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A Weekend With Frontier - Part 1 (Long)

Sun Oct 26, 2008 6:19 pm

Hi everyone, this is my first trip report, describing a significant weekend trip with F9 and its family.

Writing is something of a hobby of mine, so this trip report is very long and detailed. If you don't like long trip reports, might as well move on to the next thread. Thanks in advance to those who decide to read this one anyway!

The background: (Some of you can skip this section if you like)

The trip was the culmination of an idea begun a couple months ago. When the doom and gloom was present and many generally felt that the sky was falling for all of the airlines, Frontier in particular, I wanted to show support for the little airline by booking tickets on them in face of travel agencies reportedly shifting customers to other carriers. With my 1 year anniversary coming up, it also seemed a fantastic opportunity to take my wife on a weekend adventure, considering that after our honeymoon, my wife had once floated the idea of taking a joyride to some destination aboard an aircraft, just for the heck of it. In 2005, Frontier had actually carried my wife from Texas to Utah prior to hurricane Rita, and her homecoming had set in motion the events that would lead to our marriage. So it all seemed very the airline, have that joyride we wanted, and tap into nostalgia about how this airline had once brought us together. All around a winning situation.

I posted a thread ( )asking for others to support Frontier which got mixed replies. Some sending their best wishes, at least one actually booking tickets on the carrier...and a lot of people saying "so what?" or decrying the thread as a ridiculous waste of time. Well, at least for some at the airline, the thread wasn't a complete waste, as the support that was sent came to the attention of a member of the airline's leadership, who contacted me shortly thereafter with an invitation to tour the airline's behind the scenes workings once my wife and I arrived. It seems that if you show an airline that you care, when they're down on their luck or supposedly so, it really can make a difference in morale.   We all saw that once before when Aloha 73G made his wonderful efforts to show appreciation to the Aloha employees in that company's final days. It was my aim to try and boost morale and show support in much that same way.

With the vultures apparently circling around the airline's name in many threads, and the speculation that Sep. 30 would be the airline's last solvent day of operation, the weekend of Sep 27-28 seemed perfectly timed for this trip. I hoped sincerely that the airline would be able to survive longer, but as this was pre-DIP days, no one knew for sure.

In order to book the tickets, I saved what little I could over the course of a couple of months from my tips at a part time pizza delivery job. In order to keep my wife in the dark about the surprise, I often smuggled fives and tens home in my socks and shoes, then carefully hid them away inside of an old CD-rom drive that was in storage. A perfect hiding spot. When I finally had the $280 or so needed to book the trip, I made one large deposit into the bank and subsequently sent the whole thing to F9. The feeling of having given F9 a little bit more money towards their survival (small though it was), was fantastic, and I began a new, and equally controversial thread on encouraging others, again, to do the same for the airline. I think that thread was the most criticism I've received in years on this board, but it was worth it for the cause. ( )

Unforunately, it was the booking of the trip itself that would set in motion events that would lead to the collapse of my marriage altogether. On the exact day of our 1 year anniversary, I presented two round trip tickets to Denver to my wife. The reaction was tepid at best, but in the coming days, would dissolve into outright rage. How dare I hide $280 from her? How dare I spend that kind of money when we had bills to pay? How could I waste my effort supporting an airline, when there were supposedly so many much better things to spend my time and money on? The list goes on. I was thoroughly condemned for the effort, which I had felt would be well received since it was my wife who floated the basic idea of a joyride trip over a year ago.

It was in the following weeks that I came to learn how my wife had actually felt about aviation in general all along. There had been much talk and even action over the year we had been married about how much she enjoyed aviation, but I got to hear every gripe and complaint she'd ever held in about my love of the industry, and how annoying such a nerdy hobby had actually been to her. I heard it all. The fights increased to a daily level until eventually, the marriage fell completely apart. It only took my wife a week to find herself a new boyfriend and move on with her life. A significant slap in the face after a 9 year friendship.

But I did not regret my purchase of tickets aboard F9. Because really this wasn't about F9, it simply exposed underlying cracks in our marriage that would have broken us apart sooner or later. Now, I would be taking the trip alone. But instead of being a trip for her, it would end up being an escape for myself, from all of this mess and drama that a marriage ending brings with it. And so the plans were kept.

