Wednesday, April 8, 2015

#180 He Likes Extra Leg Room

I don't know how we managed it, but on our final day in the lovely city of Chicago we ate an amazingly satisfying hotel breakfast, grabbed some coffee, shopped an entire outlet mall, went to lunch, ate cupcakes, and drove to the airport.

It was one wild crazy day.

Joel tried a few different methods of getting us to stay. 

This post, however, will not be dedicated to the perfect hamburgers we enjoyed for lunch or the outlet mall with the most efficient parking garage and interesting art within its walls. Among the eyebrow raisers was this guy hanging on the ceiling:


Instead I'm going to educate you on my first ever experience with Frontier Airlines. At first, I thought it didn't warrant a full blog post. Then we went through baggage claim on our way home and I decided I would most certainly have to give a blow by blow of our experience with this airline.

First. A brief history of my airplane experiences:

The first flight I ever took in my life was when I was 17-years-old for my senior class missions trip to Mexico. My second flight was at 19-years-old to Paris with my grandmother. The third flight of my life was at 21-years-old for my honeymoon to St. Thomas. Since then, I have flown fewer times than I can count on one hand. Hubby, on the other hand, flies often for work. He is even accumulating miles (something my lack of flight could never comprehend) as well as several free hotel stays.

Perhaps the underlying reason for my limited flying is the simple understood matter for flying in general: It isn't cheap.

Yet the desire to travel, to go here, to go there, still persists within.

We did the road trip scene for a little, and we've learned that trips over 10 hours long aren't too much fun. At least, not on the drive back home.

When more than once I was told that there was an airport in my backyard (Trenton) and that I should be flying instead of driving for such lengthy 8-12 hour trips, I decided I needed to look into it.

Until you experience it yourself, you can only hope that the word of others is consistent with the value of the product being recommended. Flying, especially, is something with which you certainly don't want a negative experience because of someone’s lousy recommendation.

I’ve broken this analysis into four different categories which I think most travelers will agree are of the utmost importance:


For this particular trip, tickets elsewhere were starting at $100 more than the tickets we ended up purchasing. We could have gotten our tickets for around $30 cheaper (each!) if we hadn’t opted for extra leg room. Five to seven inches of extra leg room, with seats at the front of the plane, starts at $15 more per seat. If I were you, I would opt for the extra leg room. I haven’t seen that option anywhere else…that is, unless you’re flying first class.

But if you’re flying first class, you probably aren’t worrying about price too much, are you?

Frontier is constantly offering deep discounted tickets running from $39 a flight. The only issue is that you are confined to their flight dates. We left on a Wednesday because that was the only date that Frontier was flying to Chicago.

Boarding Time

No need to arrive several hours before your flight takes off! As long as you are at the airport and parked an hour before your flight you should be fine! The parking lot is fairly large, but if you aren’t a need-to-have-a-close-spot searcher, you’ll be able to find any old spot rather quickly. The walk from the parking lot to the building took us no more than ten minutes.

Since only two flights go out at a time, checking in and checking your luggage are super quick, too. They have machines to check-in with, however, they weren’t working. We stood in line for probably fifteen minutes, checked in, checked our bags, and had less than an hour to wait to board.

*HOWEVER* There were several people in line who played their chances too close to the edge and were too late to check-in for their flight. There are signs everywhere saying that if you are not checked in 45 minutes before your flight takes off they will not board you!

Space on the Plane

Hubby and I only brought book bags onto the plane. We really didn’t want to mess will all that carry-on nonsense of fighting for space. However, it seemed as though there was plenty of space in our overhead area.

Again, the seating was ama-a-a-a-a-zing! The extra leg space spoiled me, and now I’m convinced I will never be able to fly without the same amount of leg room. On our flight to Chicago the plane wasn’t full, so I was also fortunate enough to have an empty seat next to me. The flight back, sadly, I had to share our row with a gentleman who had just had his left forearm tattooed.*

*Note: I was sitting to his left.

This was an even greater testament to their space because I managed to endure the entire flight without bumping up against the man or his loosely bandaged ink.

Customer Service

The flight attendants were all cheery and helpful. They seem more at ease and relaxed than other flight attendants I have been in contact with. The captain of our flight out added a little humor to his announcements, especially when he told us the fine for smoking on a plane was something like $2,000. To which he added, “And let’s be serious, folks, if you had $2,000 lying around you would be flying United today”.

However, our flight home could have used a little better communication from Frontier to its passengers. Hubby and I arrived at the airport extra early since this was a regular airport and not the wonderland that I now consider Trenton-Mercer Airport. We wandered the airport for the hour or so that we had to kill and then found a spot to wait near our gate. The time to board came and passed without any notification that the flight was delayed. The time for the flight to take off came and passed without any notification that the flight was delayed. People began to get antsy. Grown men were walking back and forth in front of the gate, continually asking an off duty Frontier employee sitting near me what he knew about the plane’s tardiness.

This is what confused boredom in an airport looks like.

Then finally, about a half hour after our flight should have taken off, employees for this flight started to show up. It wasn’t until we were on the plane that we learned the flight had been delayed due to the weather of the area the plane had just come from.


Baggage claim at the Trenton-Mercer Airport made me feel like I was living in the 1970s…or some kind universe where we have lost all our technological advances. After getting off the plane (By the way, I forgot to mention, you load and unload the plane outside! Like this is Air Force One or something!), you go into this large garage like building and wait. Then the luggage is tossed onto the ‘belt’ by men outside the garage.


I was convinced this was the way the first airports ever handled baggage claim.

Overall, I’ll definitely fly Frontier again. The tickets are cheap, the seating was amazing, and any negatives were easy enough to endure for savings and comfort.

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