People tend to have a love-hate relationship with Ultra-Low-Cost Carriers. Either they can’t get enough of them, or they can’t stay far enough away from them. I fall somewhere in the middle.
If the price is right and the times are convenient, I will gladly get on one of their flights. This was exactly the case with our flights to Colorado. The times were right, and the price was right. The flight departed just after work on Thursday evening and came back early in the morning Monday, while the price was hovering at around one-fifth what United was charging for similar flights.
Hence, I ended up flying Frontier Airlines to and from their hub in Denver, Colorado and guess what? I actually enjoyed it, minus a few hiccups.
This article is part of Chasing Snow: Colorado 2022 Trip Report, including:
- Flight Review: Frontier Economy DCA-DEN
- How I Flew the Family to Colorado for $225 WITHOUT Points
- Epic Pass Take 2023: My Thoughts
- Booking a Vacation Rental with Points: My Thoughts
- Lounge Review: Centurion Lounge DEN
Being on the later side to pack, we did not leave too much room for time at the airport. But with no lounges and one of the quickest curb-to-gates of most airports (I have done it in under 2 minutes), we arrived around 4:45 for a 6pm departure. This meant that we had 30 minutes before boarding to check our bags and get through security.
Luckily, there was no one in line at the Frontier desk. We made our way up and handed over our two ski and boot bags. However, the agent could not figure out how to check our bags. There seemed to be a technical error.
She asked for help from a supervisor who suggested she call Frontier’s main office. Great, the company with no phone support.
Other people did not seem to have similar trouble, so I was confused as to why this was the case for us. We began to panic the moment some guy behind the counter called out “cutoff in one minute for checked luggage,” however, this happened to be the same time when our agent solved the problem.
With our luggage receipt in hand, we made our way through CLEAR and security, and we were at the gate in under 5 minutes from the desk.
We arrived at the gate when boarding . We tried to board the plane, but apparently every possible passenger had group 1 boarding, which comes with carry-on luggage. Making our way through the mob-scene, we finally got on the jet bridge and made our way onto the plane.
The flight did not start off too hot. Having to place our luggage 10 rows back meant that we were likely going to be delayed getting off the plane, and have to wait for everyone else to deplane first. After all, I had selected the front of the plane intentionally so we could get to the car, and then the condo, as quickly as possible.
To my surprise, the flight attendant was on top of it. She apologized for the inconvenience and retrieved our backpacks after takeoff before passengers were allowed to stand up (being in the first row you are not allowed to have anything by your feet for takeoff and landing).
The seats were nothing inspiring, but I was pleasantly surprised with the available legroom. I could nearly stick my legs out straight in front of me. It was very comfortable compared to my knees touching the seat in front of me, which is what would have occurred sitting in the back of the plane.
The seat was still a slimline seat with little padding and no ability to recline. Not the most comfortable, but for a sub-four-hour domestic flight, I didn’t mind. I would have been uncomfortable on any intercontinental or overnight flight.
There is no complimentary in-flight service, as everything comes at a cost. I brought some snacks on board, but they seemed to have a decent selection on the menu. I also found the prices to be very reasonable compared to what they could charge, there’s nowhere else you can go. Even airports charge more.
The flight went by quickly and was just over three hours. I made use of the tray table to do some work (the French Polynesia trip report took me some time) and then read. I mention the tray table since only the extra-legroom seats on Frontier tend to have bigger tray tables. Otherwise, you are pretty much stuck doing work on your lap and using the mini table for a drink or two.
In no time, we made it to Denver. That same flight attendant that helped us with our backpacks also held passengers from standing momentarily as I made a mad dash for our suitcases. Luckily, I was able to grab them and quickly get off the plane.
Despite being in Colorado in the middle of the winter, we still ended up at a gate without a jet bridge. It was a quick but cold walk down the ramp and into the terminal. Low cost at its finest. We walked the very long distance of the terminal, got on the tram, waited a while for our bags, and then were on our way.
I have a dedicated post regarding how we got our flights and were able to get to Colorado cheaply, which is the next article in this trip report.
Long-story short, Frontier ran a Black Friday sale in December that allowed us to book the flights for about $75 per person round trip. It was 100% off flights, which is crazy, and you only had to pay for taxes and fees.
In addition to typical TSA fees, aka the $5.60 on award tickets, Frontier tagged on a bunch of carrier surcharges. Nonetheless, I was happy to get away with a final price of $225 for the three of us.
The Last Point
Is flying Frontier a luxurious experience? No. But would I be happy to fly Frontier again? Yes, gladly.
It was a convenient flight and despite a troubling start in the airport, I actually enjoyed my experience. A good part of this is likely the extra leg room but nonetheless, it was a good flight and I’d advise anyone who instantly blocks out ULCCs (Ultra Low Cost Carriers, and Frontier’s ticker symbol) to think again.
Hmmmm, I may have to give Frontier a try and not have high expectations. It’s just very hard to try something new. Gimme Delta One at all times!
Payton Turner says
Exactly, Delta One expectations will set you back. Expect a seat and you will be happy!
Thanks for the write up! I am taking this DCA to DEN Frontier flight later this week. If I am reading the fine print correctly, a ski bag and boot bag together count as ONE checked bag. Was this your experience? I plan on getting to the airport with plenty of time for any potential hiccups to get resolved (hopefully), but not looking forward to the boarding mob you describe!
Payton Turner says
Yes. A ski bag and a boot bag only count as one checked bag. However, the combined weight maximum is still 40 lbs which is very restrictive if you are trying to bring equipment like that.