Frontier Airlines A320neo Stretch seats are solidly mediocre

Frontier Airlines A320neo Stretch seats are solidly mediocre

I was feeling really good as I was packing my bags for my first ever Frontier Airlines A320neo Stretch seat experience. I’m not a big fan of Frontier, but I will admit that the A320neo gives me palpitations (the good kind).

It was at that exact moment when I heard my phone let out an important-sounding notification buzz from across the room. Perfect timing for a distraction!

It was Frontier Airlines informing me that my flight to Austin had been delayed by three(!) hours and there was no point in leaving for the airport quite yet. Knowing how notorious this airline is for delays, I guess I had to expect it.

I also started doing an in-depth Allegiant vs Frontier comparison in my head, concerned that I may have made the wrong choice for this trip. Things have to be going very wrong to be wishing that you were flying Allegiant instead but…that was where I was at mentally.

San Diego, CA (SAN) – Austin, TX (AUS)
Saturday, June 23, 2018
Aircraft: A320-251N
Registration: N308FR
Duration: 2 hours 36 minutes
Seat: 3A (premium economy)

Frontier Airlines A320neo flo the flamingo
Frontier Airlines A320neo (N308FR) side view illustration by It’s Flo the Flamingo!
route from SAN to AUS
Our route from SAN to AUS this afternoon evening: ZZOOO2 IPL J2 GBN J50 ELP J183 LLO KALLA3

For those that don’t feel like reading at the moment, here is the video I put together, with music courtesy of Epidemic Sound:

My full review of Frontier Airlines A320neo (Stretch seats) from San Diego to Austin

Despite the delay, this trip to Austin on Frontier Airlines was one that I had been looking forward to for quite a while. It had been exactly 3 years since the last time I flew Frontier Airlines out of San Diego, and more than anything I really couldn’t wait to see how much they’ve changed since then. After all, based on everything that I’ve been hearing, the switch to an ultra low cost business model has completely transformed them and this was very likely to be a brand new experience for me.

Arrival at Terminal 1 (San Diego International Airport)

What wasn’t so brand new was dealing with the struggles and frustrations of terminal 1 here at San Diego International Airport. Normally I’m the kind of person who has no problem showing up to the airport three hours early just to sit and watch planes (and people) before a flight, but this time I tried to time my arrival so that my waiting time would be minimized to as few minutes as possible.

Let me tell you, that’s a very difficult challenge for someone who naturally enjoys arriving at the airport so early. Cutting it close is a new sensation for me indeed!

Frontier airlines terminal one San Diego
Kicking things off with this Frontier Airlines sign hanging low and proud just outside the doors here at terminal 1. Aren’t you glad that I started with this picture instead of one showing you the contents of my underwear drawer at home instead?
Frontier Airlines check in terminal one San Diego
Considering that Frontier Airlines has been bouncing back and forth between terminal 1 and 2 for years here at SAN, it’s not surprising that they don’t put much effort into the design of their check in counters anymore.
Security line terminal one San Diego airport
Risking a stern talking to as I stand here taking a picture of the security checkpoint.
San Diego airport terminal one escalator
Didn’t I recently promise myself (after flying out of this terminal in first class on an Alaska Airlines 737-900) that I would never do this again? We meet again, Escalators of Doom.
Terminal one entrance San Diego airport
One of these nights I’m going to sneak up there when nobody’s looking, scribble that out, and write “Circle of Death” instead.

I’d like to state for the record that, despite trying to be late, my timing was way off. By the time I got through security, I still had about an hour to go before boarding was even scheduled to begin! The plane wasn’t even here yet for crying out loud, so all of those carefully planned (and very impressive I might add) calculations were for naught. Waiting in terminal 1 here at SAN is the pits.

Frontier Airlines delayed flight
How funny would it have been to have a hidden camera right next to this display recording the faces of all the mortified souls who realize that they’re stuck in terminal 1 for three hours? Content like that would have won the old “Candid Camera” TV show an Emmy for sure!
Waiting in terminal one San Diego airport
This is a first-person view of what it’s like to sit in terminal 1 with your head in your hands (bored to tears). There’s not much else to do but stare at the floor while trying to figure out how to arrive at terminal 1 next time with as little time as possible before boarding for your flight is scheduled to begin.
Frontier Airlines San Diego airport
Fashionably late. And I only say “fashionably” because it’s an NEO. If This was just a regular A320, it would just be late.
 Frontier Airlines a320neo San Diego
Just look at the guns on that thing! I actually had no idea when I booked the reservation that this was going to be a NEO, so a nice surprise it was!
Inside terminal one San Diego airport
There was still a bit of waiting left to do yet, so I hung back in the shadows and pretended to be cool with the fact that I had absolutely nowhere to sit.
Overcrowded terminal one San Diego airport
A little congestion here at gate 12. And 11…and 10…and 9….and (I think you get the idea).

