Frontier Airlines Flight 859 “Stu the Rabbit”

By: Category: EventsFly-inRoad tripsUncategorized



PHXSpotter member Billy Ellison who is a longtime fan of the Airbus A318 had the chance to take a ride on the last ever US airline to operate the A318. On August 5th 2013 Frontier Airlines held its last passenger revenue flight from Denver to Phoenix on “Stu The Rabbit” N803FR. Here is his report

While waiting to board flight 859 to Phoenix I had seen some more Airplane geeks waiting to board the flight. I step over to chit chat with them. Like me they were very excited to be on the last Frontier A318 flight. As the flight crew got to the gate area I asked the Captain if he would mind if I took some photos of the crew and cockpit when we landed in Phoenix. I had explained to the flight crew that this will be the last time the Airbus 318 would depart Denver.

Finally the time came to board flight 859. I was the last passenger to enter the aircraft jet way. While waiting in the jet way I had seen some of the ground crew in the jet way as I got to them I ask if they would mind if I stepped outside the door to snap a few photos of the last 318. They said sure no problem knock yourself out. As I had finished up with my photos I had notice that I was the last passenger to board the aircraft. When I walked on to the aircraft I looked down and snapped a photo of my foot as I was stepping on the Aircraft. I was officially the last passenger ever to board the last A318 flight for Frontier.

As we pushed back the flight seemed like any normal flight. The flight crew did their safety briefing and final check. We taxied away from Gate A37 with both engines running and heading towards the runway. When the aircraft turned on to Denver’s Runway 8, I knew that this was my chance to grab as many photos of the plane departing Denver. As we started rolling down the runway I started snapping away and waiting for that nose to pull up off the ground.

As we headed towards Phoenix I kept checking and re-checking my camera making sure the settings were correct. When the Aircraft approached Tempe market place I snapped a few photos to make sure my setting were dead on and was hoping that my fellow spotters on the ground were ready for the last touchdown. Finally over the threshold of runway 26 I lined up my 18-55 lenses and just started shooting away. The pilots maybe a very smooth touchdown and bought the aircraft into Frontier’s gate in Phoenix, as the engines shut down and the cabin door opened  Stu’s the rabbit career with Frontier Airlines was over.

While at the gate in Phoenix after the 1 hour and 34 minute flight I gather my things and a few souvenirs for myself and other spotters. I approached the flight deck and First Officer Hollingsworth was there waiting for me. While I was sitting in the flight deck I asked the entire crew if they would sign the poster I had bought from AIRLINERS ILLUSTRATED. After I had got done with my photos I stepped off the aircraft and notice that I was once again the last passenger. In the jet way was the flight crew who would take the aircraft over to Goodyear airport. I asked them if they could delay for a few minutes while I chase the plane down to Goodyear for its final landing in Frontier colors.

Frontier was the launch customer of the A318. The first A318 delivery was in July 2003 and had Griz the Bear was on the tail. Frontier would take a total of 12 Airbus A318’s. Most of Frontier A318’s are scrapped or being parted out for other A318 users.


      A Big thank you to the following people:

Kate O’Malley-Frontier Airlines

Pilots Dennis Gates and J.M Hollingsworth

Flight attendants -Janis lovelady, Kathleen Cory, Kenneth Hinderlider

Adam Baker, Kory Crohn, Ryan Schmelzer-Photos


For more info on the Airbus A318 please visit