Frontier Airlines A319 economy is (maybe) worse than you thought

Frontier Airlines A319 economy is (maybe) worse than you thought

I hate to admit it, but doing a full review of the Frontier Airlines A319 economy experience has been on my to-do list for longer than I care to admit. I’m a glutton for punishment, I know, so I booked the reservations and hoped for the best.

Arriving in Denver as early as possible was important because of how short this trip was going to be, and I wanted to make sure that I’d have plenty of time on the ground to relax and explore Colorado a bit.

Therefore, I was a bit disappointed to discover to find that the earliest flight on Frontier out of San Diego was 9:55am. Seriously? I haven’t been following this airline all that closely over the years, but I seem to recall that they had a much more robust schedule in and out of San Diego in years past. What the heck happened?

F9 556
San Diego, CA (SAN) – Denver, CO (DEN)
Saturday, June 20 2015
Aircraft: A319
Seat: 19A (economy)

Frontier A319 side view illustration
Frontier Airlines A319 N923FR illustration by Norebbo
san diego to denver route map
Today’s route to Denver as F9 556

The video

I decided that I wanted to try shooting a video trip report along with the pictures and words you are looking at here, so it did take a bit of work to get the shots I needed. It ended up taking less time than I thought (thankfully) and I had 30 minutes to spare after it was all said and done.

Here is the video portion of this trip:

For those of you who prefer to read and look at pictures instead, that content is below.

My full review of Frontier Airlines A319 economy class from San Diego to Denver

I was in the car and on the way down to the airport slightly before 8am, and to be honest, I would have left earlier if it weren’t for the fact that Frontier now departs out of terminal 1 here at SAN. I’m a total airplane and airport nerd, and I actually enjoy the ambiance of a nice airport. But…I hate terminal 1. It’s small, super cramped, and there’s nothing to do but sit and wait once past the security checkpoint. I try not to spend any longer in there than necessary, and I timed it pretty well this particular morning.

Arrival at Terminal 1 at the San Diego International Airport

san diego airport terminal 1 bridge
Typical June Gloom in full effect as I walked into SAN this morning
standing outside terminal 1 at SAN curbside
I’m not much of a fan of terminal 1 here at SAN, but they do keep it looking nice on the outside
inside terminal 1 san diego airport
Although they’ve tried to keep things looking modern and up to date, terminal 1 is definitely showing it’s age
Frontier Airlines check in counter san diego airport terminal 1
The Frontier Airlines check in counter is all alone here at SAN. Plenty of room to spread out if they need the space!
circle of death terminal 1 san diego airport
Inside terminal 1 at SAN. Welcome to the Circle of Death.
frontier airlines flight information board san diego airport
Information board showing the details of the flight. On time departures are always a good thing.
N923FR frontier airlines gate 12 san diego
There she is – N923FR fresh in from Denver, and just about ready to go back.

The boarding process for flight number 556 to Denver

It was total chaos around gate 12 as they started the boarding process, but I had a zone 1 boarding pass and I took full advantage of that in order to escape the crowds. Speaking of boarding passes, they actually print “carry on bag” right on the stub if you happened to purchase the right to a carry on bag (which costs $30, by the way).

I thought that was a pretty good idea, because that way, it’s easy for the gate agents to know who should and shouldn’t have a bag with them. I wonder how many people try to slip one by them? Since I boarded early, I didn’t get to see anyone get called out.

gate 12 san diego airport terminal 1
Boarding at gate 12
frontier airlines boarding pass
Boarding pass for the flight to DEN today

My first impressions of Frontier Airlines A319 economy class seats

The interior of this A319 was pretty much what I expected a Frontier Airlines airplane to look like. Green seats! I’ll admit that it actually looked pretty good, and much more interesting than the gray and blue that all the other airlines seem to use.

frontier airlines green leather seats
The green leather seats (19A, B, and C) on this A319. Throw up in your mouth a little all you want, but Frontier basic economy seats got much worse as they transitioned two and ultra low cost carrier business model. Check out my review of the Frontier A321 basic economy experience to see what I mean.
frontier airlines a319 seat spacing
Seat pitch wasn’t as tight as I thought it would be