During these events my friend at F9 stayed in contact, and mailed me a few F9 goodies including that shirt that I'd planned on wearing for the flight to show support. Despite my wife's absence, we still arranged our rendezvous at the airport.

Having lost my car to my wife in our breakup, my boss kindly offered to let me take the company truck to salt lake city for my flight. I currently haul cargo for a living from a distribution warehouse in Salt Lake, so the compromise was that I could save $75 by not having to purchase a bus ticket to SLC, in return for hauling my usual load of cargo back from Salt Lake the night I landed. This would mean staying awake for 24 hours and then driving for an additional three, but I agreed for the cost savings. And so the meet was on.

The Journey Begins:

With only food money to last me a couple days in Denver, I departed at 6AM on a bicycle from my home for my work, hanging on the handlebars my carryon bag with just enough to last me the trip, and Arthur Hailey's "Airport" novel resting snugly in the bottom of the bag, the entire book having nearly been finished by myself already.

Hopped in the truck and took off with job-related cargo inside for Salt Lake City. It was now exactly 12 hours before the time I would normally drive this truck to Salt Lake, and I have to admit it was a little strange driving this route in the daytime. It had been at least a year since I'd really seen the landscape of Utah, you can't see it in the dead of night very well, and I remembered why I'd fallen in love with this state when I was just a child. After the personal chaos in my life, seeing beautiful terrain unfold before me was relaxing, and prompted thoughts about where I'd go from here in my life.

Arrival in SLC 10:30am, fuel the truck, parked it at Diamond, caught the shuttle to the airport. Arrived at the terminal with 3 hours to spare before my flight.

At this point I had my white "Jack" Frontier shirt on, and approached the F9 counter. I was hoping to have a friendly conversation with the ticket agent, but the agent was visibly very busy, on the phone discussing work related matters, and hurriedly processed my boarding pass with little words. A second agent nearby stared at my shirt and smiled, but too was also occupied with other things. Oh well. At least it had brought a smile. I had been my hope that wearing the shirt would be an additional positive boost to any employees that might have seen me wearing it.

In the security line at SLC, I was approached by a passenger asking me if I was a Frontier employee. Flattered, I said no, but I'd certainly like to be, but as it was, I'm just a fan of the airline showing support. The conversation didn't go much further.

TSA check included a strip show courtesy of myself. Having forgotten that my belt had metallic parts I went through the detector several times before figuring out the problem. I joked with the TSA agent that they could at least give me some music to perform to. Fortunately these TSA agents had a sense of humor and it lightened what could have been a frustrating situation for anyone else. I redressed and headed for the concourses.

Camera Teething Problems:

Now, just a couple of weeks ago my new camera arrived. A Canon Powershot S5 IS. What with work schedules and trip planning, I hadn't had a whole lot of time to learn the new camera, though I did read the user's manual, I hadn't really put it to work in the real world yet. So I set off for the E gates, taking pictures along the way, and would work my way back to the A gates in time for my flight.

I noticed that the camera's LCD showed features being blown out and overexposed most of the time as I shot photos. As a result, I turned down the exposure and adjusted the camera settings. Now that I have the images downloaded to my computer, I can see, to my frustration, that the LCD monitor lied. All of my shots are drastically underexposed, and I should have left the setting neutral and adjusted the brightness later. A very maddening aspect considering that it's hard to compose a photo properly if you cant trust what you see on your monitor. I hope that brightening the images will help, but it's clear that most of what I shot on this trip will be bound for and not, unfortunately. This is what you get when you can only afford a $300 camera on top of a trip. Oh well. BTW, all the images in this trip report are, save for resizing, unedited. If you got any suggestions, feel free.

As I moved along the terminal I stopped at various windows and took shots. I found this camera underperforms inside as well, and has serious trouble balancing exposure in high contrast areas, even in "Indoor" scene mode. Vignetting was also a very pronounced problem. So far, no good. I missed my old camera.

Explored the other concourses which at this time of day were not very busy. The morning flights had all departed. Slowly made my way to A, and from the usual spot near the F9 gate, observed takeoffs and landings from 34R. Found an E170 in NWA markings as well there.

Decided to test out the camera's high-speed capture, telephoto zoom and other features. The results were dismal. Nothing acceptable whatsoever for upload to I wondered if I was doing something wrong, and tried various setting combinations, but nothing really brought me the results I needed. Conclusion: P&S cameras may have more features, but compared to what they offered in 2003, the quality has fallen considerably. Unless, of course, I'm doing something terribly wrong.

