The itinerary which was the least expensive for me for a trip to Montego Bay in Jamaica a few months ago in order to take advantage of a lodging deal was to fly as a passenger aboard an airplane which was operated by Delta Air Lines for the outbound flight from Atlanta — but the return flight would be with a low-cost carrier known as Frontier Airlines. I had never used Frontier Airlines before; so I was not sure as to what to expect.
My First Time As a Passenger With Frontier Airlines — and The Verdict Is…
As important as the flight experience itself is the process of booking a ticket with Frontier Airlines — and the process starts easily enough, with a scrollable airfare bar which allows you to choose the lowest airfare. More information will be imparted on that actual flight in a moment.
First, let me demonstrate the process of booking a ticket with Frontier Airlines with a phantom flight: because I randomly chose Wednesday, June 22, 2022 for my outbound flight — I was going through the process for this article and not actually booking a flight — the least expensive airfare round trip was $512.00; so I chose to depart on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 instead, as the least expensive airfare was only $317.00 and saving myself almost $200.00…
…but the lowest airfares are only for passengers who are members of the Discount Den lowest fare club; so I was forced to choose the $342.00 airfare for the lowest price.
Once the airfare for the outbound flight was selected, the airfare for the return flight needed to be selected. In this case, I chose the $342.00 again — although if I selected to return on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 instead of Thursday, June 23, 2022, I could have secured a lower airfare.
Once all flight segments have been selected, you have the option to pay the airfare over 12 monthly payments — but you will be paying for this service; and the fee is not disclosed upfront. Suffice it to say, do not choose this option if you are seeking to save money on airfare.
The information about all passengers is then requested.
At this point in the booking process, the time to sell is now: first, which bundle would you like to purchase? Note the warning above the bundle in the middle which is only available at that moment. The tilted gold star accentuates the urgency to book this bundle now — otherwise, you will not have the opportunity to book it later with the savings of $548.00.
Next to sell by Frontier Airlines is the selection of a seat. For this one segment, selecting a seat can cost between $26.00 and $71.00. Know that the price of selecting a seat depends on the flight and where the seat is located aboard the airplane. You are not required to select a seat — unless you want a guarantee that you will sit next to a traveling partner or you want a specific seat. Otherwise, you can continue and skip this step.
If you click on what happens if you do not select your seat, the following screen appears:
SELECT SEATING OPTIONS
If you do not select a seat now, you will randomly be assigned a seat from the remaining selection at check-in. We’ll try to keep your party together, but the only way to ensure that you’ll sit together is to select a seat now!
Just close this tab and click the continue button to complete your booking without a seat selection.
We Recommend You Choose Your Seat at Booking
If you decide not to choose a seat assignment, another screen will appear to convince to pay to reserve your seat aboard the airplane for each flight segment of your itinerary. Note the emphasis on the large green button to entice you to choose your seat assignment — for a price.
Next comes selling you a baggage allowance. You can carry on a free personal item; but carrying a bag aboard the airplane otherwise will cost you a fee — as will checking a bag.
If you do not select a baggage allowance to carry a bag aboard the airplane, another screen appears — asking if you are sure you do not need to add a bag to carry aboard the airplane; and that now is the least expensive time to add this option. The sales pitch can be rather persistent to the point of annoying.
Next comes the last ditch effort to sell everything from insurance to rental cars to assistance from a live agent in person to other “deals” for services which are offered by the airline.
Before you finally commit to booking the ticket, Frontier Airlines does not miss one last opportunity to sell you something during the process — and in this case, it is its affiliated credit card, with which you can apply now and save money on the ticket itself in the process.
The line for the ticket counter at the international airport which serves Montego Bay was not all that long — but the aesthetics of the airport terminal were rather spartan at best.
Four overhead monitors gave updates to several flights. Once I arrived at the counter after waiting in line for several minutes, the employees were courteous and checked me in for the flight within minutes.
