Frontier Airlines’ A320s are fairly discussed, and the cabin reminded me of an earlier version of Jetblue’s décor with less legroom but the same faux leather seats (grey in JetBlue and green in Frontier) with earlier generalization of Personal TV
. The first five rows are stretch section, as well as two rows of exit rows, and they are clearly marked in the cabin, and it definitely discourages people from upgrading themselves. The overhead bin also has a “stretch” section marked too.
First unique poster at each aircraft – N203FR is named “Sally the Mustang”
Regular section in the aft section
Overhead bin featuring Stretch Section
July 1st is also a big day for Frontier’s cabin crews, as Frontier Airlines will introduce a new range of “enhancement” to their cabin service! Here is the link to the new catering concept:
Beginning July 1, Frontier Airlines will no longer provide everyone a complimentary nonalcoholic beverage if you are not a Classic or Classic Plus passenger, as well as Frontier Ascent and Summit members. However, if you purchase a soda, you will get a full can, instead of just a glass, and you will get unlimited refills if you order tea or coffee. From what I heard at the gate, cabin crews were not impressed with this move, and were very confused about the amount of beverages that are free. I heard one crew asking another member a question, “If a passenger order a rum and coke, do I have to charge him or her both for the rum and also the soda?” As a Classic Plus passenger, I am entitled for non-alcoholic beverages, and a choice of premium non-alcoholic beverages (Izze’s sparkling juices, bottled waters, and milk), and alcoholic beverages. But how many cokes am I allowed? I asked Frontier through twitter, and the answer is that I am entitled to one regular non-alcoholic beverage, and one premium beverage per flight over 200 miles. But when I asked the F/A during the service, she told me that I could have unlimited amount of regular non-alcoholic beverages as a Classic Plus passenger. However the biggest issue is that the boarding pass stub (the small stub) that they gave you does not actually have the PLUS logo, and Frontier needs to work on this issue immediately, and make sure the PLUS logo is also printed in the small stub side. That is a major oversight. For all three flights, the flight attendants all asked Classic and Classic Plus passengers to keep their boarding passes handy (but once again, there was no indication of the fares you paid on the stub of the boarding passes, but all three operates differently. On one flight, the flight attendant basically casually looked at my boarding pass. On one flight, the flight attendants just refer to the master list, and on one flight, I have to produce my itinerary, which I happened to have a copy. I honestly think Frontier needs to come up with a solution quickly, such as making sure that the small stub of the boarding passes also indicates your Classic or Classic Plus status, or issue those eligible passengers an extra coupon to hand out to the passengers, like what the European LLCs do.
Looking at the magazine pocket – there was only this safety card!
Frontier always has as inflight catering and entertainment guide explaining the paid service offered on board. On this critical date, Frontier has failed to print them on time. Only safety card and vomit bag! I usually don’t care much about it but this guide is important today because you are basically changing everything that you have been doing regarding in-flight beverage and snack service. I will quote one of the F/As, “I am just as confused as you regarding this new buy on board service!” I have a feeling that the amount of free beverages I received will simply subject to the interpretation of your cabin crews on your flight. I don’t mind buy on board, but mind that there are no guides telling people about the new service concepts, but many rules are not clearly defined.
Diet Pepsi in Fly Frontier Cup but on a US Airways napkin – that is strange!
US Airways napkin?
I also bought a bag of Rocky Mountain’s Gourmet Popcorn to support the Red Cross. Plus the popcorns are really good!
On the return flights from Wilmington New Castle Airport to Los Angeles International via Denver International, I discover that Frontier has quietly dropped all the “fresh food” being sold on board, which I definitely did not appreciate. Especially there are limited food options at Wilmington; I look forward to buying a sandwich or a hot burrito. If you recall, there is no more catering guide in each seat, so I only find out this elimination when I ask the F/A. They encourage to write Frontier Airlines, which I will do so. Anyway, I have specifically enquired that if I can have one premium drink and one regular drink, and I basically got a can of soda and a can of the Izze’s Sparkling Clementine soda on both flights. Both F/As were okay with this request. There were passengers ordering coffee on all three flights and the F/As made at least a second coffee run on these flights. I also ordered chip and salsa on the return flight from Wilmington to Denver.
