expected, but not oversold. The gate agents were able to get everybody seats. Boarding finally began at 4:30pm from gate A28, and the F/As were busy assisting passengers with bags and stuffs. Great service! Door was closed at 4:59pm and we pushed back a few minutes later. We taxied towards R/W08, as for my past couple flights heading towards East. That seems to be the runway heading towards east. We took off at 5:13pm and our flying time was three hours and eleven minutes with a cruising attitude of 37,000feet. The routing took us towards Kearney, Grand Island, Omaha, Councilbluffs, Des Moines, Davenport, Yorkville, Joilet, Chicago, Gary, South Bend, Toledo, Cleveland, Williamsport, PA, where we began our descent and Allentown before heading towards Manhattan.
Service started late as there were bumps on the initial hour of the flight. As typical of all Frontier’s eastbound flight (including Atlanta), Frontier features its signature wraps with a choice of Doritos or Sun chips. The choices for the signature wraps include Thai Chicken (penne pasta in pesto, chicken chunks, raisins, mandarin orange, Romaine lettuce, & shredded cheese), Greek Beef warps (roast beef slices w/olives, feta cheese, lettuce, cucumbers, tomato, and mayonnaise), and Vegetarian (Spinach and Mushroom) wraps. I tried both the beef and chicken wraps before, and both are good, but I like the chicken wrap slightly better, but beef wraps seem to be the popular choice. After trash was collected, there was a second beverage service. Since we were over Cleveland when the second beverage came through, it was our final beverage service as expected. At 9:50pm EST, descent began and we landed on R/W22 at 10:24pmEST – right on time, and was at the gate between a Spirit’s MD-80 and Airtran’s Boeing 717 five minutes later.
In conclusion, Frontier is a great airline and I will requalify as their ascent members next year. I think it is a great airline with great people. Compared to TED on the shorter flights to LAS and DEN, Frontier is just way ahead, except UA has a better mileage program and an economy plus section, but the Direct TV, full beverage and light snack services are just unbeatable, plus a friendly crew. On the longer flights, United is perhaps better with economy plus, first class upgrades, and a better MP program, but Frontier is really not that bad – sure the seats are a bit smaller the Y+ but still better than regular Y. On F9, you still get a light complimentary snack with two rounds of full beverage service, but on UA Y, you get to buy on board program. Most importantly, the F/As are mostly friendly and helpful and more consistent than United. The ground staffs at DEN and various stations are also much nicer than UA staffs at DEN and SFO. So give Frontier a try in the future!