This is a headline that I never thought I’d write but here we are. I needed to choose a flight to get from Orlando to Austin. There used to be several non-stop flights between the two cities but airline schedules change and I was left with a set of options that would not have been my first choices. When you need to get from point A to point B, it becomes necessary to choose from the options you have.
The two options I had were:
- A non-stop flight on Frontier with excellent flight times
- Flights on American connecting either in Charlotte or Dallas
Other airlines such as Spirit and JetBlue had non-stop flights but the times were terrible and Delta’s prices for connecting flights were way too high. So I had to decide between Frontier or American.
Pros for taking Frontier:
- Non-stop flight
- Perfect flight times
- Least expensive fare
Cons for taking Frontier:
- Would have to pay for checked bag & carry-on for this trip
- Bad reputation for canceling flights
- Not much help during IRROPS (Irregular Operations like weather delays)
For me, all of the cons are already in the equation when I consider booking a Frontier flight. I add in the price of the extras when comparing prices with other airlines and I have enough confidence that if things go totally sideways, I’ll be able to figure out some way to get to where we’re going.
Pros for taking American:
- We each have $400 in vouchers from our voluntary bump our last flight. Free is always a big pro in my book
- Larger route network means more options in case of delays
- Free checked bag and preferred boarding from having American co-brand credit card
Cons for taking American:
- Connecting flight means longer travel time to destination
- Our ongoing problems with the overly aggressive American gate agents saying our bags are too large to fit in the overhead
- To get a good onboard experience, we would need to pay for the better seats
and the most important downside to booking American
- The lack of reliability of their flights possibly due to the ongoing labor dispute with their mechanics’ union.
The first three cons are well known to us and we could give them value in our head when making a decision. Having a free flight voucher burning a hole in my pocket and finding a possible use for it was a huge draw to booking with American.
However, the ongoing problem with American and the delays and cancellations they’ve been suffering over the past few months made me pick flying with Frontier over them.
I can hear the cries about how horrible Frontier is and horror stories about how they strand passengers due to the canceled flights. I know this. But Frontier isn’t the only airline to cancel flights and strand passengers. All airlines do it. In fact, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal, for the month of June American canceled a larger percentage of their flights than Frontier and double or more that of Southwest and Spirit.
- American: 4%
- Frontier: 2.56%
- Southwest: 2.02%
- Spirit: 1.69%
- Alaska: 0.83%
- United: 0.63%
- Allegiant: 0.55%
- JetBlue: 0.51%
- Delta 0.22%
Source: masFlight, the flight-data analytics unit of Global Eagle
It’s not just cancellations with American, their planes also get delayed a lot. Despite their drive for planes to leave on-time, often called “D-0”, for the summer travel season they have only been hovering around 60% with that number.
So while Frontier’s flight was timed better for us and lacked a connection, there was a significant appeal to the American flight (IT WOULD HAVE BEEN FREE!)
At this point, even a free flight wasn’t enough to make me willingly want to fly on American. I feel that I have a better chance of getting to my destination on Frontier than if we flew American, and that’s saying something. I realize that Frontier is far from the best in this area. Just in case, I am seriously thinking about getting the Freebird insurance that Shawn from Miles to Memories wrote about. $19 dollars to protect me against a flight delay or cancellation might just be worth it.
Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love if you decided to hang around and clicked the button on the top (if you’re on your computer) or the bottom (if you’re on your phone/tablet) of this page to follow our blog and get emailed notifications of when we post (it’s usually just two or three times a day). Or maybe you’d like to join our Facebook group, where we talk and ask questions about travel (including Disney parks), creative ways to earn frequent flyer miles and hotel points, how to save money on or for your trips, get access to travel articles you may not see otherwise, etc. Whether you’ve read our posts before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!
This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary