9 Things To Know Before You Fly Frontier Airlines

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COVID-19 continues to affect airline travel around the world. See how Frontier Airlines is handling the coronavirus pandemic.


When it comes to cheap flights, Frontier Airlines typically has some of the most affordable fares you’ll find.

If you’re thinking about flying Frontier, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know, including why the carrier’s fares are so cheap and the many fees that can be added to your ticket.

Team Clark has been researching the policies and amenities of the major airlines so that you can make an informed decision about the airline you choose to fly.

Frontier Airlines: What You Need To Know

Frontier is a Denver, Colorado-based airline known as an ultra-low cost carrier in the industry.

Frontier is the ninth-largest airline in the country when it comes to market share.

Let’s get into some things you should know about Frontier before you fly.

Frontier Airlines: Table of Contents

1. Where Does Frontier Fly?

Frontier operates flights to more than 100 destinations throughout the United States and several dozen cities abroad including Canada, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Mexico.

Here are some of Frontier’s popular U.S. destinations:

  • Atlanta
  • Chicago
  • Cincinnati
  • Cleveland
  • Denver
  • Philadelphia

See Frontier’s route map here.

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2. How Safe Is Frontier Airlines?

Frontier hasn’t had a fatal plane crash in its quarter-century of existence.

There is no official ranking of airlines according to safety, but the website AirlineRatings.com included Frontier on its 2021 list of the Top 10 Safest Low-Cost Airlines.

3. How Is Frontier Able To Charge Such Cheap Fares?

When you see those super-cheap online deals that Frontier advertises, remember that those are base prices for one-way fares.

Frontier’s low fares are a result of its no-frills base prices. When you book a flight, Frontier gives you three fare options:

  • Customized (unbundled option): This fare lets you buy your travel options individually. The base ticket price may be low, but you’ll have to pay extra for things many other airlines include in their fares.
  • “The Perks” (bundled option): carries a price exemption on a carry-on bag and checked bag.
  • The Works (bundled option): carries a price exemption on a carry-on bag and checked bag. It also gives you more flexibility.

More on fees in a moment, but first let’s look at a comparison of Frontier’s two fare bundling options.

Because you get flexibility on changing your ticket, The Works fare costs more than the Perks bundle but, depending on your needs, may end up being the better deal.

Things to know before you fly Frontier Airlines
Graphic via Flyfrontier.com

Regardless of what fare you choose, if you want to book your flight(s) by phone instead of online, there’s a $25 per ticket fee.

Let’s talk about other fees on Frontier.

4. What Are Frontier’s Change Fees?

Here’s a summary of Frontier’s change fee policy as of April 2021. It applies to regular (customized) bookings and also to The Perks bundles:

  • If you change your flight 60 or more days in advance of your scheduled departure, you will pay $0 in change fees.
  • If you make changes to your flight between seven and 59 days in advance, you pay $39.
  • If you make changes six days or less before departure, you pay $59.
  • Many airlines continue to adjust their ticket change policies because of the COVID-19 pandemic. So check Frontier’s website here for the latest details.
  • Also note that, if you make a change to your ticket by phone instead of online, you’ll pay a $25 fee.

5. Does Frontier Charge for Baggage?

Unless you’re buying a bundled fare, Frontier charges for checking bags but allows you to board with one free “personal item,” as long as it’s no larger than 14 inches tall, 18 inches wide and 8 inches long.

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Unlike most carriers, Frontier also charges for a carry-on bag (Again, you can get around this if you opt for either The Perks or The Works).

Frontier says the price for bringing a carry-on bag varies based on when you pay for that fee. (Hint: the longer you wait, the more you’ll pay.)

When I recently went through the flight-booking process for a one-way domestic trip on Frontier, the baggage fees were:

  • $0 for a personal item
  • $42 for a carry-on bag
  • $40 for a checked bag

See Frontier’s baggage policy for further details.

6. Does Frontier Charge for Seating Assignments?

During booking, Frontier charges for seat assignments unless you’ve purchased a bundled fare via The Works or The Perks.

If you don’t pay to select a seat at the time of booking, Frontier will select one for you for free at the time of check-in (Don’t bet on sitting next to family).

There are two categories of seats: Standard and Stretch. Here are the seat assignment prices for a one-way flight, which vary according to location on the plane:

  • Standard Seating: These seats cost $17-$55.
  • Stretch Seating: These seats give you 5-7 extra inches of legroom and cost $35-$70.

7. How Do Frontier Customers View the Airline?

Frontier ranked next to last in the American Customer Satisfaction Index report released in December 2020:

AirlinesApril through September 2020Previous Period % Change
Southwest Airlines801%
Delta Air Lines793%
Alaska Airlines780%
JetBlue Airways76-3%
United Airlines761%
All Others746%
American Airlines73-1%
Allegiant Airlines72-3%
Frontier Airlines683%
Spirit Airlines673%
Airlines (Average)761.3%

Team Clark’s Sally McDonald flew Frontier from Atlanta to San Juan, Puerto Rico. This is what she said about the experience:

“The best part: No delays! (In fact, both flights landed early.) The worst part: The fees! Our overall experience was good, and the fares are too cheap to pass up! When booking with a discount airline, we always factor the fees and extras into the ticket before we book to make sure we’re actually saving money. We also make sure we’re willing to sit in less-than-comfortable seats for the entire flight.”

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What Is Frontier Airlines’ Customer Service Number?

Frontier Airlines’ customer service number is 801-401-9000. Here’s the best way to reach Frontier and other major airlines.

8. Is Frontier a Family-Friendly Airline?

If you’re flying as a family and choose to pay for seating assignments, Frontier may be a carrier to consider. Also, families with small children, take heart: When you’re traveling with a little one, a stroller and car seat can be checked free of charge.

If you join Frontier’s Discount Den program (details below), you can get access to the Kids Fly Free feature which lets one child (age 14 or under) fly for free for every qualifying adult Discount Den fare purchased.

As prices (for all airfares) change frequently, you should consider going through the exercise of pricing tickets for multiple passengers both at the standard and Discount Den fares. There’s no guarantee the Discount Den fare will always be a better deal.

9. How To Save on Frontier Airlines

Team Clark wants you to cut your travel costs the next time you fly. Here are some ways to save money on Frontier Airlines:

Avoid Baggage Fees

If you can pack light, that’s the #1 way to save money on Frontier Airlines.

Money expert Clark Howard has been known to layer his clothing just to avoid baggage fees.

We don’t expect you to go to that extreme. But if you must incur bag fees, pay online to avoid the $25 phone fee.

Use Promo Codes

When you book a flight at FlyFrontier.com, make sure you use the promo code associated with the flight. You can find it near the airfare price online.

An example of a promo code that allows you to save 25% on a Frontier flight would be “SAVE25.”

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Join the Discount Den Program

If you fly often, do the math to see if it’s worth it for you to sign up for the Discount Den program.

Discount Den costs $59.99 a year and gives you:

  • Exclusive access to discounted fares
  • Ability to put up to six people on one reservation
  • Access to Kids Fly Free flights

Have you flown Frontier Airlines? Tell Team Clark about your flying experience in the comments below!

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