The boarding process for flight number 1702 to Austin

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity (ok it was really more like 25 minutes), they started the boarding process and I was happy to be in the very first boarding group thanks to my “Stretch” seat reservation way up there in row 3.

San Diego airport terminal one jet bridge Frontier Airlines
As I was walking down the jet bridge, I tried not to think about the fact that I would’ve already been in Austin by now if this flight had been on time. Heck, it could have been delayed by 30 minutes and I still would’ve been there!
Congestion in the jet bridge boarding flight
All I can think about when I look at this pic is having the feeling of wanting to run over to the joystick and yank it in every direction like an old Atari game controller just to see what would happen.
SANspotter red shoes
More waiting. It was hard not to imagine how many pounds of smoky Texas barbecue I would have consumed by now if this flight had been on time.

My first impressions of the Frontier Airlines A320neo Stretch seats

There are a lot of reasons not to like Frontier Airlines, but you can’t really fault them for being inconsistent. The seats you’re about to see are the exact same ones that you’ll see in my Frontier A320 Stretch seat review. And that’s a good thing.

Frontier Airlines stretch seat
Any thoughts I had of tangy barbecue sauce dribbling down my chin were obliterated the second I had my first look at these amazing new Frontier Airlines A320neo seats. Do these look super nice or what? If you don’t, check out what the old Stretch seats used to look like on the A319. That’ll change your mind, I promise.
Frontier Airlines stretch seat leg room
Not only did they look really nice, they felt really good too. And since I was in an upgraded “Stretch” row, there was tons of extra leg room as well. Not only is this is better than first class on some airlines, it’s a f**k ton more spacious than what you saw in my review of the Frontier A321 basic economy experience.
A320neo engine Frontier airlines
An engine so big that it’ll suck the logo right off the side of the airplane. Nice!

The entire cabin crew seemed to be in very good spirits despite the current 3 1/2 hour delay, and they did a very fine job of getting everyone situated on that airplane until no seat was left and every overhead bin was completely stuffed. I did find it interesting that there was very little apologizing going on despite our nearly four-hour delay this afternoon, but the cheery attitude of the crew calmed the mood and helped to make things feel a heck of a lot less frustrating.

Frontier Airlines A320neo safety card
Frontier Airlines A320neo safety card. Go ahead – quiz me. I’ve got this!

A quick look around the completely full cabin revealed a lot of long and tired faces of other passengers who, as I can only imagine, were throwing around expletives in their heads trying their hardest not to say them out loud.

It was getting to the point where I would actually understand if I started hearing some really colorful bad words echo though the cabin, because we were hit with yet another delay here at the gate when the flight attendants needed to find people in groups who were willing to move to the exit row.

It took a while find enough volunteers to sort out that mess, and by the time we pushed off the gate we were just about 4 hours delayed. Ouch! Especially for all those people onboard who were staying on this airplane all the way to MCO.

By the way, when I was checking flightradar24 to pull the data from this flight for the trip report, I saw that it eventually arrived into MCO the next morning at 1:30am. I hope they got compensated well for that.

The departure out of San Diego

San Diego airport terminal one jet bridge
After being delayed for nearly 4 hours, there’s no better sight in the world than that of a jet bridge disconnecting from the airplane.
 San Diego airport wing walker
How much you wanna bet that the wing walker out there is thinking “man it sucks to be them“ as he was guiding us off the gate?
San Diego airport taxi way
The first thing I’m gonna do when I become a billionaire is to buy some really fun (and expensive) cars, pay whatever it would cost to shut down SAN for a day, and tear around the runway and taxiways at full send.
Frontier Airlines take off San Diego
Those of you who have already watched my video of this flight will know how eerily quiet this part was. I think the NEO’s look amazing, but the buzzsaw sound of the previous generation is the best aircraft sound ever.
 Frontier Airlines Flo flamingo
Flo the Flamingo not looking happy at all out there on the winglet. That’s what four-hour delays do to Flamingos!
Frontier Airlines A320neo take off San Diego
I’ll bet they didn’t even hear us down there. This thing was so quiet!
Taking off San Diego airport Frontier Airlines
I never noticed it before, but it looks as if those two hotels (at the tip of the wing and at the top right corner of the pic) have really good views of the airport. If you’re an AvGeek headed to San Diego, it might be worth checking out!
 Frontier Airlines A320neo engine close up
There we go. It didn’t take long to slice through the clouds, so it’s nice to finally get a good look inside that big honkin’ engine.
Flying above the clouds
This was supposed to be a really nice view of San Diego, but Mother Nature wasn’t giving us much this afternoon. San Diego is down there under those clouds looking good, I promise you that!

The food

Since Frontier Airlines is an ultra low cost carrier, everything comes at a price. And since I wasn’t feeling like spending any money on this 2 1/2 hour flight Austin, there really isn’t much to show and say about the experience. Water in plastic cups was complementary, but everything else in the menu (which was quite extensive I might add) came at a hefty cost so I didn’t see any of it.

