Comparing inflight service on Allegiant, Frontier and Spirit in the age of coronavirus
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Flying during the age of the global pandemic isn’t going to resemble what it looked like before March of this year.
Almost every airline around the world now requires face coverings to be worn inflight. Many U.S. airlines are proactively blocking middle seats, and some are even capping the capacity of their planes to promote safety and social distancing.
Additionally, inflight service protocols have been modified across the board, so your inflight experience is going to vary widely based on what carrier you choose. I’ve already compared premium transcon flights in the age of coronavirus, so now let’s take a look at how the experience differs across America’s ultra-low-cost carriers.
For more travel tips and news, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Allegiant Air inflight service
The Las Vegas-based carrier isn’t changing much of its inflight service procedure. All customers will receive a complimentary health and safety kit upon boarding, which includes a single-use face mask, disposable gloves and two sanitizing wipes.
During the flight, there’s now just one service through the aisle to minimize crew and passenger interactions. Flight attendants wear gloves during inflight service and all food and beverage items are pre-packaged and factory sealed when served.
Unlike some of the larger, full-service U.S. airlines, Allegiant isn’t changing the food and beverage selection available for purchase on most routes. Instead, it’s debuting a fully digital menu through the Allegiant mobile app (and it can be viewed here).
Four destinations — Las Vegas, NV (LAS), Orlando, FL (SFB), Tampa/St. Pete, FL (PIE) and Punta Gorda, FL (PGD) — will see a new test menu, including some lower-priced individual snacks, and refreshing alcoholic drinks like a White Claw Hard Seltzer or Cutwater Tiki Rum Mai Tai.
Frontier Airlines inflight service
Frontier is actively reducing crew and passenger interactions, and that’s going to come at the expense of keeping you well fed or hydrated. According to a spokesperson for the airline, “to limit touchpoints between passengers and crew, at this time we are only offering bottled water for sale. No food items or beverages other than bottled water are currently available.”
Water will set you back $2.99 for a 16.9-ounce bottle. And if you’re flying with Frontier, be sure to stock up on some nosh before boarding your flight.
Spirit Airlines inflight service
Spirit’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage contains just the bare essentials.
You will be required to wear a mask when flying on the biggest low-fare airline in the U.S., but there’s nothing listed about the inflight service. We repeatedly reached out to the airline to ask for more details about any modifications, but haven’t heard back.
Fortunately, TPG reader Marty was kind enough to share his recent experience flying between Las Vegas and Dallas (DFW). There were no printed inflight menus, and passengers were asked to let the flight attendants know what they wanted to purchase.
The crew was happy to show their iPad that contained a digital version of the menu. Most food and drinks were stocked, though some had run out by the time the crew got to Marty’s row.
If you’re trying to narrow down your choice of preferred low-cost carrier, you may want to consider how each is handling food and beverage service during the pandemic.
Allegiant and Spirit have kept their menus intact, and Frontier has dropped everything but water. All items are individually wrapped and sealed, so you need not worry about cross-contamination.
Nonetheless, as TPG’s Brian Kelly recently remarked about his United flight from Newark to Los Angeles, you should definitely stock up on snacks and drinks before boarding a flight during the coronavirus pandemic.
Featured photo: Aboard Frontier Airlines, by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.