The Flight:

Frontier Flight 442 SLC-DEN would depart shortly. This would be on an A318, which I'd never had the chance to fly on before, and the type was actually the reason I'd booked this particular departure time for Denver: 2:12PM with an expected arrival of 3:35PM.

No one was at the F9 gate counter, and as a line began to form, an employee of the airline appeared through the jetway door and announced boarding would begin shortly, then attended to the line. Preboard and then my section followed, and again no reaction to the shirt from the F9 employee, who I'd failed to truly approach considering she was busy. Seat 18A would be my seat for this flight. Aboard the aircraft, a flight attendant took notice of the shirt and smiled. I asked her how they were doing. she said "About the same as everyone else". I said "well, I'm here to support you guys, there's a lot of people pulling for you and I'm one of them."

She seemed really surprised to hear that just by the expression on her face, and said "well, thank you" as I passed by her for my seat. Today we were flying on "Mo & Jo", the fox cubs, and I got a few shots of the winglet as we waited for departure. Probably one of the cutest F9 tails.

As we waited, a family with three children (with one of the quietest babies I've ever seen) occupied the rest of the row. Mother and father sat separately across the aisle from each other. The seat next to me, which would have been my wife's, was vacant. I offered her seat to the family, so that they could sit beside each other for the flight. I figured I could take my somewhat lonely situation and make it a good situation for them. They graciously accepted my offer and sat next to each other for the whole flight.

The row in front of me was occupied by two more children still, with their mother with them, staring out the window and giggling about the cute little "puppies" outside. Surrounded by five children, I wondered if this flight was going to be a particularly noisy one or not. I'd come to be pleasantly surprised and even warmed a little by these curious kids, but more on that later. Got a few photos of the AA MD-80 next to us as well.

Taxied out to 34R for takeoff. Decided to test out the camera's video feature with stereo sound. Listening to the video, it's clear that the mic volume was turned up too high as the sound is utterly distorted. I had planned on uploading the video of the takeoff to FL350, but I doubt I will now. I'm not sure if it can be saved. Anyway, the video quality of the takeoff was otherwise great. It's just a shame that in the video you can't hear the cute exchange between the mother and her kids in the row in front. As we took off and the aircraft leveled a bit, the mother turned to her kids and said "see, you don't need to go to disneyland, this is fun all by itself!" and the kids were like "yeah!"

We climbed out with a turn to the east over the rockies. A few sharp banks both right and left over the mountains revealed the beautiful rugged landscape below. Above us, thick puffy clouds grew closer. The two young girls in the row ahead of me stared out the window in awe. "Look! It's the clouds! We're going to go through the clouds! Woowwww!!! Awesome!!!"

I grinned from ear to ear, and turned to the family seated next to me saying "Looks like we might have a couple of future pilots up there." To which the husband nodded a smiling agreement. These two little girls were a real treat to listen to, their awe of the process of flight reminded me of the fascination I felt at their age with flying, and it was the reason I still love the industry today. It's just so...well..."cool!"

Over the rocky mountains we flew, the sky a deepening blue, the clouds growing taller, thicker, meaner. Building storms surrounded us, but we experienced only a few bumps, the skilled hands of the Frontier pilots kept it smooth sailing the whole way for the most part. Once again on my camera LCD, it appeared that the clouds were horribly blown-out, and so I adjusted the exposure accordingly. As it stands, none of my in-flight photos are currently suitable for upload. It will take post-processing to correct them and even then, they're staple once again.

Beverage service came shortly after TOD, leaving just enough time to drink up before the fasten seatbelt sign came on. I drank my cran-apple juice so fast I forgot to take my medication. I asked a nearby FA for a second drink, and was surprised to see her grimace at the request. I explained I needed to take some pills, though, and a few seconds later I had a cup of water in hand. More building storms lay ahead, and we descended through them as we neared Denver.

We landed in Denver almost exactly on time, despite one passenger in flight complaining heatedly that it was already 4:40 pm and we were an hour late. I'm guessing he forgot to reset his watch from wherever it was he had come from. I recorded video of the landing and of course, again, the sound was horribly distorted, rendering the video unsuitable for upload.

My first impression of DEN was "massive". Huge. As we taxied to the terminal, I wondered what kind of a walk I was bargaining for, considering I planned to walk all three concourses and explore every bit of the airport that I could. I saw at least 5 miles of walking in my immediate future.

As the plane emptied, I approached a flight attendant and asked if I could get a photo of the cabin. She was happy to oblige. The photo didn't turn out. I also explained that I collect airline stuff and asked for a fresh safety card. She handed me one from the rearmost seatback pocket, along with a sheet which as I recall was for emergency deboarding procedures. Realizing this wasn't something I was supposed to have, I gave it back to her, good thing too as she realized her mistake! but we chatted for a while and she really made the flight. A very pleasant discussion about the industry and the morale at the airline, which is actually quite good all things considered.


Deplaned the aircraft and found my friend from F9 waiting for me at the gate. Instantly recognizing me (I assume because of the shirt), he took me down the concourse explaining to me about how the gate and ticketing agents conduct themselves in order to really appeal to people. While other airlines keep their heads down, Frontier strives to keep their heads up as they face the customers and wait for passengers. He shared with me the F9 mission statement, which is simply to be the best loved airline.

We arrived at his office, where I stored my carry-on and met other frontier supervisors before we headed on our way.

We explored the central atrium of the A concourse, with me getting a bit of a history lesson about the vacant offices there, which had been intended for CO's operation before it was scaled back to what it is today. Frontier now occupies some of the space, but most of it is vacant. I took photos of these. They didn't turn out.

Thereafter, I was taken behind the scenes to the F9 operations tower. I felt it inappropriate to take photos from inside of here, so I have none. But I do have photos taken from outside the tower on what I'll call the "observation area". In the distance, Lufthansa's A340-600 landed and taxied to it's A gate, while far below a sea of animal tails surrounded us. It was quite the site and I was touched really to be given the opportunity to see all of this. It was while were in the observation tower that we got wind of a bomb scare for a northwest flight over on the C gates, I don't know if you guys heard about it? Anyway, I was given some fascinating history of the airline here, and also got a picture of the distant CO hangar which is used mainly by F9 these days.

Afterwards, I was taken back downstairs, and over to the Lynx operation where I met a pilot, and among the three of us we chatted about, about photo acceptance, the forums, and of course, the bomb scare on C. Mechanics worked on a Q400 parked next to us as we talked.

After that we made our way to a ticket counter and talked about the requirements of the job for Frontier's agents, and dealt with a couple of passengers needing help finding a gate. Meanwhile my friend talked to me about how Frontier DOES read trip reports that mention them here, and that it's important to the airline to know what's being said about their business. No doubt this trip report will reach the eyes of Frontier employees as well.

We then walked to a gate near the Luifthansa plane, and walked through a jetway and onto "Stan", got a photo of the entry for that aircraft. Walked down the stairs from the jetway to the tarmac, and underneath aircraft that were waiting for pax at the gate. It was truly amazing for me. I'd never walked below an airliner before, just smaller aircraft at the FBO i once interned at. I tried to get pictures where i could, considering I had to stay VERY close to my friend while on the ramp. Sadly, the pictures didnt really turn out as well as I'd hoped. Got a few cabin shots while exploring the aircraft as well. Next to us, the Lufthansa A340 loomed large, too large to get a decent wide angle photo from here, but I attempted anyway.

After that, my friend invited me to go explore the other concourses for a while and meet back up before 8pm for a tour of the ramp. I was feeling hungry by this time, so stopped at the Panda Express for lunch and ate a dish that I knew I'd regret eating, but tasted fantastic just the same. The Lufthansa A340 waited for passengers just outside.

Afterward, made my way to the C concourse via the train. Memories of Atlanta. I loved the underground trains! But denver's was interesting, it looks like there's little pinwheels stuck to the walls of the train tunnel, and as you go by them, they spin. Entertaining on some level!

Got to the C concourse and stepped out of the train to find that the area was nearly indistinguishable architecturally from the A concourse where I had been, save for the Learjet hanging directly overhead, which I had been eager to see since viewing some "airport overview" photos on some months ago, and having been reminded by my friend to go check it out. Took a few photos of the interior and went on my way down the concourse, beginning with American's gates and wrapping around the concourse taking photos out the windows, with curious eyes from both the TSA and passengers watching me the whole time. I wondered how long it would be before a TSA agent approached me with some questions. Surprisingly, it didn't happen here.

