On a prior post, Abe Carson wrote about the trials and tribulations he encountered on a misguided trip to Orlando in the midst of Hurricane Irma (see, A Hurricane of a Trip to Orlando, Florida). Today he writes about another adventure – flying to Orlando on Frontier Airlines.
I Flew on Frontier Airlines and This is What Happened by Abe Carson:
Having never flown Frontier Airlines, but encountering almost too-good-to-be-true airfare deals, I decided to experiment and take advantage of one of their 90%-off (or was it 99%?) airfare deals for a very short Florida getaway.
So…in early October I booked a $69 round-trip excursion from LaGuardia to Orlando, flying early December. Yes, you read that correctly, $69 r/t, including all taxes and fees.
It should be noted that Frontier is a no-frills airline and charges extra for everything. Want to use an overhead bin…extra. Want an assigned seat…extra. Desire a cup of coffee aboard the flight, you got it…an additional $2.99 for the caffeine.
Frontier will assign a free seat upon check-in but my research indicated they do so using a unique process. Apparently, seats are assigned sequentially from back-to-front upon check-in. Consequently, one has a real chance of being assigned a middle seat. So…perceiving a significant chance that I would not be assigned my preferred window seat (a 66% chance, by my calculation), I succumbed three weeks after booking my $69 flight and added assigned seats, for a fee of $26 r/t. Essentially, my round-trip fare became $95.
Arriving at LaGuardia at 7:45 AM, I was immediately confronted with the worst news of my trip…no vendor within the terminal was able to sell hot coffee (“our water is dirty”). And, since I wasn’t going to splurge onboard the flight for a beverage…no coffee for me till Orlando.
On the other hand, the Frontier experience was fine. The boarding staff, the flight attendants, were all cheerful and pleasant. The seats were not horrible and not terribly squished. No entertainment onboard. Flight attendants come out with a cart full of snacks and beverages, but only water is free. All snacks, soft drinks, juices and hot beverages are $2.99. Adult beverages are $7.99. After ordering, the flight attendant gives the passenger an I-Pad to sign for the purchase. The first screen gives the passenger an option to add a tip to their purchase…I guess the flight staff really is working for tips.
Return flight was also eventless.
One major difference between the two flights- on the return flight, we had to endure a hard-sell for Frontier’s branded credit card. And the card did not appear to offer a great deal in terms of benefits.
I did hear some grumbling about “paying $50” and not being allowed to place one’s overhead-bin carry-on where one likes. I was surprised how full the overhead bin space was- apparently many passengers pay the extra fee to bring a carry-on onboard. Both flights appeared to be full, so don’t expect too many empty seats.
All in all, if one knows what to expect and doesn’t need extras, Frontier’s flight deals can be a phenomenal bargain.