Memphis International welcomes back Frontier Airlines - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Memphis International welcomes back Frontier Airlines

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Denver-based low cost air carrier Frontier Airlines returned to Memphis Friday, offering non-stop flights four days a week to Denver.

Frontier left Memphis five years ago during its financial troubles.

Hundreds celebrated in C concourse Friday afternoon as the inaugural flight marking Frontier's return landed in Memphis ahead of schedule from the Mile High City.

BOOK: Frontier Airline website

So, he might not have been Kenny G, but, the smooth sounds of saxophonist Eirinn Abu provided a non-distracting and pleasant musical backdrop to usher in the inaugural flight of the new Frontier Airlines' Memphis to Denver connection.

MORE: Frontier nonstop service from Memphis to Denver starts March 7

Green and gray balloons surrounded the seating area in the C Concourse, where Frontier will be setting up shop. Initially it's going to be four flights a week from Memphis International to Denver International Airport, with plans to extend to daily service in June.

A beaming airport president, Scott Brockman, gushed over the arrival of the airline that boasts it's "A whole different animal."

"Frontier offers us a tremendous product," Brockman said. "They have a great airplane. They have great employees and great service, and they offer us a reach to the West Coast which we now lack."

"Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, Vegas. Name any city in the west and we can certainly get you there," added Andrea Blankenship, Frontier Airlines Director of Sales.

The occasion marked a triumphant comeback for the low cost airline, whose first foray into Memphis in 2007 abruptly ended 11 months later, when citing high fuel costs, the company filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. But, while leaner, once they boasted 170 planes as opposed to a current fleet of 56, the company still offers some mean competition for larger carriers.

"We will bring the lowest fare, and I literally mean the lowest fare, in any city we fly in and from there the customer can choose their experience," Blankenship said. "So, whether you want to check a bag, whether you want to do a carry-on, whether you want to buy a drink on board, instead of bunching that into the price, you get to pick. So, you get to choose what your fair is."

After having to wait for a Delta plane (yes, they're still here) to leave before taxing in, a full flight of 138 passengers deplaned to a reception filled with cheers and balloons. They also sported Elvis glasses, courtesy of a new business relationship  with Elvis Presley Enterprises.

"We've launched an online sweepstakes for folks in Colorado and Tennessee to win two tickets, round-trip airfare on Frontier," said Kevin Kern, with Elvis Presley Enterprises. "Our Facebook sweepstakes are launching in tandem with Graceland and Frontier Airlines."

It's almost certain nobody enjoyed the trip to Memphis more than Matthew Chafin.

"It feels pretty good," Chafin said. "I thought my buddy just got me a cheap discount flight and I didn't know it's as special as it is. I just scored a sweet pair of glasses. Worked out pretty good."

Yeah, dude, I hear they really don't need planes to fly in Colorado.

Frontier said their tradition will continue in terms of having all those animals being displayed on the tails of their planes. No word yet on whether Abu will serenade Frontier passengers for every flight.

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