Frontier might be the best ULCC

Old Dec 29, 19, 6:25 am
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Frontier might be the best ULCC

Hi,
I recently had the opportunity to fly frontier and just want to share my experience.
The flight only cost me $36 to fly from Memphis to Philadelphia.
The seats are actually not that uncomfortable, especially for a 2 hour flight. Legroom is comparable to legacy carriers.
My flight arrived on time, which is always appreciated.
I also made a detailed video on this flight. I worked really hard on it lol... so please check it out! Thanks!
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Old Dec 29, 19, 6:52 am
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It might be. But, it is not.

One flight means nothing. F9 has horrible performance, no interline agreements, and many routes with few frequencies. In IRROPS, you are either stuck for days or wind up purchasing a ticket on a real carrier for a lot more real money.
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Old Dec 29, 19, 7:38 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
It might be. But, it is not.

One flight means nothing. F9 has horrible performance, no interline agreements, and many routes with few frequencies. In IRROPS, you are either stuck for days or wind up purchasing a ticket on a real carrier for a lot more real money.
I guess I got lucky then haha.
but do you think they're worse than spirit, allegiant, or sun country?
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Old Dec 29, 19, 9:40 pm
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Originally Posted by angusho View Post
I guess I got lucky then haha.
but do you think they're worse than spirit, allegiant, or sun country?
I wouldn't fly Allegiant after listening to that 60 minutes story about their maintenance issues. Also, for me, Allegiant flies out of Rockford,. Spirit and Frontier fly out of O'Hare.

Spirit isn't any better than Frontier and as I've said, I like Frontier status for my frequent trips to LAS. 20k Frontier status gets you free exit and stretch seats if they are available at 24 hr check-in and free regular seat reservation. You also get a free carry on. I see that Spirit started having status this year as well.

The negatives listed by Often are true, but also true for the other carriers listed (I don't know anything about Sun Country). For my travel, F9 works great. I have trip delay insurance from.credit card for delays or cancellations. I actually hope every time that there is a covered delay so I can trigger the benefits but it's only happened once for me.

I'll take the risk for my $50-75 round trip flights ORD-LAS with unlimited leg room in my exit row seat plus free carry on.
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Old Dec 29, 19, 10:01 pm
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Frontier has a better vibe to it than Spirit as well. Maybe it's from having some FAs who pre-date the full-ULCC period. I think the cabins are slightly better, and of course with Frontier you can get an ice water to drink free.

As mentioned, some disadvantages with ULCCs are pretty common for all of them.

It's not for everyone, though. For many families and other infrequent travelers who pack a lot, Southwest could still be the best bet.
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Old Dec 31, 19, 7:45 pm
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Flying Frontier for the first time on Sunday out of DEN, should be interesting, as I flew Spirit a few times before and Allegiant once, so I look forward to comparing the three of them.

I'm of course flying Delta first class into DEN, so I know I can't compare apples to oranges, but at least I have "stretch" seating on my F9 flight.
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Old Jan 2, 20, 9:33 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
It might be. But, it is not.

One flight means nothing. F9 has horrible performance, no interline agreements, and many routes with few frequencies. In IRROPS, you are either stuck for days or wind up purchasing a ticket on a real carrier for a lot more real money.
I don't know of a single ultra-low cost carrier in the US that has meaningful interline agreements, high frequency on most of their routes, or particularly stellar performance metrics. Spirit had a couple good months not too long ago, but not sure if that's been sustained. But pretty much everything stated about F9 is very common on ULCCs.

Personally, I think Frontier is a touch nicer on board than Spirit, and I prefer both over Sun Country after their ULCC changes. I've never taken Allegiant, so I can't comment on them from a personal perspective. All of them are competing on price, though, and I wouldn't go particularly out of my way to use one over another.
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Old Jan 2, 20, 11:33 pm
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What Frontier has going for it is tremendous value -- at least for the moment. If you game their system, the fares are often astonishingly cheap. The key is to buy nothing other than airfare from them. This is easy because their bag fees are stupidly high (I never see more than a handful of people carrying on regular carry-ons because they charge $40 each way), their seat assignment fees are high and easily avoidable by gaming your check-in time, and the "food" they sell on board is pathetic and overpriced.

I do wonder if this is sustainable, though. They are basically the Walmart of the Skies. It's actually astonishing to me how different their clientele is from the major USA airlines. The USA elites generally refuse to fly them at any price, even though the service is really only a little worse than regular USA cattle-car class. I don't see "anyone" buying any ancillary service: as I said, nobody pays for carry-ons and they sell few seat assignments and almost no food. Their clientele just doesn't have the money to do these things, even if they wanted to. There's no way this model is sustainable on $39 fares. I don't see how they can be generating enough revenue to cover their costs..
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Old Jan 3, 20, 10:36 am
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
What Frontier has going for it is tremendous value -- at least for the moment. If you game their system, the fares are often astonishingly cheap. The key is to buy nothing other than airfare from them. This is easy because their bag fees are stupidly high (I never see more than a handful of people carrying on regular carry-ons because they charge $40 each way), their seat assignment fees are high and easily avoidable by gaming your check-in time, and the "food" they sell on board is pathetic and overpriced.
I'm guessing on-board sales vary heavily by route and time of day. Flights to Las Vegas likely have fairly high on-board sales, and afternoon/evening flights to leisure destinations might bat a bit higher as well (people wanting to pregame or have a bit of enjoyment/treat themselves, basically.) As for carry-on bags, most people will simply check bags as Frontier prices a checked bag cheaper than a carry-on. I've seen long lines at the check-in counter for people checking bags, so they're likely making additional revenue that way.

