Frontier Airlines A321 basic economy: not that bad if you only fly it for the lols

Frontier Airlines A321 basic economy: not that bad if you only fly it for the lols

You know what I like best about flying in the US? We have choices. If being spoiled rotten in a lie-flat business class seat is what you want, there are plenty of options to choose from.

If spending as little money as possible is the goal (comfort be damned), we have several ultra low-cost airlines that are always desperate to take what little cash you’re willing to fork over.

I chose the ‘cheapskate’ method for recent flight from Orlando to Denver. Yep, I survived 3.5 hours in a Frontier Airlines A321 basic economy seat, and I lived to tell the tale.

It all began one scorchingly humid morning on Florida’s Central Coast…

Orlando, FL (MCO) – Denver, CO (DEN)
Friday, April 5, 2024
Aircraft: A321-211
Registration: N718FR
Duration: 3 hours 33 minutes
Seat: 9F (basic economy)

Frontier Airlines A321 (N718FR) side view
Frontier Airlines A321 (N718FR) side view illustration by
f92801 flight track
Our route from Orlando to Denver today as F92801.

My full review of Frontier Airlines A321 standard (basic) economy from Orlando to Denver

First things first: this was supposed to be a review of the Frontier A321neo Stretch Seat (the day prior). Unfortunately, Frontier went all ‘Frontier’ on me and delayed my 1:25 PM flight out of MCO to 9:30 PM. That would’ve put me into Denver too late to catch a connection to San Diego, so I had to scramble to find an alternate flight.

A review of Frontier Airlines A321 economy it is then. One day later than I had planned. Shoutout to ma and pa for letting me stay an extra night at the Casa de Leazenby.

Arrival at MCO

It’s true. Orlando International Airport (MCO) looks the same on Thursday as it does on Friday. In other words, I didn’t miss all that much by delaying my trip by one day.

Also, I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate myself for timing my arrival pretty much perfectly. By the time I got through the security checkpoint, there was a little less than an hour to go before boarding was scheduled to begin. #chefskiss

Orlando airport central terminal atrium
I can’t think of many other airports that are so iconic (and recognizable from this very spot). Anyone who clicked on this trip report without even reading the title could easily look at this picture and say “yup, that MF’er is in Orlando.”
Orlando airport main terminal shops and restaurants
One of the things I like most about MCO is how deceptively “easy” it seems at first. I just walked in the place and it already seems like I’m in the gate area, doesn’t it?
Orlando airport tram
Not so fast, buckaroo! Getting to the actual departure gates requires a ride on a very Disney World-esque tram. I like trains, so I’m cool with this.
Orlando airport flight information display
I will admit that I was wincing a bit as I walked up to the flight information display to check on the status of my flight. You’ve gotta be ready for anything when flying Frontier!

The boarding process for F92801 to Denver

Holy moly. The extreme far ends of Terminal A at MCO are tight enough when there is only one flight in the process of boarding, but it descends into total chaos when they attempt multiple boardings at once.

The good news: the boarding process started exactly on time. The bad news: I couldn’t even find a path to the boarding pass the scanner that wouldn’t have left me badly mutilated.

Crowded terminal Orlando airport
Welp. My flight to Denver is boarding up ahead on the right. Unfortunately, access to it is completely blocked by passengers trying to board two flights (simultaneously) straight ahead and to the left. Is this why people hate flying so much? I think this is why people hate flying so much.
Gate 26 Orlando airport
Boarding started well over 5 minutes ago, but I’m gonna hold back and wait for an opening. Ain’t no flight good enough to get my eyes poked out trying to get to it!
Frontier airlines zone 1 mobile boarding pass Orlando to Denver
So much for the priority boarding that came with my Zone 1 credentials. But hey – I still have my eyeballs.
SANspotter walking down gate 26 jet bridge Orlando airport
“Ooh, wait ’till they hear about what I have to say about this in the review!” The problem is, I can’t quite remember what I was gonna say.
Frontier Airlines A321 parked at gate 26 Orlando airport
If there still any confusion as to what airline I’m flying today, this pic ought to clear things up. Rontier Airlines FTW.
Frontier Airlines A321 forward boarding door
Soaking up my last few moments of being able to say that I would never stoop so low as to fly Frontier Airlines (in basic economy) all the way across the country. Nothing lasts forever I guess…
Cali the mountain lion poster frontier Airlines A321 N718FR
“Today, you’re flying with Cali the mountain lion.” Who’s to say that Cali isn’t flying with me? Works either way I think.
Frontier Airlines A321 stretch seats
The first thing you’ll notice upon stopping onboard the A321 is the fancy pants (diamond stitched) “Stretch” seats. Pay no attention to these. I’m going deeper…
Frontier Airlines A321 aisle
What mountain lion? All I see is tiny a** seats.