Frontier Airlines food for purchase menu
I wonder how many people on this massively delayed flight took advantage of the “Make it a Double” special and saved $1.99 on their favorite beverage?

Sitting back, relaxing, and enjoying the (delayed) flight

 Frontier Airlines a320neo interior
I thought it was mandatory for all ultra low cost carriers to plaster bulkhead walls with large and obnoxious logos to remind you what airline you’re flying on? While I admit that I’m being somewhat sarcastic here, part of me does feel disappointed that they left the bulkheads so bare and clean. Not even a simple Frontier Airlines logo? Come on guys – VivaAerobus has got you beat in this area big time!
Flying over Arizona desert
Flo must have been freaking out at this point – Flamingos and dry desert landscapes don’t mix all that well, so I don’t blame her a bit.

I spent the entire duration of the two and a half hour flight to Austin pinned to the window thanks to the absolutely gargantuan guy sitting next to me, who also happened to be fidgety as hell and wouldn’t stop moving around trying to get comfortable. He was a really nice guy, but he just wouldn’t stop fidgeting, which made me uncomfortable trying to get pictures and videos for this trip report.

 Frontier Airlines A320neo cabin
With his head in his lap, I took advantage of the situation and nabbed this quick pic of the other side of the cabin. You’ve got to be sneaky when trip-reporting, and willing to pounce on every photo opportunity given to you!

Those of you who don’t take pictures and videos in such confined spaces with so many other people around have no idea how awkward it is. Especially on flights – I can only imagine what most people who have no interest in travel or aviation think of people like me who are trying to get content for a blog and YouTube channel! 

I guess it would be like sitting next to someone at McDonalds who takes a picture of their Big Mac after every bite. I would definitely raise an eyebrow at that – but then again, I’m sure there are people out there with fast food blogs who think that sort of thing is completely normal…

SANspotter selfie Frontier Airlines
Would you believe that I was actually playing Angry Birds to kill some time? It was the first time that I’ve played in years, and at first I had no idea what suddenly gave me the craving. But then it dawned on me: It had to have been Flo! Somehow the sight of a pink Flamingo on the winglet every time I looked out the window made me feel like hurling birds at things. Weird.
Frontier Airlines wing desert southwest
I forgot how bad I was at Angry Birds. That damn Flamingo…

The arrival into Austin

The weather was absolutely perfect all the way across the desert southwest this afternoon, and it wasn’t until we started the descent into Austin when some really gnarly looking thunderheads started popping up to the north. The pilot said that the weather conditions in Austin were completely clear and beautiful (though really hot), so I was happy just to enjoy the view as we dodged around some of those massive clouds and zipped down into Austin Bergstrom Airport.

Texas storm clouds
Yikes! I haven’t seen storm clouds like that in years, and quite frankly I was in no mood to test the storm-worthiness of an A320neo. It’s ok to go around guys – we’re already delayed so a few more minutes won’t hurt!
Inside Frontier Airlines A320neo
Looks as if most of them were completely oblivious to the fact that Mother Nature was brewing up something nasty off our port wing. I’m not going to tell them though – ignorance is bliss, right?
Flying into Austin Texas
Thankfully the skies cleared the closer we got Austin and it was shaping up to be a beautiful evening out there for the approach.
Approach and landing into Austin airport
Howdy from Texas y’all! (I didn’t even know that I spoke Texan until I wrote this caption).
Sunset Austin airport
A bit late, yes, but this is my favorite time to fly anyway so it’s all good.

Some of the other passengers started getting feisty as we were pulling up to the gate, as it seemed as if many of them had onward flight connections and were in grave danger of missing them completely. There was a lot of anxiety in those final moments with everyone trying to get their bags as quickly as possible so they could run to their next gate, so I just held back a bit and let the really aggressive ones go first before I dared setting my foot into the aisle.

Frontier Airlines arrival into Austin
It didn’t look as if there were very many others who shared my love of sunset flying, however. I heard a lot more “get me the **** off this plane” comments than I did “**** it’s good to be in Austin!” declarations as we waited for the boarding door to open.
Really long jet bridge Austin airport
And finally, to end this trip report with a bang, I present to you a picture of the world’s longest jet bridge! Turns out that there was some construction going on here at AUS, which resulted in the fabrication of this temporary jet bridge (which was about five times as long as any other that I’ve ever seen in my life). I couldn’t even see the end!

That massive delay out of San Diego this afternoon wasn’t really the best way to get me reacquainted with this fun and quirky little airline, but once on the ground in Austin and thinking back on the entire experience, I can honestly say that it was a really good flight. Mostly. 

The important thing is that I still think that Frontier Airlines is good. Not amazing, or even good enough to give Delta a run for their money, but they are certainly a decent option. 

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