Frontier is not an airline that we typically fly on, but we both had 50,000 miles from opening the Barclays Frontier Mastercard and we wanted to go visit family in San Francisco over Labor Day. We had to redeemed 20k each way – which is their highest redemption level. We were OK with this because Frontier is in changes to become a ULCC and burning the miles was fine by us. Before we flew we made sure to have Frontier match our status with American, because even these elite tiers are changing soon. Our mileage redemption gave us a checked bag, carry-on, stretch seating (at booking) and one drink on board. Craig’s Summit status gave him two bags, priority check-in, priority boarding, and unlimited beverages on board. My Ascent status gave me similar perks, but my beverages were limited to non-alcoholic choices.
Check-in at Midway:
We aren’t really fans of Midway – no lounge, limited food options – it’s not really how we travel. Check-in was simple. We entered the priority line and the agent quickly acknowledged us. Our boarding passes were ticketed and our bags checked for free. The lady next to us didn’t know about Frontier’s change to a ULCC and she was shocked to find that her bags would have a cost to be checked or carried on the aircraft. We had two thoughts: we were happy to have booked higher redemption levels and did a status match; and we felt that Frontier did a pretty good job of advertising it’s fees – the woman next to us had no reason to take her dissatisfaction out on the ticket agent.
Now we were off to security. It should be noted that Frontier does not participate in TSA Precheck. We were allowed to use the priority security lane, and ended up in Precheck anyway so it was no big deal. After a quick dinner at Harry Carry’s we boarded early. We were the only two elite passengers who pre-boarded.
On Board: MDW > DEN, F9 915
We received a very warm greeting by the Flight Attendant, and took our seats at the bulkhead. Frontier’s planes are fine, but it is clear they don’t get many cleanings. Our flight was delayed because the First Officer was stuck in traffic. We were nervous about our tight connection, but the FA assured us he was near the airport. Ten minutes later, he was on board and we took off.
After takeoff, beverage service commenced. The FA greeted both of us by last name, thanked us for our status, and then asked us what she could get us. We both opted for the Breckenridge Bourbon (Ryan with water, and Craig with Ginger Ale).
Having redeemed for the Choice Plus ticket and having status really made the leg enjoyable. We were even given large bottles of water, which was a nice offer.
Layover at DEN
We made up time in flight, but it didn’t really matter because our next leg was delayed too. We spent 30 minutes the the Admirals Club at DEN. This club is used for BA flights leaving DEN too, so it had nicer than usual finishings. Also, the staff working the club were fantastic and very helpful (even though we weren’t flying American that day). We had a couple drinks, and snack, and we went to board our connection. It surprised us again that we were the only elites to board, even more so because DEN is a hub for F9.
On Board: DEN > SFO, F9 667
Our boarding was completed quickly as we were delayed. The FAs on this fight did not have the same level of energy as the last crew – but they were efficient and polite. Craig slept most of the flight, and I took advantage of his Summit status and tried the Macallan 12 year. It was great, and we again had bottles of water before landing.
Upon landing, our luggage took a a solid 20 minutes to arrive, and our bags were not handled with the same priority an elite would have on another airline.
Return to Chicago
Craig had to go to Philly for work so he was flying on US on our return. Luckily they leave from the same terminal at SFO. After saying goodbye to Craig I went to the check-in counter – where a line had already begun to form (it was not open yet). I was first in the priority line, and once it was opened I was the first customer assisted. The ground crew at SFO was great! It should also be noted that they tagged my bag for priority – and upon my return to Chicago it was the first bag off the conveyer belt.
I had a nice meal at Perry’s in the terminal. And, could even see Craig’s flight getting ready for boarding.
On Board: SFO > DEN, F9 662
Boarding was done quickly, and again I was the only elite to board. The aircraft was really warm, and the flight attendants requested that all window shades be lowered. We left SFO early, and were in the air in no time. Fantastic!
Once beverage service started I again had a Macallan 12 year, and a water. And, it should be noted that I was able to sweet talk the FA into another Macallan for good measure.
Layover at DEN
My flight arrived to DEN a solid 30 minutes early. I happily returned to the Club for a light dinner. Sensing that my next leg might board early, and made my way to the gate when I was done eating. And, my flight was about to board.
On Board: DEN > MDW, F9 538
Boarding was frustrating on this leg, it was as if some passengers never had boarded an aircraft before. Sadly, the FAs didn’t really assist in speeding up the process. However, we did leave on time and had a very quick flight to Chicago. After drink service, I slept for the remainder of the journey.
Back at MDW
Labor Day at MDW is really busy, even for a late evening flight. I was thankful my bag was the first off (with a nice priority luggage tag) and off I was to the taxi stand. The line was about 40 people deep, so I opted for an Uber Cab which arrived in 3 minutes.
I think it is sad that Frontier is becoming a ULCC like Spirit or RyanAir. They generally had very friendly and efficient service. I doubt we will have any reason to fly F9 in the future.