The seats

So yeah. There are two types of seats on the Frontier Airlines A321: the Stretch seats, and the standard seats. The Stretch seats are essentially the standard seats with fancier seat coverings and a little more legroom. The standard seats straight up suck. Legroom is abysmal, padding is nonexistent, and they look about as welcoming as a park bench way out in the sketchy side of town.

Frontier Airlines A321 row 9 seats
Arrival at row 9. I’m not liking how tight this looks, but I’m really liking that these seats are directly ahead of the exit row. Not having an angry little kid kicking my seat all the way to Denver (because he’s mad about leaving Disney World) is gonna be awesome.
Frontier Airlines A321 row 9
Ain’t no diamond stitching back here in the cheap seats. I guess I’m just happy to be feeling any padding at all.
Frontier Airlines A321 economy leg room
Warning: a little manspread will be required to make this somewhat tolerable if you’re over 5′-10″.
Frontier Airlines A321 economy seat backs
Just in case there’s any confusion as to how basic of an experience this is. Weep with me as you read my Frontier Airlines A319 economy review from 2015, because, well… this airline has changed a lot since then.
Frontier Airlines A321 economy armrests
Don’t let that heart shaped opening on my sleeve fool you. I’m not loving these tiny armrests.
SANspotter sitting in Frontier Airlines A321 economy
Honestly though? I actually quite like flying these ultra low-cost airlines from time to time. This may not be all that comfortable, but it’s a nice change of pace from my usual (stuffy) US domestic first class stuff.
Frontier Airlines A321 economy passengers
Speaking of stuffy: yup – we are crammed all up in here real good.

Our departure out of MCO

Wait a sec. Isn’t Frontier Airlines supposed to be bad? How the heck did they manage to push us off the gate one minute early? Not that I was overly excited about it at the time. I was still a little salty about ending up on this A321 (in a basic economy seat) instead of a better seat on the A321neo.

Frontier Airlines A321 economy being refueled at MCO
*glug glug glug* Drink up little buddy. It’s a long way to Denver.
Orlando airport ramp worker for Frontier Airlines
Raccoon vs cat (and the poor ramp worker stuck in the middle of it all). Sounds like a title to a really good book, doesn’t it?
Frontier Airlines A321 lining up for departure MCO airport
“Frontier 2801 line up and wait. But don’t wait long. There’s a pissed off looking raccoon coming up right behind you…”
SANspotter looking out the window of a Frontier Airlines A321
See? It’s that kind of effortless commentary which makes me glad that I didn’t fly something as boring as, say, American Airlines A320 first class today. I struggled hard to come up with entertaining commentary for that experience!
Frontier Airlines A321 departing MCO
Fun fact: if you’re sitting in a window seat, it’s virtually impossible to resist looking for Disney World upon departure from MCO. I do it every time, and I’ve yet to see it. I’m not even sure it exists.
Frontier Airlines A321 climbing out after departing the Orlando airport
It also worth noting that this was the first time (in a long time) that I’ve been on a flight departing MCO in such good weather. My butt cheeks are normally clenched tighter than Fort Knox as we dodge all the thunderstorms in the area.

In-flight entertainment

You read my Frontier Airlines A320neo Stretch seat review, right? Sure, the seats were a little better in that one, but the in-flight entertainment was exactly the same: nonexistent.

Frontier Airlines A321 safety card
If it’s in-flight entertainment you want – you should’ve went with another airline. The safety card is all the reading material you’re gonna get (and it’s not even funny).

Frontier Airlines doesn’t even offer in-flight Wi-Fi. Onboard entertainment is 100% your responsibility. You either come prepared, or you shut up (and suck it up). Then again, drinking might help. Speaking of which…

Food and drinks

If there’s one thing that Frontier Airlines does right, it’s food and drinks. None of it is free of course, but their menu of offerings is impressive for an ultra low-cost airline. Remember my Sun Country 737-800 basic economy experience (and how impressed I was with the menu)? This is kinda like that. But better. Maybe slightly more alcoholic.

