I flew Frontier for the first time last week on a trip with my family from San Francisco to Chicago and since it is one of those “discount” airlines that can sometimes be the “unknown,” I figured I’d share some of my takeaways from the round trip experience.
The two biggest factors that influenced why we chose to fly Frontier even though I am a proud miles collecting member on a handful of other airlines.
Pricing – The cost for my family of four to make the round trip cost us less than $1,000
Flight schedule – Even though we live much closer to Oakland, the times available for the nonstop flights worked well for us to leave out of San Francisco and land at O’Hare – even though we’d prefer Midway, and made the most sense.
Okay, so I booked our fares online and elected to forego selecting seats or paying for baggage when I initially booked the trip. Yes, this is an airline which only allows a “personal item” with you in the cabin of the plane and any carry-on bags that you’d put int he overhead bin will incur an additional cost. And, as I also alluded to in my previous statement, I didn’t pick (i.e. pay) to choose our seats. I felt a slight risk here of being separated from my family, but wasn’t too concerned…and it did work out in the end.
A couple nights before out departure date I decided to call in and ask about the random seating, since I didn’t pay “extra” to pick seats, yet with 2 and 3 year old tots in tow, it was pretty critical that a parent was seated next to each one. The four of us didn’t need to be all together, but 2 and 2 would be ideal. I mean can you image a toddler being forced to sit unattended!?!? At any rate, I was advised that since we were traveling with young children, it would be taken into consideration and I should inquire at the airport if the random seating didn’t already put us in an agreeable seating arrangement, and she noted my reservation. The other helpful tid bit she informed me of was that I would save money by selecting and paying for my baggage options online.
So anyway, when I checked in..all was GOOD! We are all put in the same row 2 and 2 with the aisle between us and I paid for our 2 check-in bags online, saving $10, since it would have been $10 more if I waited to do that at the airport. I didn’t pay for any carry on bags, we each had a personal item…and the rule of thumb for your personal item is can it fit under the seat in front of you!?!?
Dropping off our bags at the airport was fine and their customer service was nice and friendly. I liked that they allowed us to pre-board since we have small kids. Every airline is different these days and many do not include people with small children in the “pre-board” category. The plane was clean and leg room was pretty good. The seats are comfy enough, but unless I just couldn’t find the button, they didn’t recline. They are also very slim seats, compared to the width of seats I’ve sat in on other planes, but it didn’t make a major difference. The tray table was also much smaller, a little silver tray that dropped down. I think water was complimentary, but anything else had a fee. By the way, I think if you are seated in the first few rows you are some kind of “VIP, special” …but I didn’t do all that!
In hindsight, it was a very good experience. We had a non stop flight that was on time or early each way, we had great seat assignments (that we didn’t pay extra for), our bags made it to our destinations and it was minimal charges for our checked baggage…and let’s be honest, everyone charges for bags these days except Southwest. I can’t say I will always be flying Frontier, but if it makes sense for my future travel plans, I certainly won’t hesitate!
Photos courtesy: Frontier Airlines