Home Airlines Frontier Investing In Game Changing Way To Load Planes

Frontier Investing In Game Changing Way To Load Planes

by SharonKurheg

Frontier Airlines is out of the running for buying and merging with Spirit. So I guess they’re looking at other forms of growth and development. In just the past few weeks they’ve announced an expansion of service in cities such as:

  • Detroit (daily nonstop to Phoenix)
  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky (also to Phoenix)
  • Cleveland (seasonal nonstop service to Fort Lauderdale)
  • Orlando (to Guadalajara)
  • Atlanta (to the Bahamas, Costa Rica and Jamaica)
  • Los Angeles (to Las Vegas)

They also just finished a flash sale, with major discounts on a million flights for this fall and winter, with some going for just $19.

Perhaps most exciting to those in Colorado and the surrounding area, Frontier is planning to build a new terminal at one of its hubs, Denver International Airport. That was actually announced a few months ago and will increase their presence at DEN from 9 gates on Concourse A to 14 gates at their own terminal. They broke ground last month.

But what’s interesting about the project is their planned lack of boarding bridges. Instead, they’re going to do things “the old-fashioned way,” and embark/disembark their passengers via stairs and/or switchback ramps. That is, of course, cheaper (and less convenient for passengers) than using a bridge. But the airline is also hoping it will decrease their load/unload time, because they would be able to have passengers enter and exit via the front AND the back of the plane.

“The use of ground boarding will cut boarding and deplaning times in half by allowing customers access to aircraft from the front and rear,” said Barry Biffle, the carrier’s chief executive officer.

If the new system works well for them at DEN, it could be a game changer there. Unfortunately, although some airports could make adaptations for Frontier planes so they could use stairs, many couldn’t.

Orlando International Airport, for example, is Frontier’s second busiest airport. The airline has flights to 65 cities from MCO. But according to MCO officials, tropical weather, the child-heavy demographic of Orlando travelers and the lack of wing room amid the airport’s particular layout would make “not” using bridges particularly difficult.

To this, Frontier spokesperson says, “While we do not have any immediate plans to pursue ground boarding at MCO, there are many operational advantages to it and, in general, we are interested in increasing the use of ground boarding at airports within our network.”

So it may not happen in Orlando. But if you fly on Frontier in the not-too-distant future, stairs may be in your future, depending on the airport.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

4 comments

Bob September 9, 2022 - 12:54 pm

Frontier isn’t building a new terminal at DEN, the airport is building them a five gate expansion onto the existing Concourse A-East ground load facility which has nine gates already and is currently used by United while they wait for DEN to complete the long delayed Concourse B-East expansion.

I’m sure some Frontier customers won’t mind the ground loading, but trying to move 200+ customers on and off one of their A321’s in the winter, while its snowing…yeah, thats not going to be fun for anyone.

Reply
DaninMCI September 9, 2022 - 1:46 pm

Southwest has done this for years but mostly SoCal airports where it doesn’t snow like in Denver.

Reply
BC September 10, 2022 - 8:14 pm

Fwiw, Silver Airways already boards their ATRs from the tarmac at MCO.

Reply
Cody Slade September 11, 2022 - 11:02 am

Frontier continues its march to the bottom. Sure won’t be nice boarding in a Denver blizzard.

Reply

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