Premium and regular beverages
Chip and Salsa
Finally… Frontier’s napkin
and movies were shown, and they cost $5.99 on this short flight to Wilmington, and cost $7.99 on the flight from ILG to Denver. Classic Plus passengers no longer get them free, and only Ascent and Summit member got TV
free by swiping their elite cards. Direct TV
had a more limited lineup than JetBlue. However with these charges, I feel that Frontier needs to enhance its lineup, since most passengers, regardless of fares purchased, have to pay for the Direct TV
service now. There are also three movies playing in cycles – not on demand.
The captain try to catch up some times on the flight to Chicago Midway, but the weather requires a number to turns along the route. However we managed to arrive at gate only 16 minutes late. Descent began at 11:54am EST, and the weather was not too good – light rain.
Here are some pictures of our descent:
We landed on R/W19 at 12:31pm and we parked at the only gate five minutes later.
There was a water canon salute, and the irony that no one told us about it. I only spotted it when I saw it out the window. Come on, the cockpit crews should have said something. It really took all the fun out of it. Anyway, it is raining, and I can barely take this picture.
But we at least got a water canon welcome.
As mentioned earlier, Wilmington Airport has a different boarding and deplaning procedure, as both the front and aft doors were used. However the aft stairs were not used on our arrival – maybe the weather, but for the onward flight to Houston, I overhead that both front and aft stairs were set up. Here are some pictures of N203FR on my arrival at Wilmington New Castle airport!
Here is the baggage shack – view from the plane – just a basic white building with an entry way for arrival passengers.
Baggage Claim here at Wilmington New Castle Airport
For the Denver flight, descent began at 2:22pm Mountain Standard time, and we landed on R/W7 at 2:45pm. We parked at gate A42 five minutes later – thirty minutes ahead of schedule.
N203FR here at Denver
In conclusion, this inaugural flight is really non-existent and I can just claim that I flew the first commercially operated flight to Wilmington New Castle Airport, and the first flight from Wilmington to Denver. Frontier has done its PR
the previous week by flying a Frontier A320 to Wilmington and to show it off to the press. My only explanation is that the limited TSA
capability, there is no way the press can be accommodated at the small gate area. However as an aviation enthusiast, I am hesitate to book another Frontier’s inaugural especially to these second or third-tier regional cities in the future.
However, my trip report ends up documenting a major step of Frontier Airlines’ transition from a low cost airline to an ultra low cost airline. The elimination of complimentary nonalcoholic beverages is just the first step along with increased baggage fees. However, Frontier also cuts back on its buy on board menu, especially the elimination of hot snacks and sandwiches, which I find it quite a dramatic change. I don’t mind Frontier changes its fresh food buy on board programs to a pre-ordering program, but since Frontier flies to these regional cities, it should really expand its buy on board service rather than cutting back. Anyway, I think Cranky does its best to explain Frontier’s transformation.
It is definitely not the Frontier Airlines that I have remembered, and if Cranky is right, Denver is no longer going to operate like a hub today connecting major cities in the West Coast and East Coast. To me, it is a downward spiral but then if Frontier has to survive, it has to further transit to an ultra lower cost model. Nonetheless, it is sad to see Frontier’s “demise.”
About Wilmington New Castle Airport, all the flights this week are very full and the loading is extremely good given that it has just stated a limited operation. My Denver flight was almost 100% full, which was very good given it was the inaugural flight. Okay this week is July 4th so the load factor should be high. But from what I heard, the loading was good. I have a feeling that Wilmington may work out fine for Frontier.
Thanks for reading and no major trip reports for a while!
Safe travels in the summer!