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Frontier’s ‘A Whole Different Animal’ Livery Has A Heartbeat

All pictures are by Sunil Gupta - check out his fab collection of
Frontier Airlines tail art (and more) at

Frontier Airlines Airbus A-319 with 1 of over 60 of the 'tail art' animals

Close up of the Puffin on the A-319 vertical fin and rudder

  My recent trip to California accomplished several things... most important, it was a really good visit with my mom who I hadn't seen in almost 4 years.  The trip also gave me a chance to experience the airline industry up close and personal, which is something I haven't had the finances to be able to do for quite a while.  The last airline trip I had made was in January 2009 from Chicago to Jacksonville to try to make it down to my dad who was suddenly very ill in a hospital there.  He passed away while I was en route, and as you can imagine, the stress of that situation meant I really didn't notice what the 'state of the industry' was.  Prior to that trip, it had been many years since I had flown via the airlines.

 This trip was very different tho, and examining the industry that my dad had been a pilot for United Airlines for 35 years in was definitely one of the things on my list.  The trip to California went from Indianapolis to Sacramento with a stop in Denver, and then the same stop at Denver on the way back.  The two biggest observations I made on this trip relate to United Express and Frontier Airlines.

 First, the leg from Indianapolis to Denver was via United Express on an Embraer E-170.  I was really interested to see what this airplane was like to ride in, and as my post about the E-170 IND to DEN leg shows, I was very impressed!  But it wasn't just the airplane I was impressed with.  This United Express flight was operated by Shuttle America, which is a Republic Airways Holdings company, and I was really pleased with the way operations were conducted.  Every element of what they did was accomplished extremely well.  This was made even more evident on the leg from Denver to Sacramento via United Airlines, as that entire experience felt like the airline had been run hard and put away wet... I just wasn't impressed.  Maybe the United / Continental merger will make things better (ha!)

 The second big observation was in Denver, seeing all those Airbus A-319's with the huge Frontier painted on their side.  And, since I haven't been traveling by airlines much at all these last few years, I didn't even know that Frontier had a different 'tail art' animal on every airplane.  I got that all figured out while taxiing on the ramp and scouting all the different aircraft moving around the airport.  That's when I figured out that Frontier might really be 'A whole different animal' in the airline industry.  When I was looking out that window at the many different airline paint schemes, I was specifically struck by how boring most of them are.  But in my mind the Frontier airplanes displayed some spunk.  I'd definitely call it a promotional tool with a heartbeat!  This troubled and sometimes sad industry seriously needs more life, and the paint (or vinyl) on the airplanes is the best place to start in my opinion.

 The really interesting revelation in all of this is that Frontier is also a Republic Airways Holdings company.  Hmmm, their 'A whole different animal' tagline just might be for real here.  The United Express experience was fantastic, and Frontier seems to be an airline with a heart.  I've never ridden on Frontier, but I can guarantee you that now I want to.  I think that's a pretty big accomplishment on their part.  

 If you've experienced Frontier, leave a comment here to let me know what you think of them.  It's also going to be interesting to see what the future holds for them as they've recently been merged with Midwest and seem poised for some growth.  I'd say this is definitely an airline to watch as we all try to crawl out of the tough economic times.  And I think it's only the airlines with a noticeable heartbeat that will still be standing when all the dust settles.  Go Frontier!


Frontier A-319 with a Bobcat tail

Close up of the Frontier A-319 Bobcat tail

All pictures are by Sunil Gupta - check out his fab collection of 
Frontier Airlines tail art (and more) at


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