There's plenty of customers that they're likely not making money on (always buying cheap flights, using promo codes, buying at the airport to save on fees, no ancillary baggage, etc.) but overall I wouldn't be surprised to see them making a profit.
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Old Jan 3, 20, 12:13 pm
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It is strange to me how I can be Elite with Frontier, which would suggest that I'm an important and revenue generating customer.

The reality is that I NEVER buy anything on board. I take munchies bought at the Dollar Tree. I buy a bottle of soda before boarding the plane for two reasons: I can't get Diet Mountain Dew on board, and I prefer something with a cap on it in case of turbulence. If I DO drink anything on board, it's the free cup of water.

It hasn't happened yet, but if the free carryon and free personal item weren't enough to take what I needed, I would just use the Scottevest trick. So no baggage money from me.

Obviously I get a free seat assignment now, but before I virtually always got my preferred aisle seat due to having this noted in my profile. Of course, we all remember the brief period after website "improvements" where our profile forgot our preferences; I got saddled with middle seats a couple of times because of this. First world problem, I know...

I hope Frontier gets a nice kickback from Barclays for bestowing these niceties on a low rolling flier like me. I am actually afraid that this is too good for those of us that can take advantage of the perks, and that it won't be long before there will be some devaluation. Thankfully, this value driven frequent flyer program seems to have been ignored by travel writers, since nobody would think an ULCC would have anything worth looking into. I hope they never find out.
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Old Jan 3, 20, 7:37 pm
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Originally Posted by frugal_flyer View Post
I hope Frontier gets a nice kickback from Barclays for bestowing these niceties on a low rolling flier like me. I am actually afraid that this is too good for those of us that can take advantage of the perks, and that it won't be long before there will be some devaluation. Thankfully, this value driven frequent flyer program seems to have been ignored by travel writers, since nobody would think an ULCC would have anything worth looking into. I hope they never find out.
Are you spending on the Barclay's Frontier credit card to get you to 20,000 miles? I will say that Frontier's 20K elite is a good deal -- much better than silver status in other airline programs -- because it eliminates the major annoyances of flying Frontier (giving you things that are very worthwhile, but not worth paying for).
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Old Jan 4, 20, 11:07 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
It might be. But, it is not.

. . . .

In IRROPS, you are either stuck for days or wind up purchasing a ticket on a real carrier for a lot more real money.
I have never flown on Frontier (or Spirit or Allegiant), and I am not recommending that anyone do so. But it appears that there is now a relatively low-cost way of insuring against IRROPS on these carriers:

https://www.getfreebird.com/travelers

A Freebird rep has confirmed to me that if you have a covered flight from or to an airport with little or no other service, Freebird will rebook you to or from a nearby airport at your request (e.g., EWR instead of TTN).
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Old Jan 6, 20, 7:47 pm
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iahphx... I got a good majority of the miles towards Elite using the credit card. But I flew several times as well. Going from Cleveland to Las Vegas a few times a year will rack up the miles quickly. But before last year, I didn't factor any of this into my decision-making. With the decent perks, now I am fully cognizant of what I am doing.

I still fly Spirit a few times a year as well, since I charge and fly enough on Frontier to not really worry about making Elite. I agree with others that flying Frontier is a little better experience than Spirit, though it's not enough to make me pay a lot more for fares in the absence of the Elite perks.
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Old Jan 7, 20, 6:06 am
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Originally Posted by frugal_flyer View Post
iahphx... I got a good majority of the miles towards Elite using the credit card. But I flew several times as well. Going from Cleveland to Las Vegas a few times a year will rack up the miles quickly. But before last year, I didn't factor any of this into my decision-making. With the decent perks, now I am fully cognizant of what I am doing.

I still fly Spirit a few times a year as well, since I charge and fly enough on Frontier to not really worry about making Elite. I agree with others that flying Frontier is a little better experience than Spirit, though it's not enough to make me pay a lot more for fares in the absence of the Elite perks.
Interesting. The single biggest deterrent to my flying Frontier more are their bag fees. I can get a free full-size carry-on flying any of the major US airlines on even a basic economy fare (I have elite status on UA, otherwise they still charge with basic economy tickets). This means I will only fly Frontier if their fare is absurdly cheap and I "can live" with a big backpack. Otherwise, there's no real cost savings and it's a hassle. BTW, I'm kind of astonished by Frontier's carry-on fee. First, I don't even know what it is! It seems to be variable. Lately, on my reservations, they've said $40 and $45 each way. That's batsh!t crazy! And others seem to agree: on full A321s, I'm seeing maybe 5 or 6 pax with carry-ons -- and some of those pax probably have status that waives the fee. So they're not making any ancillary revenue off this. Something like $20 would seem more logical.
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Old Jan 7, 20, 8:57 am
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Many people probably check their bags since the checked bag fee is lower than the carryon fee. On other airlines that have a checked bag fee but no carry on fee, the overhead bins get absurdly full. On Frontier that's never been a problem.
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