Seat pitch was surprisingly normal. Frontier Airlines is proudly considered to be an ultra low cost carrier, so I was expecting the worst here. It didn’t feel any tighter than what I would experience on any of the legacy carriers, so that was a big plus right off the bat. Much better than what I recently experienced in Spirit Airlines A319 basic economy.

frontier airlines a319 seat leg room
Leg room on this A319. Not too shabby (the leg room, not my knees).
frontier airlines A319 seat back detail
These aren’t even slim line seats either. I was expecting the seats to be paper-thin actually, so I was pleasantly surprised.
tiny video screen ptv frontier airlines a319
Close up of the tiny PTV – similar to what jetBlue uses.
frontier airlines A319 audio and video controls
Arm rest with basic audio and channel controls

It was a full flight over to Denver today, but they managed to get this A319 loaded and pushed back right on time. That made me happy, as any sort of delay would have likely ruined my already tightly-scheduled day. Thank you Frontier! The bummer was that there were a lot of families with small children on this flight so peace and quiet was not happening.

frontier airlines aircraft interior branding
All buttoned-up and ready to go. And just in case you forgot which airline you are flying, Frontier makes it easy for you to remember with big logos on the forward bulkhead and overhead bins.

The departure out of San Diego

terminal 1 gate 12 push back san diego airport
Pushing back from gate 12 / terminal 1

Since I knew to expect nothing in terms of entertainment and refreshments in flight (everything costs money on these low cost carriers), I took the time to just sit and do nothing for the first time in a long time. A little bit of napping, mixed with a bit of picture and video taking, and it ended up being a really nice ride over to Denver that went by in a blink of an eye. For those of you who prefer me to be a bit more exact in my explanations, flight time was a very short one hour and 52 minutes. I’m not sure, but I think that might have been my quickest flight ever to Denver out of San Diego.

frontier airlines Rudy the raccoon N923FR winglet
Close up of “Rudy” the raccoon on the winglet shortly after departure from SAN
a319 cruise altitude american southwest
Cruising high above the desert southwest

The food (sucked)

frontier airlines menu cover
Front cover of the Frontier Airlines in-flight menu
frontier airlines Fly Bar menu back cover
Back cover
frontier airlines fly bar menu inside
Interior spread 1. This Fly Bar menu is actually quite diverse, if not a bit pricey.
frontier airlines alcohol menu
Thirsty? Frontier has got you covered.

The arrival into Denver

As was expected this time of year, the descent and approach into DEN was very bumpy. Skimming over the Rocky Mountains and dropping down into the flat plains surrounding Denver is always beautiful, but I know that the turbulence around these parts can get pretty scary at times with the winds whipping up and over the mountain ranges. It wasn’t the bumpiest approach I’ve ever experienced at DEN, but we were getting pushed around pretty good all the way down.

descending over the rocky mountains into denver
Starting our descent over the Rocky mountains
approaching denver international airport
Past most of the rough air now as we glide down into DEN

We hit 34L right on time under beautiful clear skies, and I got off that flight thinking how much I preferred the standard seats of Frontier over the sardine can-like experience of the Spirit Airlines Standard seat. No, they are nowhere near as roomy as the Frontier A319 Stretch seats (the seats at the front of the plane). But they’re good enough for short(ish) flight such as this IMHO.

In summary, I quite enjoyed my first ever flight on this airline. Frontier Airlines is pretty good in my opinion, though it is a fairly bare-bones experience (and it’ll definitely feel that way if the only other airlines you’re used to are behemoths such as Delta or United).

denver airport terminal A interior
Welcome to terminal A at DEN!
fabric terminal denver airport
Walking out into the main arrivals hall at DEN is very impressive with those huge white fabric tarps

Comments (2)

  1. Jude

    February 11, 2023
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      February 11, 2023

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