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Old May 5, 12, 9:22 am   #1
 
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Introduce me to Frontier

I'm not a frequent flier, only doing 2-4 segments per year, and for the last 10 years I've flown nothing but Southwest. Yes, I know, some folks don't like Southwest, but from my home airport, BWI, they're cheapest and have the most non-stops to my typical destinations.

But when I take my vacation this year I'm going to LA, and I am seriously considering flying DCA-LAX on Frontier, to give me a layover in the middle of the flight where I can stretch my legs, use a bathroom that's actually bigger than my luggage, and have a meal.

I'd appreciate some comparisons between WN and F9.

I know that the aircraft are different; WN uses nothing but 737s, and the F9 flights I'm looking into use Airbus A320s and A319s. What major differences can I expect between those aircraft? SeatGuru shows that F9 has a tighter seat pitch but wider seats than WN. How does the overhead space and underseat space compare? Any difference in stuff like tray tables, seat recline, etc? How do the seats compare for general comfort? I'm 6'-4" tall and about 260lbs, so seat comfort is important to me on a long flight.

I know the boarding procedures are different (WN has unassigned seats and boards by check-in number, F9 has assigned seats and boards by section. It's been a while since I did a normal boarding procedure, but as I recall, they board front to back, is that right? How long before takeoff should I be at the gate for boarding?

Am I missing anything obvious?
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Old May 5, 12, 10:01 am   #2
 
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Introduce me to Frontier

The obvious is that Frontier sells at a premium their seats with more leg room vs sw first come first served.
Have you looked at Alaska Air nonstop DCA LAX FLIGHTS?
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Old May 5, 12, 10:03 am   #3
 
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Introduce me to Frontier

Oh and the stop over with F is usually Denver
During the winter , Denver airport can be a bear with weather delays in or out bound!
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Old May 5, 12, 10:35 am   #4
 
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The flights I'm looking at do indeed stop in DEN, so I have a thread in the American West forum asking about DEN. My timeframe for these flights is mid-october, so I wouldn't think the weather would be all that bad. I know snow comes early in Denver, but it's not like it's mid-winter.

I haven't looked at Alaska Air, but I'll check it out. I'm specifically looking for flights with a stop, though, because I don't want to be stuck in my seat for a 6-hour n/s. I need to stretch!

EDITED TO ADD: Checked Alaska and it turns out that their seats in coach are the same width as WNs, with a tighter pitch, so I'd be just as uncomfortable on Alaska as I would be on Southwest, but for well over $100 more.
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Old May 5, 12, 10:42 am   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WillCAD View Post
American West forum
You need to update a few other areas besides Frontier.

America West has been US Airways for, oh, a few years.

Frontier has Stretch Seating where you can, for an additional charge, reserve a seat with extra legroom in advance.

I recommend the Denver Chop House on concourse A at DEN for that meal during the layover.

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Old May 5, 12, 10:58 am   #6
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F9 is lobbying for COS-DCA, and already has COS-LAX, so depending on timing and schedules, COS might prove to be an interesting alternative to DEN, especially if you've got time for an excursion around town.
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Old May 5, 12, 11:06 am   #7
 
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I like DEN, it's a GREAT airport with lots of ammenities (don't really have a choice when flying F9, almost everything goes through DEN from MKE/MSN!). You can take the train to another terminal without exiting security for lots of food choices! B has the most options IMO, but the Denver Chop House is pretty good in A. They take care of snow pretty well, the turbulence in and out can be stressful (especially coming over the mountains), but intermittent (sometimes it's fairly bumpy, sometimes very smooth).

I never check-in more than 90 minutes before my flight, even with checked baggage-and always have extra time. Depending on the fare you choose, you can get a free checked bag, which would be nice, then you wouldn't have to lug it around DEN when you eat. If you upgrade to a Stretch seat (available stand alone or in an upgraded fare) you would be among the first to board and overhead storage would not be a problem. Those Stretch seats are really nice and roomy and your TV might also be included in your fare.

It all depends on the fare to me. Sometimes another airline is a bit cheaper non-stop than F9 is with a stop in DEN!

I hope you give F9 a try! Have a good flight!

Last edited by Wisconsin; May 5, 12 at 4:56 pm.
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Old May 5, 12, 12:02 pm   #8
 
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I'll preface this by saying I have limited experience flying F9 cross country. I took a couple DEN-BDL redeyes a few years ago. Also I've only flown west over the Rockies a few times. A little turbulence is fun in my book.

I looked up a random week long trip in mid-Oct
Alaska- is the only non-stop and the cheapest. However, you don't want that. $484

WN- gives you the option to split the trip up into multiple segments. Flying out of BWI you can stop over in DEN, ABQ, SAT, HOU, STL, MDW, MKE, BNA, PHX and LAS. Also lots of stops with no plane changes. I choose the DEN option and it'll cost you $440, the cheapest of any flights.

F9- A couple of flights throughout the day and comes out to $332 base fare. However with the Classic fare for $401 you can get two bags free, better seat options (select), free Directv, and some awesome liquor options to purchase.

