Frontier Airlines has debuted its first aircraft with new, lighter-weight seats. The airline first revealed the new seats, coming from Recaro, back in December, with the first jet outfitted with these seats due in March of 2021. With this aircraft arriving on time, the airline is excited about the benefits this new seat will offer.
Frontier Airlines debuts new seats
American ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) Frontier Airlines has debuted its first aircraft with new, lighter-weight seats. First revealed back in December, the new seats are 30% lighter than the old seats.
Barry Biffle, CEO of Frontier Airlines, stated the following on the new seats:
“This new aircraft, which is the 105th in our fleet, represents a significant milestone in Frontier’s commitment to being America’s Greenest Airline. We are in continuous pursuit of leading-edge strategies to reduce our environmental footprint and, at the same time, reduce fuel costs, which enables us to pass savings on to consumers in the form of lower fares.”
Frontier advertises that the new seats feature extra comfort. The seat boasts a redesigned armrest with a larger tray table. The airline highlights that these larger tray tables give passengers more options on a flight to use a laptop, rest a book on, or use another personal device.
The seats, however, are missing a few key components that some travelers have come to adore on aircraft. The seats do not feature personal power outlets, nor is there a dedicated device holder, so that tray table will come in handy for passengers watching entertainment on their own device. But, make sure that you bring your devices fully-charged or else come with plenty of extra battery packs.
Like other lightweight seats, this seat features a little less padding than others, which may make it a little more uncomfortable on longer routes. However, seats like this are pretty common on ULCC aircraft in the US and around the world. Even some full-service carriers are putting similar seats on their aircraft.
Fuel savings are key for Frontier
While reducing fuel use is an environmentally-friendly decision, the move will also save plenty of money for Frontier. For example, on an average Airbus A321 aircraft, the new seat design will, according to the airline, save 31,683 gallons of fuel per year.
Frontier plans to put these new seats on all 155 aircraft left on order. The airline already has a deal with Recaro Aircraft Seating for the seats. The carrier expects that, across all of the aircraft on order, the fuel savings will equate to approximately 642 million plastic bottles, over 1.1 billion plastic bags, or more than 15 billion plastic straws taken out of the environment.
All 32,600 seats in this deal will be installed on Frontier’s aircraft through mid-2027. This means that these seats will also be found on Frontier’s Airbus A321XLR aircraft. The A320neos are the backbone for Frontier’s future fleet plan, as the carrier moves to retire older and less fuel-efficient aircraft, like the Airbus A319s.
As a ULCC, Frontier is known for offering low, unbundled fares. Passengers can then choose add-ons like bags, seats, or more. In that respect, it is imperative for the carrier to keep its costs down in order to sell low fares.
Fuel costs can be volatile, and rising fuel prices recently have put some financial pressure on carriers. In general, the heavier an aircraft is, the more fuel needs to be expended to get the plane in the air and keep it flying, so reducing weight as much as possible is key for carriers.
About the aircraft
The plane that is already flying with these seats is the 105th aircraft in Frontier’s fleet. Frontier puts animals on its tail, and this A320neo features Francie, the Piping Plover. A piping plover is a small bird that some may recognize instantly, but, according to Frontier, it is an endangered species. The carrier is working to highlight endangered species on its tails.
The aircraft is named after Dr. Francie Cuthbert of the University of Minnesota. Dr. Cuthbert is one of the leading researchers working on protecting the species and restoring the population of these birds in the natural world.
The aircraft is registered as N373FR, and it has already entered commercial service. This aircraft is the first of 13 new A320neos due this year. All 13 new jets this year will have the new Recaro seats.
What do you think about Frontier’s new seats? Let us know in the comments!