Frontier Airlines Fly Bar menu cover 2024
One of the best things about flying Frontier Airlines (even way back here in the cheap seats)? Their Fly Bar menu. The selection of alcohol is impressive – though not unexpected given how desperate they probably are to distract you from the s****y a** seats.
Frontier airlines alcohol menu
I’m not even kidding about the alcohol! As tempting as a “Rocky Mountain high” may be on this flight to Denver today, I think I’m gonna pass on this.
Frontier Airlines non-alcoholic drink menu
Over here is the PG (family friendly) side of the menu. I’m looking at you, Diet Coke.
SANspotter reading menu in frontier airlines A321 economy class
(Presumably looking at the Diet Coke)
Frontier Airlines A321 tray table
You’d think that larger tray tables would tempt people to purchase more items off the menu, wouldn’t you? They have obviously paid no attention to what she said about size (and how it matters).
Drinking Diet Coke in Frontier Airlines A321 economy class
Cheers (and a HUGE thanks) to my seatmate for purchasing my Diet Coke! He spent about $50 on alcohol for himself and his girlfriend, and told the flight attendant to add my Diet Coke to the tab. Super nice guy.
Drinking in Frontier Airlines A321 economy class
Unfortunately, the tray tables can’t contain $30 worth of alcohol all that well. He dumped a full cup of hootch all over his lap when it slipped off the edge of the tray in mild turbulence. That killed the mood here in row 9 real quick.

Seat comfort

Never in all my years of writing airline reviews have I ever paused (‘deer in the headlights’ style) this hard before starting a section describing overall seat comfort. Truthfully? Frontier Airlines basic economy seats suck a**. They are very narrow, rock hard, and the leg room is abysmal. This is about as basic as a gets when it comes to economy class on any airline anywhere in the world.

Crossed legs in Frontier Airlines A321 economy class
Believe it or not, you can actually cross your legs in these seats. Pain level? 6/10.
Looking forward from row 9 Frontier Airlines A321
Imagine riding the bus. (That’s it. That’s the caption.)
SANspotter sleeping in Frontier Airlines A321 economy
Actually, bus seats are far more comfortable than these (no lie). This “fake sleeping” pic isn’t truly representative of what my a** (and lower spine) was feeling at this very moment.
Frontier Airlines A321 winglet Cali the mountain lion
Cali moving in for the kill (now that she knows that I’m incapacitated). This is always her favorite part of the flight, I’m sure.

The descent and landing into Denver

Not only were we able to push off the gate one minute early, we managed to make up five more minutes somewhere along the way. We landed at DEN six minutes early. This was quite beneficial to me considering my sub-one hour connection time to a San Diego bound flight. Yeah, one hour connections are extremely easy in Denver, but it can be a little bit spicy below the 40 minute mark in my experience.

Flying over eastern Colorado
I feel like I’ve used the “that John Denver is full of sh*t” quote in past reviews, but this is tempting me to do it again.
Flying over the plains of Colorado
Flat as a pancake. How unfortunate would it have been if John (during his drive out from West Virginia), got to this point and said “F this – I’m going home.”
Landing at Denver international Airport in a Frontier Airlines A321
Can someone please remind me to never wear a bright orange shirt when doing airline reviews? You almost can’t even see our approach and landing into DEN through all that glare. I’m sorry!
Taxi to gate at DEN in a Frontier Airlines A321
No you guys, I didn’t strip naked before taking pics of our taxi into Concourse A. The color of your shirt doesn’t really matter all that much as long as you’re not looking directly into the sun. #themoreyouknow
Frontier Airlines A321neo Emmitt the Golden Cheeked Warbler parked at the gate Denver international airport
Looks like we’re parking next to Emmitt the Golden-Cheeked Warbler today. Another snack for Cali!
Retrieving bag from under seat storage space Frontier Airlines A321
Not gonna lie – I’m ready to make like a Warbler and fly the hell off this airplane.
Frontier Airlines A321 passengers waiting to deplane
Seems as if everyone else has the same idea. You know what though? We did it. We all survived a not-so-short flight on Frontier freaking Airlines (and lived to tell the tale).
Walking off of a Frontier Airlines A321
“tweet tweet tweet!” Unfortunately, I’m flying my way straight into Frontier A320 basic economy for the ride home to San Diego…

Pros and cons of the Frontier A321 economy experience

If made it this deep into the review, I can only assume that you’re seriously thinking about giving this a try. Good for you. That takes courage, and one heck of a keen sense of adventure.

My only recommendation is that you avoid at all costs if it’s not all that much cheaper than a seat on a legacy carrier (Delta, United, American, etc). At least on the other airlines, you’ll have more options in the event of a canceled or delayed flight.


  • At least it’s cheap. Most of the time.
  • You can drink like a sailor on shore leave (as long as you bring a valid credit card).
  • The planes are pretty clean and well-maintained most of the time. I’ve definitely seen worse.


  • There are no power outlets (USB or 110v) in these seats. Which is fine I guess, because…
  • There is no flight entertainment.
  • The seats are too hard to be tolerable for any flight over two hours in my opinion.

Comments (8)

  1. Nicholas Elzi

    April 28, 2024
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      April 28, 2024
  2. Stuart in GA

    May 8, 2024
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      May 8, 2024
  3. Quinn

    May 9, 2024
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      May 9, 2024
  4. Peter

    May 10, 2024
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      May 11, 2024

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