Flying with Frontier to SFO

I was flying with Frontier a few weeks ago on a weekend getaway to SFO. I came in late Thursday night on a flight that I almost didn’t make based on a Low-Cost Carrier (Frontier) process nightmare.

Flying with Frontier - a brave choice

Flying with Frontier – a brave choice

It all began was some DEN ineptitude, which is quite unusual (DEN one of my favorite airports and featured in the tripchi airport app). I made it all the way to the front of the abnormally long security line at DEN (at 10PM), only to be told that my boarding pass that I (just like many times before) printed on the high-quality work printer cannot be read (the bar-code was failing), and that I needed to go to the Frontier check-in desk and get a printed ticket. OMG! At this point, I only had 45 minutes to make the flight until the gate closed and nearly freaked out, took a breath, got the “yellow ticket” that could allow me to get to the front of the security line again, and hustled to the Frontier ticketing counter which was at the opposite end of the airport and upstairs from the only working security line that I had found. I was already regretting my decision of flying with Frontier.

Side note: only one security line was in service, and I had to walk all the way to the other end of the Jeppeson Main Terminal to the only operational security line, since the security area I chose in the first place had no notifications of being closed until I got half-way to the end of the security area. Airport suggestion: put signs in as you enter the Jeppeson Terminal from the ticketing/baggage claim areas telling you which lines are open and which are closed and how to get to the one(s) that are open.

So after I made a beeline for the Frontier ticketing counter (now with only 30 minutes left until the gate closed for my flight), I immediately went to a kiosk to try to re-print my boarding pass – another regrettable decision on top of the one of flying with Frontier in the first place. Of course, I got an error which said the ticket was not printable and to see an attendant. There was a long ling to see an attendant. I started to panic. I asked one of the Frontier line attendants if there was any way I could go to the front of the line because I was going to miss my flight. She said no, and that I would have to work it out with the other passengers in the line. Luckily, everyone was really cool and let me go ahead, but I found it dumb that there was no protocol for this sort of thing and that seemingly it was a free for all. One asshole could have derailed the entire expedition.

When I finally made it to a ticketing agent, I told her what happened and she basically said “Oh, that sucks. Next time, don’t print it at home. This happens a lot.” I kept my cool but inside I was seething. They tell you to check-in and print it at home to save time and money (as well as their time and money), but then when you do, it doesn’t work. At least, unlike Spirit, Frontier doesn’t charge you to print your boarding pass from a kiosk at the airport. The only thing good I can say about flying with Frontier is that at least the line attendant was friendly, despite the fact she completely blamed my printer and the TSA security system (and of course Frontier was blame-less).

With boarding pass in hand I power walked all the way across the airport, downstairs, and back to the only functional security line. I had the “front of the line pass” but didn’t really need it because I basically just went through the priority line since nobody was attending the line choices at all. I got to the front but then there was still a queue 10 deep to show your ID to the TSA agent. I chose a line, and again pleaded people to allow me to go to the front. Everyone was cool.

I made it through the ID check, and then again had to wait 10 people deep for the actual shoes-off laptops-out security line. I again asked people if I could skip to the front, and they let me. I made it through quickly, and ultimately made it to my gate with 10 minutes to spare, soaked in sweat. We boarded the plane, and then proceeded to sit on the tarmac for an hour when they de-iced the plane. Murphy’s Law, and here’s to flying with Frontier.

End rant. Feel free to leave your comments if you’ve had a similar situation – I’d be interested to hear how often this actually happens.

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Chandra is passionate about travel and technology....

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