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3 things I hope will stick around with the merged Frontier, Spirit

Feb. 08, 2022
5 min read
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If things go according to plan, there’s going to be one giant ultra-low-cost airline in the U.S. by this time next year.

Frontier and Spirit Airlines, two of the nation’s largest budget carriers, plan to merge — and with it comes two brands built on low fares and lots of ancillary fees.

While the airlines are more similar than they are different, we don’t yet know how the carriers plan to integrate. Will they combine to form one airline or will they continue to operate independently? If the former, which brand will survive — or will there be an entirely new brand?

For now, we have more questions than answers. But that isn’t stopping us from dreaming about aspects of each carrier that should hopefully survive the merger.

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Big Front Seats

One of the best deals in travel has historically been Spirit’s Big Front Seats — and hopefully, they'll survive the merger.

These oversized seats resemble the recliners that you typically find in domestic first-class cabins on the major U.S. airlines, including American, Delta and United.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

They’re 18.5 inches wide and sport an oversized armrest and tray table, making for a much more comfortable inflight experience.

Plus, with a 2-2 configuration, there’s no middle seat to worry about.

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While the seats look like first-class recliners in many ways, they’re unique in that they’re usually priced much more affordably than traditional first class – though it’s worth noting that the seats don’t come with any service enhancements.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

On some routes, the upcharge can be as low as $50 — a great deal, especially considering that the major U.S. airlines typically charge the same amount for extra-legroom coach seats.

If all you’re after is an oversized, comfortable seat, then the Big Front Seat can’t be beat.

While Spirit has outfitted its fleet with at least two rows of the Big Front Seat, Frontier doesn’t offer a comparable product.

The most comfortable seat on Frontier is perhaps at the exit row, which is often just a few dollars cheaper than the Big Front Seat upgrade.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Hopefully, the combined airline decides to keep — and expand — the Big Front Seat to all of its planes.

Wi-Fi internet access

As ultra-low-cost carriers, neither Frontier nor Spirit has invested significantly in the onboard experience.

That’s been changing in recent years as Spirit is in the process of installing satellite internet radomes on the tops of its jets.

To date, the airline has equipped nearly 120 of its 175 Airbus narrowbodies, giving flyers a nearly 70% chance of snagging a plane with Wi-Fi access.

Better yet, Spirit’s Wi-Fi pricing is one of the most reasonable in the sky, starting at just $1 for basic access, and $3 for streaming capabilities. (Of course, free would be better, but this is Spirit after all.)

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

While the airline has run into some performance issues with its internet provider, the service works most of the time.

Until Spirit hits fleetwide completion, it’s impossible to know if your flight will feature Wi-Fi. For someone who needs to stay connected during the week, that’s a non-starter for me.

Hopefully, Frontier and Spirit will together see the value in offering Wi-Fi and invest in outfitting both fleets with access.

Unless the airlines either install internet access fleetwide or dedicate Wi-Fi-enabled planes to certain routes, it’ll be hard to convince those who need to stay connected to take to the skies with the combined airline.

Animal-themed tails

The airlines’ branding teams have their work cut out for them.

Frontier and Spirit have totally different liveries and color schemes, so it’ll be interesting to see what they come up with.

That said, as an animal and nature lover, I’m partial to Frontier’s tail designs, which include beautiful portraits of different animals.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

My personal favorite is the bottlenose dolphin painted on the tail of Frontier’s nearly 5-year-old Airbus A320neo registered N311FR.

Of course, everyone will have their own opinion, but I’m hopeful that the themed-tails stick around.

Bottom line

Frontier and Spirit Airlines are merging to create the nation’s largest ultra-low-cost carrier.

While neither airline is known for offering an award-winning passenger experience, Spirit has historically had the advantage.

Between the airline’s Big Front Seats and its commitment to rolling out fleetwide Wi-Fi, the Spirit experience can actually be more comfortable than you might expect.

What’s next is anyone’s guess, but hopefully, the merged carrier will draw from Spirit’s investment in the onboard experience.

Featured image by Spirit's Big Front Seat offers both extra legroom and a surprising amount of comfort.(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

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  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees