Frontier and Spirit are the only major US airlines to provide any competition to the airline oligopoly that has formed in the US between American, United, Delta, Southwest and JetBlue. What’s great for investors is bad news for consumers.
I had never found a route that I wanted to fly on Frontier before now but that finally changed this week. I was pretty happy with the one-way fare of $71 that I found between Houston and San Francisco; everyone else was at $250+ for the one-way about two weeks out.
I did not add any carry-on or checked luggage to the fare; my plan was to pack my normal travel backpack a little tighter. I wasn’t sure how much the specific baggage size would be enforced. The Frontier website’s baggage policy shows a limit that is one inch smaller than my backpack.
At Houston Airport I went to the American Express Centurion Lounge, which provided a wonderful respite from the hectic airport. There was great food and drinks for a few hours before going to the opposite side of the airport for the flight. In-between, Frontier had announced a flight delay driven by ATC restrictions in San Francisco. My home airport is now officially in the TOP most delayed airports in the US.
We ended up with a two-hour delay and the gate agents stayed friendly despite their extended shifts.
Boarding was fast and I was surprised that Frontier uses an A321 for this route; it was easily the biggest plane I have seen flying in the US in a while. It was just about filled to capacity but I did get a window seat by checking in early (at least I think that’s why). The middle seat stayed empty on this flight.
Frontier gets 41 rows into the A321, which is a lot of people. There are no fights over bin space, though; you pay so much for it that it’s better to check it or just not bring anything.
I liked the brand new leather seats but you are just looking at the seat directly in front of you. There is no IFE so no screens on this plane but really, who needs them when everyone has multiple devices nowadays anyways.
There’s no seat padding and the tables and armrests are just minimal. Whoever designed these seats really thought about how to provide a decent experience but with much less legroom.
The aircraft was in excellent shape – and no wonder as it was just a few years old (not decades old as Delta would count their fleet age). Also, the flight attendants were jolly – much ahead of their legacy airline brethren who gave up smiling a long time ago.
I really enjoyed my flight. If you can manage to travel with a small backpack then do yourself a favor and try out Frontier!
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About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]
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