A couple links that are helpful-
http://www.frontierairlines.com/plan-book/fare-options
http://www.frontierairlines.com/flig...irectv-service
http://www.frontierairlines.com/flig...light-catering

Here is a discussion about the differences in Select and Stretch seating.
Select Seating

Everything I mentioned above can be purchased al carte and potentially save you some money.
Economy ticket ($332) + Stretch seating on both flights ($50+20) + DIRECTV ($6+$6) = $414. Slightly more than purchasing a Classic fare but you get 36' of leg room.

If choose the Classic Plus fare you get a fully refundable ticket for $521.

I really like F9 and they have been great for me.

Last edited by runnigel; May 5, 12 at 5:28 pm.
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Old May 5, 12, 1:03 pm   #9
 
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A couple of other thoughts-

Beware of WN new Evolve seating. They claim the same seat pitch but reports are otherwise. A 6'1" individual reported feeling pretty cramped.
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/south...e-room-14.html

WN does have WiFi on some planes which is a nice if the speeds are good.
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Old May 5, 12, 5:24 pm   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runnigel View Post
Alaskan-


American West and Alaskan in the same thread, I give up.

Next thing will be calling Frontier: Midwest Express.
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Old May 5, 12, 5:28 pm   #11
 
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My bad Daze, sorry.
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Old May 5, 12, 6:16 pm   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daze View Post
You need to update a few other areas besides Frontier.

America West has been US Airways for, oh, a few years.
True. And has nothing to do with the OP's OP.

He did post some questions about DEN in the American West forum:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/west-456/

Back to topic: You'd like Frontier. The availability of 36-inch pitch seating and TV at all seats makes it a no-brainer compared to Southwest, in my opinion.
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Old May 5, 12, 8:38 pm   #13
 
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In general, Airbus 3x3 narrowbody aircraft have seats which are about 1" wider than Boeing 3x3 narrobody becuase of wider Airbus cross section. That's responsible for the notch-wider F9 seats.

Getting into the extra-legroom Stretch section will boost your comfort substantially. Here's a bit of a primer about your fare options, including cost to get those Stretch seats. (These are the lowest fares I see in October DCA-LAX.)

$165.59 Economy
$20 each for 1st and 2nd bag
Upgrade to Stretch: $50 DCA-DEN leg, $20 DEN-LAX leg
$275.59 for two bags + stretch seating

$200.59 Classic
2 free bags
Upgrade to Stretch: $40 DCA-DEN leg, $10 DEN-LAX leg
$250.59 for two bags + stretch seating

$260.69 Classic Plus
2 free bags
Stretch seating included

There are a few other benefits to the higher tiers, like extra frequent flyer miles (not alluring to a low-frequency flyer of course) and Classic Plus includes elite lines and free drinks.

If you choose to book Economy and upgrade per-leg, you can deicde if you want to upgrade subsequent legs or not. There's always the chance that all the Stretch seats could be sold out before you check in buy an upgrade. But with 30 Stretch seats per Airbus, you're probably in okay shape.
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Old May 6, 12, 9:58 pm   #14
 
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BTW, DEN does occasionally get early heavy wet snows in October, but as Wisconsin said, it is usually dealt with quickly because they have lots of experience with it. And since you are planning on a layover, you'll have extra time in case of issues.
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Old May 7, 12, 8:56 am   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knope2001:18521648
In general, Airbus 3x3 narrowbody aircraft have seats which are about 1" wider than Boeing 3x3 narrobody becuase of wider Airbus cross section. That's responsible for the notch-wider F9 seats.

Getting into the extra-legroom Stretch section will boost your comfort substantially. Here's a bit of a primer about your fare options, including cost to get those Stretch seats. (These are the lowest fares I see in October DCA-LAX.)

$165.59 Economy
$20 each for 1st and 2nd bag
Upgrade to Stretch: $50 DCA-DEN leg, $20 DEN-LAX leg
$275.59 for two bags + stretch seating

$200.59 Classic
2 free bags
Upgrade to Stretch: $40 DCA-DEN leg, $10 DEN-LAX leg
$250.59 for two bags + stretch seating

$260.69 Classic Plus
2 free bags
Stretch seating included

There are a few other benefits to the higher tiers, like extra frequent flyer miles (not alluring to a low-frequency flyer of course) and Classic Plus includes elite lines and free drinks.

If you choose to book Economy and upgrade per-leg, you can deicde if you want to upgrade subsequent legs or not. There's always the chance that all the Stretch seats could be sold out before you check in buy an upgrade. But with 30 Stretch seats per Airbus, you're probably in okay shape.
While looking at the fares on Frontiers site, I found that the difference between Economy and Classic for the flights I want is only $35 per leg. Since I know ill be traveling with 2 checked bags at $20 each per leg, the higher Classic fare would actually save me about $10 on the total fare.

I don't think I'll bother with the upgrade to Stretch seating. I typically have nothing in the underseat area and can put my feet there to get a little more room, but the width is what really concerns me at this point. I'm used to WN's 17" seats, so F9's 18" seats should be a little more comfy for me.
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