Ruffled feathers:

Arriving at the Southwest gates, I began taking pictures of two of their Canyon Blue birds waiting at the gate. More eyes were fixed on me as I went about my usual nerdy routine of composing the shot. A voice from behind me asked " there something I can help you with?"

I turned around to see a Southwest Airlines gate agent in a white T-shirt looking curiously, if not suspiciously, at myself. I told her "nah, I'm just taking photos of these airplanes"

She said "Why are you taking photos of an aircraft?"

I said "Well, I'm an aviation enthusiast, I love planes, so I take photos of them for a hobby. It's what I do."

She said "Are you traveling today, sir?"

"Yeah, I just flew in on Frontier a couple hours ago, I've got my ticket stub here somewhere.."

I searched my find that I'd left my stub in my carryon bag which was left in F9's management office. Crap. Now I did look suspicious.

"Well I had it a moment ago it must be in my other bag."

She said "Um, if you're with Frontier, why are you taking pictures of Southwest planes, and why are you in the Southwest boarding area?"

I said "Oh, my friend gave me this shirt. In fact I have his number, you can call him you like just so you know that I'm legit. But like I said, I'm an aviation enthusiast, I take pictures of planes."

She peered down her nose at me. "I think you ought to be moving on now.."

And so I did. Without another word I walked to the Delta gates and resumed my photo shooting, though more nervously now. I had, in the excitement of spotting, forgotten that my Frontier Airlines T-shirt might actually be an unwelcome sight in the competition's territory. I can imagine the southwest folks wondered if perhaps it was meant as a slap in the face or a protest...or perhaps if I might have been an F9 employee creating drama. At any rate, I'd hoped I'd explained myself well enough that I wouldnt find myself being questioned further, and wondered if I ought to head back to the A gates and grab my spare shirt, so prevent offending anyone else. I decided not to, as I was on limited time, and probably wouldnt get to explore the rest of the airport if I took that detour.

I thought to myself...what if that agent knew that I was and am still a loyal Southwest frequent flier? Southwest has been my airline of choice since 2003...and it wasnt until this year that I came to really know, grow fond of, and support wholeheartedly Frontier airlines. But considering how many times WN saved my skin...often finding and recovering lost items for me (I can be absent-minded), I wondered if I was going to allow this single incident to taint my opinion of the airline.

I decided not to let it. I could easily see why my shirt might've ruffled some feathers over there. But I was disappointed to say the least, and the agent could have attempted to question me nicely rather than as a suspected trouble maker. I'm not used to that kind of treatment by the normally good-natured airline. The closest I've come is a few indifferent and clearly bemused gate agents at LAS. WN's people at LAS don't seem to smile all that often when I've flown through. I'm not entirely sure why, but who knows. Elsewhere, WN has been great to me. Continued shooting for a while before leaving the concourse.

I then got back on the train and headed for Concourse B. The hour was getting later and I correctly figure that I'd probably only be able to see one side of the concourse. I decided to check out the side with the commuter terminal, as recommended by my friend earlier.

Still aware that my Frontier logo was brilliantly displayed on my front and back, I felt just a tad bit nervous that I'd offend someone in this concourse as well. The UA people were suprisingly indifferent towards my presence, however, barely taking notice of me at all. Or not caring. Much to my relief. The concourse was positively abuzz with activity, the number of UA employees almost seeming to number the passengers themselves. TSA agents patrolled in droves. TSA, more than anyone, kept their eye on me as I moved from window to window taking shots of each aircraft I saw.

This would last for a little while until getting nearer the commuter terminal area, where a gate agent definitely did notice my shirt and gave a very pronounced scowl in my direction. I noticed this and said "don't mind my shirt, I just love airplanes".

The scowl eased and the woman said "oh, okay, have fun then". And walked behind her desk.

