This report here is a continuation of Part 1. Check out part 1 here! (I haven’t flown in 1,004 days: Finally flying after nearly 3 years! (Southwest Segment))
@CPT_Colorado here’s your tag since I know you’ll like this!
After arriving in Fresno behind schedule with Southwest, it limited my time I could have in Fresno. I walked around the terminal building, which was very full since there was people for my flight to Fresno leaving, a couple of United flights headed to Denver (a CRJ and a A319), my Southwest one returning to Denver, and a Delta Connection one to Salt Lake City. During the time those flights boarded, I sat down, looking outside, and ate yogurt pretzels for my lunch that I brought from home. Since at the time I knew that Frontier charged for a service, I decided to get some snacks for the flight back. I stopped at the Hudson in the terminal, and bought overpriced beef jerky and normal-priced skittles and a sprite. I then returned to the windows, where another friendly Southwest gate agent noticed me with my camera and told me there was a nice spotting area over by Gate 16 that provided a great look over the runways and main taxiway. I saw my Southwest plane leave back for Denver, also on a delay, then awaited my Frontier plane’s arrival. It arrived around 15 minutes early, and I noticed it taxi to Gate 15, which was used by both United and Frontier that day, as they just moved the indicators from Gate 16 to Gate 15.
N949FR, a 14.9 year-old Airbus A319, with it being Frontier’s last one (as N941FR and N943FR were withdrawn from use last month), was today’s ride over to Denver. I hadn’t flown Frontier since 2015, (over double the amount of days since I last flew overall), and didn’t know quite what to expect. The last time I flew them, they had comfortable seats and IFE. During the boarding process, I noticed that Fresno lacked a proper PA system, and announcements about boarding were done with a microphone and speaker. Since ours was having a slight technical issue at the start of boarding, one of the gate agents had to yell out that pre-boarding had started. They later got it to work, and when they called Zone One (paid carry-on), most of the area got in line. I thought I might have been kicked off the flight for a second since they told the plane that: “all unpaid carryons will result in you not being able to fly on this flight”, since I didn’t pay for my bag as a carry-on, but they scanned my boarding pass and let me through. I only got in around 5 steps in the jetway and had to wait for a line to trickle into the plane. I was then greeted by Erma’s poster at the doorway and made my way to seat 7A, a window on the left side of the aircraft. (@DeerCrusher look, that Skywest E175)
I then noticed the age of the safety card. It featured Trixie the Red Fox Pup (retired way back in January 2016), and showed the old cabin that Frontier once had. At least the inside passenger service units and the lights throughout the cabin remained the same, and gave me a lot of nostalgia for the time passed.
We then pushed back, following a delayed American 738 for Dallas (most of the flights in and out of Fresno this day when I was there were delayed in some sort of way, excluding a couple of United flights, the aforementioned Delta Connection flight, and an American Eagle flight going to Phoenix, as well as our flight). We then rocketed out of Fresno on runway 29R and made a steep bank north-eastward to get on our flight plan.
Once we reached our cruising altitude of 39,000 feet, the flight attendants announced they would not be doing a conventional service, and instead, would be selling bottles of water for 3 dollars. I realized the tray table was too small to fit all of my snacks, so I didn’t even bother opening it for when I had my beef jerky. You can even see that I even had some trouble putting on the two things I decided to put on it.
After finishing off my beef jerky and Sprite, I finished off my movie that I started earlier. When that was over, I went ahead and just listened to music and looked out the window for the duration of the flight. I noticed quite a few clouds, since it seemed to be stormy across Colorado. We then descended beneath the clouds and took in the wonderful mountainous views below. As with most arrivals into Denver, there was turbulence on our descent.
We then lined up for runway 35L at DEN, passing over some of Denver’s southern and eastern suburbs, and me noticing the faint skyline of Denver around 25 miles from where we were. We then passed one of my spotting locations at 56th avenue, then did a good landing on 35L. I appropriately listened to “We’re Finally Landing” by HOME on short final.
We then taxiied to gate A32, where the jetway decided not to cooperate and created a large downwards step between the aircraft and the surface of it. I then waved good-bye to Erma, and entered a very empty Concourse A, considering that when I was there earlier that day, it was jam-packed with people. I then took the bridge back and exited the airport.
So, how would I have rated this?
Considering that this was my first flight on Frontier since 2015, I set the bar pretty low, and surprisingly, they exceeded my expectations! I am once again going to use that 10-point scale on those same factors that I used on my Southwest review.
Departure Airport Experience: 8/10
Note: Friendly staff, mostly quiet airport, nice views, lacking some amenities, overpriced beef jerky
Note: It was nice to see my Southwest plane leave, as well as my Frontier one arrive well, as well as some other cool movements.
Note: They seemed nice and attentive, but really did nothing besides a couple of PA announcements, as well as collect some trash and promote the Frontier Mastercard. I also saw a FA wake up a guy ahead of me for no apparent reason.
Note: Frontier didn’t have a service at all (besides water), so I’m glad I bought my own food. Only reason it’s not a 10 is because I’m still mad about that beef jerky being overpriced.
Note: The padding wasn’t actually too bad, and my back didn’t hurt when I got off the plane. There was no recline function, with Frontier claiming the seats were “pre-reclined”, but I didn’t really feel a difference. The tray table is comically small and can not fit much on it. The legroom wasn’t horrible, but it was less than Southwest’s.
Note: I’m glad I brought my own IFE, as Frontier’s only IFE option is looking out of the window. My movie was good, and the views were nice once I did look out of the window.
Note: Frontier promised a temperature screening on the ground in Fresno, and I didn’t notice that there or when I was in Denver watching other Frontier flights board. Most of the surfaces were clean, except part of the tray table was pretty dirty and there was some crumbs under my seat when I got to it.
Note: Better than Southwest’s! It didn’t feel like we slammed down onto the runway.
Arrival Airport Experience: 9/10
Note: DEN is still awesome, and an empty Concourse A was appreciated. Only reason it’s not a 10 is because there was not a lot of Frontier planes parked there, meaning less spotting opportunities.
Overall, would I fly Frontier again? Yes, I would. But only if they are the sole carrier and do not compete with Southwest/Delta on the same route. I would also not take them on a flight longer than a couple of hours. I’d also probably choose to fly on their older A320s as well, since they have the same seats as the A319. Frontier did give me an on-time arrival as well.
That’s a wrap! Now stay tuned for a review of Delta’s Comfort Plus product on their 737-900ER!