Come fly with me: Frontier inaugural routes edition


frontier wilmington inaugural

Like music to my ears, that was essentially the request I received in a Facebook message a couple weeks ago from a DC-based friend. He was going to Wilmington, Delaware to try out Frontier’s new route to Atlanta on a $36 round trip fare and he was looking for a friend to join him. It took me all of about 15 seconds to make the decision I’d be going. A ticket was bought, seats were assigned and I was ready to fly.

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Sure, there was a sketchy hotel the night before, and I decided to double down, flying the inaugural to Detroit that morning as well. It certainly wasn’t “normal” by most standards but it absolutely was by mine.

My day of flying on Frontier inaugurals
Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

I did cave in during the online check-in process, coughing up an extra $7 to have access to the STRETCH seats on board. I figured it was worth giving it a try so I could compare to the regular seats in the back. And that turned out to be a very smart move. I met Brenda and Gwendolyn, the two flight attendants working the front half of the plane for the four flights, and we had a blast over the 10-ish hours we spent together.

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And, naturally, I did compare the seating in the two areas. STRETCH is definitely more roomy, but the regular seating was a standard 31″ and not all that bad. I even took a middle seat on the flight to Atlanta to help a family sit together and to talk with my friend.

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The in-flight service was, as expected, buy-on-board for everything. Even the sodas. I was also a bit surprised at the catering setup for the flight. They don’t cater at any of the three airports we visited that day which meant they only had what they started with out of Denver the night before. That led to running out of a number of items (more Bloody Marys were ordered on the first segment than could be served; none by me) during the day. I’ve got another trip upcoming with Frontier later this summer in a similar scenario and I’m a bit concerned we’ll be shut out on the comp’d drinks we’re supposed to get with the “Classic” fare we purchased.

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The napkins even include a suggestion that they be used as an eye mask (another version also suggests earplugs. Seems a bit of a stretch to me. Alas, I’m not so sure they’re joking there.

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We got a water canon salute for both Wilmington departures, even though it was raining the second time. Ceremony must be adhered to!

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And, at the end of the day, the Delaware River & Bay Authority (operators of ILG airport) gave me one of the huge #AvGeek pretzels to take home as a (short-lived, delicious) souvenir.

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I found it somewhat ironic that I was on these inaugural flights the same week as Frontier announced the significant changes to their ticketing and fee structures. Many of the passengers I spoke with were happy about the new routes and the ease of access at Wilmington (and Trenton) airports and quite pleased with the product quality. Quite frankly, I was, too. But then I had to break it to the others that the experience us changing and not necessarily for the better. It will be interesting to see how Frontier fares overall with these new east coast operations. As a low-fare customer I can easily say I’m happy with the product I received on the inaugurals (and it was the typical product; the FAs didn’t know it was the inaugural until they arrived at the airport that morning) but it is definitely in flux right now.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you for being a low-fare traveler Seth. Most of us don’t have the time to waste our lives on MS and don’t need a lie flat to enjoy ourselves.

    1. I fly a bit of both, truly. But I make sure to share the more common experience when I can. Mostly because that’s still where I spend most of my time.

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