Frontier Airlines A320 Stretch seat review (don’t get excited)

Frontier Airlines A320 Stretch seat review (don’t get excited)

I’ll be the first to admit that my airline reviews are about as far they could possibly be from being classified as “educational”, and I don’t think I’ve ever written an article here on which would make someone instinctively reach for a notepad to scribble down valuable pieces of information as they read.

It isn’t like I don’t have any desire to teach and inform or anything, but my writing style always gravitates towards making silly jokes about things like red shoes and Healthwhiches (leaving little mental energy left over to be serious and adult-like). I just can’t help it.

But today is your lucky day my friends! Grab your notebook and something to write with, because this Frontier Airlines A320 Stretch seat review contains a valuable life lesson which can potentially save you heaps of embarrassment and frustration as you arrive at the airport to check in for your flight.

Austin, TX (AUS) – San Diego, CA (SAN)
Monday, June 25, 2018
Aircraft: A320-214
Registration: N235FR
Duration: 2 hours 28 minutes
Seat: 3F (premium economy)

Frontier Airlines A320 n235fr pike the otter
Frontier Airlines A320 (N235FR) side view illustration by Pike the Otter doing the honors today!
Austin to San Diego route map
Our route from Austin to San Diego this morning as F91701

My full review of  the Frontier Airlines A320 Stretch seat from Austin to San Diego

This trip report begins on a dark and rainy Monday morning on a second-floor room at the Hilton adjacent to the Austin Bergstrom Airport. It’s 5:30 AM, and your hero (that’s me BTW) is shuffling out of bed with arms pointing straight out in front of him like a zombie trying to find the source of the piercing alarm which has woken him so violently from his zombie-like slumber. There’s a shuttle bus leaving for the airport at 6 AM, and his goal is to be on it. Let’s get going!

Arriving at the airport (sort of)

This is the point where the valuable life lesson comes into play, so I’m just going to spill it and not drag it out any further:

Never (and I do mean never) trust your hotel shuttle bus driver!

Hmm. Perhaps you were expecting something a bit more meaty than that? It does seem a bit anti-climatic, I know, but trust me on this. These people are not your friends, even if they look like happy / seasoned pros who have been on the job for 30+ years. Are you writing this down?

He seemed like a nice enough guy, greeting me with a smile as I stepped onboard, and asking me which airline I was flying this morning. “Frontier please”, I replied, not expecting anything else than being dropped off in front of the Frontier Airlines baggage drop sometime within the next 10 minutes. That seemed like a fair enough assumption, right? And right up to the point where we pulled up to the airport, things seemed to be going just as planned.

“Frontier departs from the South terminal” he said as I was stepping off the bus, followed with instructions on how to get there. “You see that bus stop 200 feet ahead? Just wait there and there will be another shuttle bus that will take you over to the South terminal in just a few minutes”. I thanked him for his help and walked down to said bus stop to wait for my ride.

Austin airport departures level
It’s stupidly hot in Texas, even at 6:15 AM under overcast skies with a bit of drizzle coming down. Just one more shuttle bus ride to go, and I’ll be safely indoors basking in glorious air-conditioned comfort!

25 minutes later, I was still waiting. I was seriously considering grabbing a taxi at that point, never even considering for a moment that I was actually in the right place and that the Frontier Airlines baggage drop was just 50 feet behind me.

That’s right ladies and gentlemen – I had been given bogus information and I was about to be sent on a wild ride over to the South terminal (a place which just so happens to be nowhere near the North terminal – or even the airport for that matter). Heck, it might as well have been located across the state line in Louisiana, because once the shuttle bus did arrive to scoop me up, it was another long 25 minute ride over there.

Austin airport shuttle bus North terminal to south terminal
Where the hell is this guy taking me? After 20 minutes of driving with the airport nowhere in sight, I was starting to get worried.

Once we pulled up to what looked like a series of temporary buildings clustered together out in the middle of nowhere, it dawned on me that I had been led astray and that Frontier Airlines did indeed depart from the North terminal (where I had been dropped off originally). Dang it.

Thankfully I have a habit of arriving at the airport stupidly early every time I fly, because I wasted an entire hour unnecessarily shuffling between terminals this morning. Even though I was in no danger of missing my flight, it was still rather embarrassing and not the best way to start a day of travel.

Austin Bergstrom Airport South terminal
Welcome to the South terminal at Austin Bergstrom Airport! Unfortunately, Frontier Airlines does not depart from here. Have you any idea how embarrassing it is to ask your shuttle bus driver for a ride back to the place where he just picked you up from?

