Westword wanted to help mark Frontier’s 25th anniversary — which the airline celebrated on July 5 — by looking back over the years of our coverage of its successes and its challenges, its good days and not-so-great ones. Happy birthday, Frontier, you old so-and-so.
When Continental Airlines cut flights in 1993, there was a service gap at then-Denver hub Stapleton Airport. And so Frontier was born…with four flights, all of which went to North Dakota: Bismarck, Fargo, Minot and Grand Forks. By the following year, less Dakota-minded heads prevailed, and Frontier established routes throughout the western U.S., primarily at smaller airports with less service, like Albuquerque, Billings, Bozeman, El Paso, Great Falls, Las Vegas, Missoula, Omaha and Tucson.
1999: Frontier goes coast-to-coast
Within five years of starting operations, Frontier expanded service to include flights covering both coasts and many stops in flyover country, too — all of them hubbed right here in Denver — which caused a lot of people around the nation to be able to say “I’ve been to Colorado…at least, I landed at the airport on my way to Vegas.”
2001: Frontier flies high
Right after the hubbub of Y2K turned out to be nothing more than a tale told by many idiots, Frontier was experiencing much success. Forbes magazine named it one of its fastest-growing companies back in 2001. By 2014-’15, however, it would top Forbes’s list of worst airlines.