Now at the commuter area, I watched a few aircraft land in the distance, and overheard a lively conversation between two female workers...I assume for United but they might have been airport employees, discussing all sorts of unrepeatable but humorous antics that apparently took place the night before. With a slight smirk I walked down the glass-walled hallway and descended the escalator, passing a small shop on the way which I assume was a coffee shop.

the commuter terminal was dead. Two starbucks employees (I think) sat in passenger chair conversing. There was no one else except for me. Took a few photos of aircraft taxiing by outside, and left the commuter terminal. On the way, I passed a large-ish window which looked out onto the ramp between Concourses B and A. The sun was getting low and the sky beginning to turn orange. I stopped here and took several sunset photos. All of which looked great on the LCD, but the result at home is somewhat more disappointing. More exposure issues.

On the way back to the central atrium of the B concourse, I spotted a battleship 777 and got a few photos of that. A TSA agent which had been watching me intently earlier noticed me again, and got up from her hair and began walking behind me as I made my various stops at the windows. She stopped when I stopped so it was clear to me that I was being tailed...or at least I believed so. She didn't question me, however, just followed me back to the central atrium escalator, where we parted ways as I headed to the train back to the A Concourse.

The Ground Operation:

It was now around 7:30pm and getting dark. I needed to meet back up with my friend for more airport exploration. I relayed to him the events of the last few hours, and the ruffled feathers I'd unfortunately caused for the other airlines at DEN, namely Southwest.

He honestly thought it was kind of funny but shrugged it off. We exited the terminal again as we'd done earlier, and I took a photo of the Elk plane from below.

We then drove around the tarmac, snapping photos of F9 jets at the gates, waiting our turn for planes to cross our path, got a few photos of British Airways' 777 at the gate too. It was a very memorable experience, the likes of which I never thought I'd have the chance to enjoy. So drove by the Raccoon F9 jet and got a photo of his tail, and that of the Jeppesen Terminal roof at night.

He then drove me from the airport to the local walmart, to get a colorado souvenir and a snack. I learned there about Walmart's progressive energy-efficient store, complete with wind turbine and solar panels on the roof. I, what a progressive state, Colorado is certainly more forward thinking than my home state of Idaho!

After Walmart, i was driven by the F9 corporate headquarters and took a picture of the sign. It's amazing to me how an entire airline could be housed in such a small building. Truly a tight knit company. I respect that. I like that. My friend and I arranged to meet again the next day, and if there was time, perhaps do more exploring.

So with that, I got dropped off at my hotel (which was only one block away from the F9 headquarters) and checked in. Asked for advice for good restaurants in the area and was recommended DiCiccios Italian Restaurant, about 3 blocks away. Left my stuff in my room and headed out for dinner.

The night:

At the restaurant, I was seated on the balcony, overlooking a floor-to-ceiling big screen featuring the Bee Gees' "One Night Only" concert. It was here, as I searched through the menu, that I realized that I was really alone now. My wife, having left me, back in Idaho, couldnt care less about me anymore. And here I was seated at a table, in a romantic restaurant, dining alone. It truly began to hit me, the feelings I'd suppressed for so long, since it all fell apart I'd tried to stay strong. Now I found myself in a moment of weakness as my mind drifted back in time.

I was somewhat startled, then, when the waitress came by and asked for my order. I hadnt even really looked at the menu. But i started off with ordering pineapple juice and water, which was promptly brought to me. She came back a few times before I settled on a dish, but as I mulled over the menu, I noticed a quizzical expression on her face. I finally settled on Ravioli Chicken Marsala, which was delicious btw...

Over the course of the evening i was checked on as I slowly worked on my dish. I didnt have much of an appetite, I realized. But I tried to eat anyway. She came by again, and asked me...if everything was alright. It was then that I'd learned that earlier, as I ordered, my voice had kept trailing off into space, and she'd had a hard time knowing what i was ordering. So I explained to her in brief what I'd been through lately, about my wife leaving me, and me not knowing exactly where my life was headed now. I could move to Denver, and hope for a job at Frontier....or i could move to Salt Lake, and work as a ramper....or i could stay where i was and remain a trucker, a job that at least I knew would be stable for me. And then there was Hawaii...would I EVER make it to Hawaii?

She listened to me and wrote down her number, suggesting that if I ever wanted to move to denver, give her a call, and her husband, a real estate man, could help me find a decent apartment. This, coming from a total stranger, surprised me, and i was grateful for the compassion that I needed at the time more than i realized.

As she left me, I stared at my still unfinished dinner, and put my head in my hands, and just thought, for a long time, about life. About love. About how it'd all gone wrong. And wondered at that moment who I was.