Arrival at the airport (again)

Frontier Airlines departures Austin Bergstrom Airport
25 minutes later, I arrive back at the North terminal just 50 feet from where I was standing 50 minutes earlier. That sign taunting me with a “NO WAITING” message was the icing on the cake.
Frontier Airlines check-in counter Austin airport
Well, would you look at that? Despite having been shuttled to Louisiana and back this morning, I was still so early that the check in counter wasn’t even open yet. I’m telling you, my “getting to the airport with plenty of time to spare” skills are ninja-like.
 Austin airport north terminal departures hall
Heck, I’m actually so early that it looks as if I could be first in line at Delta too!

Once through security, I was thankful that I still had about an hour and a half to go before boarding was scheduled to begin. That gave me ample time to grab a bite to eat, and to berate myself a little for not paying attention and knowing ahead of time which terminal that I needed to be at this morning. I had definitely learned a lesson, and felt a little excited that I actually had something educational to share on the blog for once.

Austin Bergstrom Airport interior North terminal
How come nobody ever told me that this was such a cool airport? I totally expected seeing Dell ads everywhere, but I wasn’t expecting them to be hanging in such a large and good-looking building!
SANspotter selfie Austin Airport
Trying to look calm, cool, and collected is really hard when you know that you were dumb enough to have been sent around on a whirlwind shuttle bus adventure (one that could’ve been completely preventable if you had been paying even the slightest bit of attention).

The boarding process for flight number 1701 to San Diego

I found it interesting that our gate for this flight to San Diego was the exact same one (with the comically long jet bridge) that we arrived at just two days prior. The only difference between this flight and that one was that this was looking to be a little bit of a lighter load, and I was feeling pretty good about the possibility of having an open seat next to me this morning.

Frontier Airlines gate three podium Austin airport
Gate number 3 for the ride home to San Diego this morning, and completely proud of myself of the fact that this was the second picture of a Frontier Airlines desk that I was able to snap this morning that didn’t have anybody in it. Mad photo skills yo!
Austin airport terminal interior
It’s looking like a light load so far – but with my luck, there could be just three other people on the plane and at least one of them would be seated right next to me. It always happens.
Frontier airlines mobile boarding pass
The battery on my old iPhone 6S doesn’t hold a charge very well anymore, so I hope y’all appreciate the sacrifice it took to fire her up and get this shot.
Austin airport really long jet bridge
I can only imagine the fun that the construction guys had when their foreman came to them one morning and said, “Ok guys, we need to take six jet bridges and attach them together end to end!“
Frontier Airlines A320neo boarding door
Thankfully nobody passed out during the long walk to the plane.
Frontier Airlines pilot
“I’m telling you Marty, all the passengers would really enjoy a double barrel roll right after take off!”
Pike the Otter
Today we’re flying with Pike. I’m cool with that, as long as his stubby little arms can reach all the controls.

My first impressions of the Frontier A320 Stretch seats

As you would probably expect, the Stretch seats on the Frontier A320 are identical to the Stretch seats on the A320ne0. They are extremely thin and firm, but I appreciate the gobs of space between the seats. Make no mistake about it. This sort of consistency is one of the things that makes Frontier Airlines so good.

Frontier Airlines stretch seats
Oh, those glorious Frontier Airlines Stretch seats. Probably the most comfortable (and definitely the best looking) economy class seats I’ve seen in a good long while.
 Frontier Airlines A320neo strectch seats
Who would’ve thought that Frontier Airlines would have become even more cool when they switched to an ultra low-cost business model? For comparison’s sake, I don’t recall ever writing the word “cool” once in my review of Allegiant Air.
 Frontier airlines A320neo stretch seat pitch
Huge shout out to Pike for being generous with the leg room up here in row three today. These stretch seats are no joke!
Frontier Airlines A320neo safety card
I do believe this is the first time that I ever seen an escape rope being mentioned in the safety card. Either that or they’ve been there all along and I am totally embarrassing myself for even mentioning it.

The departure out of Austin

Once onboard with the boarding door closed, the possibility of having an open seat had been confirmed and I was enjoying sitting there with a little bit of extra room to spread out. Unfortunately, there was a small child sitting directly behind me, and you know how small kids are with their natural tendency to kick seats.

I really thought that I was going to be in for a completely miserable flight, but thankfully the kicking stopped as we pushed off the gate and headed out towards the runway for departure. Disaster averted.

 Departing Austin airport
Proving once again that no matter where I go in life, the rain always stops and the sun always shines as soon as I leave.
Southwest airlines Austin airport
Southwest Airlines always seems to follow me around as well. Weird.
Runway 17R AUS
Holding short of 17R, with a very anxious looking Pike out there on the winglet just chompin’ at the bit to fly.
 Departing Austin airport
One of these days I’m going to do a trip report using nothing but quotes from Top Gun for all the pics. There’s just something about this pic and my natural instinct to type out that infamous “feeling the need for speed” line…
 Frontier Airlines A320neo cabin
Empty middle seats for all of us up here in the first three rows today. “Stretch” seats are extra special when you have space to stretch out your elbows in addition to your knees!

