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Around the World & Nearly Dead – Introduction

In late October of last year, I embarked on a nearly three week around the world journey. Starting with a few days in Washington DC with my family, I eventually made my way up to New York before flying to Europe and then on to Hong Kong.

Some time between Amsterdam and Hong Kong, I developed a bad cough which ultimately morphed into a nasty flu by the time I returned home. (Hence the name.) Ultimately I was bed ridden for nearly two weeks upon my return, but it was still worth it.

Trip Background

frontier airlines review las iad
My son Shawn Reece hanging in the Centurion Lounge before our flight from Las Vegas to Dulles.

Early last year when Frontier launched service from Washington DC, they ran a $15 fare sale to each of their destinations. Thankfully despite severe website issues, I was able to get three roundtrip tickets for the weekend of Halloween.

Then a well publicized fuel dump fare came along from JFK-MXP & PRG-HKG for $148.30. Since I was already going to be on the East Coast, I booked my ticket to continue on from DC while my family flew back home.

My Route

While I will write about each of these steps in detail, my route for the entire trip was Las Vegas – Washington DC – New York – Milan – Luxembourg – Brussels – Antwerp – Amsterdam – Macau – Hong Kong – Las Vegas.

I did also have layovers in a number of cities including: Prague, London, Vancouver, New York & Los Angeles. It is a long story, but I will eventually get there.

First Flight – My Frontier Review

frontier airlines review las iad
Frontier Airlines seats and IFE.

Since there isn’t much to talk about, I thought I would review our Frontier flight from LAS-IAD in this introduction post. The flight was a redeye which departed LAS a 9:50pm and arrived at Dulles at 5:15am. Not the best times, but it was only $15!

Frontier is a low cost carrier and thus charges for even large carry-on bags. Originally we were all going to take a small backpack, but since I was going on a larger trip, I brought my favorite backpack. Frontier actually charges $5 more ($25 vs. $20) to carry-on the bag, so I checked my bag, while my wife and son each just brought a small free carry-on.

Unfortunately Frontier’s website had issues during the $15 sale and we were booked on two separate itineraries. When checking in, the system moved us to separate areas of the plane and wanted to charge for us to be seated together. Fortunately the agents at the airport quickly fixed this without issue and put us together in the same row.

frontier airlines review las iad
Frontier airlines leg room.

Frontier’s planes all have small IFE screens that accept credit card payments. The IFE works for about the first 20-30 minutes before it requires you to pay to play. Prices range from $4 to $8 depending on the length of the flight. I passed.

Since Frontier didn’t start it’s life as an ULCC, the seats have a pitch of 30-31″, which is close to the industry standard and much better than Spirit’s 28″. The legroom was barely tolerable, especially for a redeye flight. Luckily the plane wasn’t too full and we were able to spread out a bit.

The flight was about as good as a transcontinental redeye can be in coach. The flight attendants turned off the lights almost immediately and let everyone try to get some sleep. It was no better or worse than a similar flight on a legacy airline.

Arrival In Washington DC

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The view from our first room at the Grand Hyatt Washington DC. (More on that later.)

Our arrival was on-time around 5:15am, so we leisurely picked up my checked backpack and decided to use a $50 Lyft credit we had from a previous promotion in lieu of taking the bus. It was a great decision. Despite quite a lot of traffic, it took only about 40 minutes to reach the Grand Hyatt Washington where we arrived around 7am.

Costs

During each part of this trip report, I will end with a detailed cost analysis for that section.

  • Frontier Flight: $30 (paid for with Arrival points acquired at a 70% discount.)
  • Checked Bag: $20
  • Lyft Ride: Free

Conclusion

The Frontier flight was as comfortable as a redeye in coach can be. I wouldn’t hesitate to fly the airline again if the price is right. Just like with Spirit, you get what you pay for. If you have realistic expectations going in, flying Frontier shouldn’t be a problem.

In the next part I will review the Grand Hyatt Washington DC, show why I paid cash in lieu of points and explain why it isn’t the grandest of Hyatts I have stayed in.


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7 COMMENTS

  1. great start to the trip, looking forward to reading about the rest of the trip (except for the flu)…. just wanted to ask about the ‘arrival points acquired at a 70% discount’. how did you score that? i have the arrival+, just don’t know how to acquire points at a discount. thanks!

    • You can earn about $11 cash back for $3.95 spend by buying $500 gift cards at Simon malls. That amounts to a 64% discount.

      It used to be $2.95 for the cards, which came to a 74% discount. You can also use Serve’s online loads to get $1,500 in spend for free. I just used the 70% as an average.

  2. OMG! Thanks for sharing I will NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER fly on this airline! That leg room is horrible I would rather walk or ride a horse to get where I need to go!

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