I realized that this was the first time in the entire trip Id truly felt any emotion. It was unusual, as much as I love to fly, and do it as often as I can, the collapse of my marriage had put such a damper on the trip that i was virtually numb throughout, even as I experienced amazing things, my highs and lows on the trip barely registered. I felt flat, throughout it all, with a storm of ignored emotion raging inside of me, that i didnt want to, or couldnt, attempt to deal with at the time.

I left my food unfinished, tipped her greater than 20% and left the restaurant. Upon reaching the hotel room, i felt exhausted....after a day of walking so much, plus the emotional toll of the week, I was done for. I slept well that night.

I'll post Part 2 in a few days. If you made it this far, congrats. Dont say I didnt warn you about the length!

[Edited 2008-10-26 11:25:37]
Posts: 3132
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2005 2:33 pm

RE: A Weekend With Frontier - Part 1 (Long)

Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:44 pm

Wow.  Sad

I'm not really sure what to say. I mean this is one of the best trip reports I've ever read, partly because of the amazing experiences you got to have, and partly because of the underlying emotion that you convey so amazingly well. I'm so terribly sorry for your loss, and your attitude such a short time after is simply amazing, and incredibly admirable. I'm also really jealous of the time you got to have, with your behind the scenes tour. I got to have a tour of the AUS control tower and TRACON back in the day, so I know what it's like. It's really cool! I also think your support of F9 is awesome, I always wear my AA shirt when I fly them, and I nearly always get treated very well. Of course, F9 is worse off than AA at this point, but nobody's actually doing well.

Keep your head up, and I'm eagerly awaiting Part 2!

Posts: 2184
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 5:49 pm

RE: A Weekend With Frontier - Part 1 (Long)

Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:29 pm

This is definitely one of the best trip reports out there!
Don't know what else to say but to wish you the best of luck in life and continuing to pursue this wonderful hobby of plane-spotting!

Look forward to Part II !

Posts: 1826
Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2004 10:56 am

RE: A Weekend With Frontier - Part 1 (Long)

Sun Oct 26, 2008 10:34 pm

Hey Buddy,
I much enjoyed this trip and while I'm not the type to fly Frontier much (I'm American Platinum and United Premier Executive), I have taken them once this year and rather enjoyed my flight. I certainly hope they continue to exist. As for your wife, I'm sure you've heard all the usual phrases and I won't say anymore, just know that in my mind, being able to travel by yourself and enjoy it is a far bigger accomplishment then traveling with a woman. Great Report.
"Traveling light is the only way to fly" - Eric Clapton
Posts: 1114
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:09 pm

RE: A Weekend With Frontier - Part 1 (Long)

Sun Oct 26, 2008 11:07 pm

Cool TR! Great read.

Quoting Aloha717200 (Thread starter):
She peered down her nose at me. "I think you ought to be moving on now.."

And I thought SWA was friendly  Sad

Quoting Aloha717200 (Thread starter):
i was driven by the F9 corporate headquarters and took a picture of the sign. It's amazing to me how an entire airline could be housed in such a small building. Truly a tight knit company

I've been to US and FL's HQ buildings. FL's is smaller than F9's. Really cool place though.
Roar, lion, roar
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RE: A Weekend With Frontier - Part 1 (Long)

Mon Oct 27, 2008 2:44 am

Absolutly the best Trip Report I have ever read! Amazing!

The emotion that you displayed in the report was just stunning! I'm so sorry for your loss. Hang in there...

You reminded me that flying is an emotion; a true affective aspect of consciousness. Welcome to my Respected Members list.

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RE: A Weekend With Frontier - Part 1 (Long)

Mon Oct 27, 2008 5:19 am

I'm so sorry about what happened to you, but the good news is that this was the best T/R ever!