The food

Nothing is free on Frontier Airlines except for water in a plastic cup, so I took full advantage of that and sipped slowly on that chilly H2O all the way to San Diego. Hey – I’m an expert in milking free things for as long as possible, and I did a number on that cup of water this morning. It was an enjoyable refreshment lasting the entire 2 1/2 hours.

Frontier Airlines snack menu
I think it’s funny that for the “Buy 3 Get 1 Free” option, they put a gentle reminder in there that it isn’t intended be consumed by just one person.
Frontier Airlines free water
I wonder how long it’s going to be until they start charging for the privilege of water in a plastic cup? Oops – I probably shouldn’t have said that out loud…

A few thoughts about the Stretch Seat experience

If none of what I’ve shown you so far looks all that appealing, consider reading my review of the Frontier A320 Standard seat experience. Trust me. It behooves you to pay a little extra for a Stretch seat.

Helping to pass the time on this flight was a bit of trip report writing and podcast listening (as usual). I didn’t even get up to use the lavatory once, and between all the writing, listening, and sipping, the flight went by in a flash.

SANspotter selfie Frontier Airlines
Hard at work on another trip report (trying my best to come up with clever captions for pictures of water in plastic cups probably).
Pike the Otter Frontier Airlines
Pike looking over my shoulder as I bang out that trip report. Despite what you may have heard, Otters are lousy editors.
SANspotter selfie Frontier A320neo
Podcast mode. And for those of you paying attention, you’ll notice that I look far more calm and relaxed in this pic that I did in any pic in my Frontier Airlines A321 basic economy review. No, the Stretch seats ain’t all that, but they are better than the cheap seats.
A320neo sound
Bummer that I didn’t get another ride on a NEO today. For those that haven’t flown on an A320neo yet, they are so quiet that the only thing that you can hear during cruise like this is wind noise. If old piston pounders and that kind of sound is what you love, you’re definitely not going to like the NEO experience!
 Frontier Airlines A320neo Interior comfort
The aviation industry has come along way since they days of piston-driven aircraft however, and I doubt that things would be this calm if we were bouncing around on a DC3 on our 12-hour / 5-stop route west to San Diego this morning.
Frontier Airlines A320neo tray table
Another nice thing about modern aviation? If this were a DC3, that iPad would be a 30 pound typewriter and you’d be hating life (and annoying all of your fellow passengers) as you worked on your trip report.

The arrival into San Diego

Salton Sea
The Salton Sea! She looks good from the air, but I assure you it is the stinkiest Sea that you will ever encounter. Think twice before hopping in a car and road-tripping to see it up close!
Frontier Airlines flight to San Diego
Pike enjoying the heck out of our glide around the mountains and into San Diego.
Frontier Airlines interior cabin
The humans inside the cabin couldn’t care less.
Approach into San Diego airport Frontier Airlines
Since the humans don’t care, this approach sequence is for all you curious Otters out there…
Frontier Airlines landing in San Diego airport
Welcome to San Diego!
Frontier and allegiant Airlines San Diego airport
There are two ultra low cost airlines in this pic, and I don’t know about you, but I think I am seated in my favorite one right now.
Alaska airlines San Diego airport
I can’t say the same thing about this pic unfortunately. There’s just too much to love about Alaska airlines IMHO, and I would have a really hard time deciding between Otters and Eskimos.
Frontier Airlines jet bridge San Diego
My opinion on jet bridges is very clear, however. I didn’t mention it earlier, but that super long jet bridge at AUS gave me the willies (claustrophobia like crazy!), so short jet bridges like this one makes it a lot easier for me to stay calm like a super-cool seasoned traveler walking off yet another airplane from some far off corner of the globe Austin, TX.

And there you have it. IMHO, the only real downside to flying Frontier instead of a large airline such as Delta (for example) is the fact that they are a smaller operation with a comparatively limited network. That’s perfectly ok if things are running as smooth as butter melting on a stack of hot pancakes, but throw in a thunderstorm or a naked guy running around on an active runway somewhere, and I can imagine things getting messy really fast.

Larger airlines such as Delta and American can absorb these problems a lot easier thanks to having more aircraft and a larger network, but there is no way that Frontier can compete when things go bad. It’s just something to keep in mind you’re trying to figure out if it’s worth it to gamble on Frontier for your next trip…

Comments (8)

  1. Geoff

    August 12, 2018
    • SANspotter

      August 12, 2018
  2. Brian

    August 13, 2018
    • SANspotter

      August 13, 2018
  3. Dean

    August 13, 2018
    • SANspotter

      August 13, 2018
  4. Hope T.

    July 18, 2023
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      July 18, 2023

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