One thing about flying as a passenger with Frontier Airlines is that almost every possible way to upsell on something is used: during the ticket booking process, on placards, and on signage as only three of numerous conveyances to sell baggage allowances, seat assignments, food, snacks, and beverages — among other items and services.
I have to admit that once I boarded the airplane, I was pleasantly surprised at how clean the interior of the airplane was — as I believe it was a fairly new and fuel efficient Airbus A320 airplane.
Masks or cloth coverings for the nose and mouth were still required for air travel at the time of this flight, as it occurred during the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic.
The amount of pitch between rows of seats — which is the distance between the back of your seat and the back of the seat in front of you — is a minimum of 28 inches…
…and considering how thin they were, the seats were reasonably comfortable — yet they do not recline; and the head rests were neither separate nor adjustable.
The exit row seats have more leg room — but you must pay extra to sit in them.
The tray table behind the seat is so small that supporting a laptop computer of a regular size can be difficult — and keep in mind that airplanes which are operated by Frontier Airlines are not equipped with Wi-Fi, ports, or electrical outlets of any kind.
The tray table is best used for a small snack and a drink; or to work with a tablet or small laptop computer.
The leg room is not exactly ample; but it is also not restricting or confining.
Inside the seat pocket was both a safety information card for the airplane and a menu.
A variety of beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages were on sale for nine dollars; while a choice of three cocktails were on sale for ten dollars. Bundles of drinks and snacks ranged in cost from ten dollars to $26.00 each.
The price of soft drinks was $3.25 for each can of juice, Bloody Mary mix, or soda; a bottle of water; or coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. Passengers can also order snacks for $4.50 each; or a choice of a cheese tray or snack pack for $8.50. I did not purchase any snacks or drinks…
…and along with the map of destinations which Frontier Airlines serves is an advertisement for a credit card, which was also pitched by members of the flight crew live towards the conclusion of the flight.
The air flow from the unit above provided ample cool air. Also in the unit are overhead lights — a passenger must reach up to push the button to activate the light, as the button is not down by the seat — and a call button to summon a flight attendant. This unit can be potentially inconvenient to passengers who are — shall we say — challenged in terms of height.
Plenty of room was available in the overhead storage bins — especially as passengers are required to pay to carry on belongings aboard the airplane.
This flight had a very light load of passengers; so we were all instructed to take seats in the front half of the airplane. Two members of the flight crew were taking a break as they were seated towards the rear of the aircraft. I was at the rear of the airplane…
…so that I may use the lavatory, which was equipped with soap and some type of body lotion — as well as mood lighting. I did not particularly care for the knob on the faucet which was used to turn on the water and regulate its temperature.
The toilet and trash receptacle rounded out the lavatory experience.
The lavatory itself was rather cramped, in my opinion.
I am guessing that this huge handle is in the lavatory in case turbulence suddenly occurs? Perhaps it is there to assist someone in getting up from the toilet after using it?
The logotype of Frontier Airlines is visible as the reflection on the right engine of the airplane during the final descent of the flight.
The airplane landed early and safely at the airport; and the flight concluded uneventfully when the airplane pulled up to the gate — except that the members of the flight crew did not have the immigration forms to provide to passengers to complete during the flight; so the passengers aboard the airplane had to wait approximately 30 minutes before the boarding door to the airplane finally opened so that we could all exit.
Ironically, I did not have to complete a form — so 30 extra minutes of my time was wasted.
Final Boarding Call
Frontier Airlines is a viable alternative to other airlines, in my opinion — and based on this experience, I recommend Frontier Airlines as a choice of airline to consider for basic transportation with no frills. Aside from the delay to leave the airplane at the conclusion of the flight, I had nothing about which to complain and would certainly consider flying as a passenger on this airline in the future. Although the process of booking a ticket can get annoying, virtually everything pertaining to this flight went well.
In fact, my experience suggests to me that the gate agents are not all that restrictive about the baggage allowance.
The only question is what happens when things go wrong…
All photographs ©2021 by Brian Cohen