I'm sorry times are tough, I hope it gets better.
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RE: A Weekend With Frontier - Part 1 (Long)

Mon Oct 27, 2008 6:41 am


An excellent report. You conveyed great emotion and you had me reading along for everything. Pictures were excellent. I am sorry you had to venture out alone after what happened with you and your wife at the time. Keep a chin up, hope things will get better and move on in time!  Smile

Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!
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RE: A Weekend With Frontier - Part 1 (Long)

Mon Oct 27, 2008 7:26 am

A well written report! Probably one of the best reports I've read here on Great pictures as well. Frontier is lucky to have a friend like you! Many happy travels to you! (And I hope many more awesome trip reports of this quality!) I look forward to reading part 2 and hopefully seeing more pics!
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RE: A Weekend With Frontier - Part 1 (Long)

Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:53 pm

Wow! I really enjoyed reading your TR. I loved the pic's and am jealous of your behind the scenes tour! I also admire you for taking the initiative to save up and support Frontier like you did. I'm sorry to hear about the circumstances surrounding the trip, and I wish you all the best for the future. I think you've earned my resp. members list as well.

Looking forward to part 2.
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RE: A Weekend With Frontier - Part 1 (Long)

Wed Oct 29, 2008 8:12 am

Good stuff. Sucks that you got AIDS without even working the industry, though. Just one bit of advice though... If you ever do land a job at an airline and want to meet and keep another woman... DON'T BE A MECHANIC! Our schedules are suspiciously similar to those kept by vampires. Our social lives are unfortunately similar as well, lol. But on the plus side,
I can't remember the last time a work day didn't involve detailed involvement with a large passenger aircraft.

All told, great report. I too am a huge fan of Frontier, and also believe that anyone who says they won't make it must have an axe to grind with everything good in life. I like them enough that though I can fly my employer for free, at will, I still travel Frontier at least two or three times a year. Great airline, great bunch of folks working there too. If I were you, I'd send them a resume as soon as they get to hiring again. I'm sure it wont be much into 2009 before they're really back on their feet again. Good luck, & Great report!
Base not your happiness on the deeds of others, for what is given can be taken away. No Hope = No Fear
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RE: A Weekend With Frontier - Part 1 (Long)

Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:26 am

P.S., since I can't seem to find the edit button...

I think some of these are at Denver, but I'll bet you'd have a good chance of getting some of these gigs. . .
Base not your happiness on the deeds of others, for what is given can be taken away. No Hope = No Fear
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RE: A Weekend With Frontier - Part 1 (Long)

Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:57 am

Awesome trip report!! I look forward to Part II.

Seems like you had more fun at DIA than I did that day, I even haven't made it up to the Ops Tower!

My apologies I wasn't able to show you the cockpit of the Q, maybe next time!

Its not the best time to join the industry, but Lynx might be hiring as well:

(the system might be down intermittently for MX in the next few days, so try again in a few hours if it doesn't work the first time)

"A pilot's plane she is. She will love you if you deserve it, and try to kill you if you don't...She is the Mighty Q400"
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RE: A Weekend With Frontier - Part 1 (Long)

Fri Oct 31, 2008 7:48 pm

Thanks everyone for the wonderful links, and kind words. I really appreciate it. I hope to have Part II online by tomorrow night.

In the meantime, I went ahead and uploaded the videos mentioned in this trip report to Youtube. You can find them here:

Takeoff from SLC:

Landing at Denver:

Make sure you lower the volume when you play them.... Smile

Again thanks for the responses!
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RE: A Weekend With Frontier - Part 1 (Long)

Sat Nov 01, 2008 6:27 am

I'm glad you enjoyed denver , great TR.
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RE: A Weekend With Frontier - Part 1 (Long)

Sat Nov 01, 2008 7:09 am

Good God, man. That was really moving. I have always found aviation to be tied with my emotions for as long as I can remember.. So, I can relate... I do really hope things go better for you and find someone to help brighten your spirits.

Quoting StarAlliance38 (Reply 4):
And I thought SWA was friendly

Oh no, they are. She was just a b****...
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RE: A Weekend With Frontier - Part 1 (Long)

Sat Nov 01, 2008 9:58 pm

Hi mate, nice report! Glad you liked denver too!

Also, funny thing I noticed, I took this pic in Denver last summer, it might look familliar!
Always comparing your flown types list with mine
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RE: A Weekend With Frontier - Part 1 (Long)

Sun Nov 02, 2008 3:37 am

Quoting CrimsonNL (Reply 16):
Hi mate, nice report! Glad you liked denver too!

Also, funny thing I noticed, I took this pic in Denver last summer, it might look familliar!

Indeed! Gotta love those mad dogs, good from any angle. Nice to see another MD fan wanted the same kinda photo.  Smile

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