In short, as long as your Frontier flight is on time, you probably got a very good deal. My Frontier Airlines A320 flight from Ontario to Denver was quite smooth and had surprisingly good service aboard. The amenities were lacking, but I prepared myself in advance.
Frontier Airlines A320 Review
I booked my ticket for $63 which you could say effectively doubled when you consider I had to pay $20/day for parking for my three-day trip at Ontario International Airport in Southern California’s Inland Empire. When I fly out of Burbank Airport someone drops me off and when I fly out of Los Angeles International Airport I park at a friend’s house nearby.
Kudos to Ontario Airport for making the parking process so easy. There is a premium parking area (Lot 2) outside the terminal at $30/day, but I parked in Lot 3 between Terminals 2 and 4 for $20/day. That’s not a bad price considering it was just a short walk into the terminal.
Inside, the check-in hall was quite crowded for 4:20 am in the morning. In addition to Frontier Airlines, other flights were leaving too including a United flight to Denver leaving at the same time as Frontier, Delta fights to Salt Lake City and Seattle, a Frontier flight to Dallas, Alaska flight to Seattle, and American flights to Dallas and Phoenix. As a result, the security line was quite heavy.
Thankfully, there was both Clear and PreCheck, which I took advantage of to quickly bypass the long lines and be on my way.
Terminal 2 does have an Aspire Lounge that is part of the Priority Pass network, but did not open until 5:30 am so I missed it on the way out.
I found my boarding gate toward the end of the terminal and sat down, though not for long because boarding commenced at 4:30 am.
Do note that everything is sold separately on Frontier Airlines. You get one personal item (dimensions 8 inches x 18 inches x 14 inches) and it must fit under the seat in front of you. Carry-on bags are not included. If you fail to purchase them early (as cheap as $15 as booking), you will be charged $99 for them at the gate. Checked bags also cost extra as do seat assignments and any food or drink onboard.
Frontier Airlines 974
Ontario, CA (ONT) – Denver (DEN)
Depart: 05:15 AM
Arrive: 08:37 AM (08:20 AM actual)
Duration: 02hr, 22min
Distance: 819 miles
Aircraft: Airbus A320
The gate agent did not closely enforce carry-on baggage size, though I suspect most Frontier employees have gotten used to eyeballing bags and only stopping those clear violators. Once aboard, the overhead bins could be used for personal items (and remained half empty) which is certainly the upside to restricting the use of carry-on bags. Boarding was very rapid.
On the A320, the first three rows offer “stretch” seating with 32-33 inches of legroom (exit row 13 also offers a lot of extra space). The rest of the aircraft has seat pitch between 28 and 30 inches.
I’ll be honest, though. With the super slimline seats that are installed the legroom felt more like 31 or 32 inches. Seats do not recline. There is no power outlet. Heck, there is hardly a tray table….look at it:
Before boarding ended, one flight attendant warned the cabin, “The Airbus is notorious for weight and balance. Take your assigned seat please.”
As we got to the end of boarding, one of the flight attendants invited me to move up five rows to an aisle seat in a row in which the aisle and middle seat was empty. That gave me more space and the couple sitting next to me in row 30 more space.
She then began moving people to the front of the plane, presumably for weight and balance. Clapping her hands, she said:
“Whose is alone? Come on up. Make it fast!”
We pushed back on-time.
There is no in-flight-entertainment of any kind beyond the buy-onboard menu, but I came prepared with fully-charged devices and plenty of music downloaded.
With such a tiny tray table, I placed my laptop on my lap. Without any recline, I was able to open it and get some work done. The flight was productive.
I had my doubts at first when one flight attendant seemed to mock a passenger for using the lavatory (“I can’t believe you boarded the plane to use the lavatory. Why didn’t you go outside?”), but it was her style of humor (I guess?) and the ladies working the back were very kind to me.
They were also quite attentive, coming down the aisle once to sell items but then several times to collect trash.
Food + Drink
Snacks and drinks are available for purchase. Frontier sells bottled water, but also offers complimentary water onboard.
Here’s the menu:
I ordered a cup of coffee ($4.39) which was Juan Valdez branded (a very respectable Colombian coffee company) and thought the coffee was just fine. I liked that the coffee was served with a lid – I wish United and American served their coffee with lids (which obviously would add to the expense, but is much safer to guard against spills).
The Frontier A320 has three lavatories: one in the front and two in the rear. The two in the rear are done EasyJet-style (that’s the only other place I’ve seen them) and are small and narrow, but were at least clean.
I also appreciated that the pressure was low enough on the sink that I could wash my hand without splashing all over my clothes and the mirror.
We landed in Denver 30 minutes ahead of schedule, had to wait 10 minutes for a gate, but still arrived at the gate about 20 minutes early. This was a decent flight because 1.) my expectations were low going in concerning the amenities and legroom onboard and 2.) the flight attendants were very nice.
If the price was right, I’d fly Frontier Airlines again. I do note when your flight is delayed or canceled on Frontier, you are often out of luck – that was a risk I was willing to take and it paid off this time.