8 Things To Know Before You Fly Frontier Airlines

Written by |
Advertisement

While looking for cheap flights, you may have noticed Frontier Airlines show up in the results with some of the lowest prices, but you may not know much about this discount carrier.

Frontier Airlines periodically offers extremely low airfares, sometimes even as low as $19. But you’ll often pay for services on Frontier that are free when you fly on other airlines. And you may find it difficult to get help when you need it.

In this article, I’ll detail everything you need to know before you book a flight on Frontier.

Routes

Frontier Airlines is based in Denver, Colorado.

It flies to more than 100 destinations in the United States, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

Courtesy AirlineFlightMaps.com

Fares

Frontier Airlines offers just one fare class, and those fares are usually lower than what you find on legacy carriers. However, many of the things you get on a legacy airline for free cost extra when you fly on Frontier.   

Seat Selection

During the booking process, you will be asked where you would like to sit, but making a choice isn’t free. Frontier’s website says the price of selecting a seat starts at $11 per leg of your flight. I checked the price for a flight from New York City (LaGuardia) to Atlanta in October 2022, and I found that the seat selection prices ranged from $18 to $38 each way based on where I wanted to sit.

I contacted Frontier Customer Support to try to pin down the full range of fees for seat selection. I talked with three different representatives and got three different answers.

If you don’t choose a seat at the time of booking, you’ll be assigned a seat at check-in at no charge. Frontier does not guarantee people in the same party seats next to each other if you don’t pay for a seat selection.

Baggage Fees

Frontier allows you to bring one personal item onboard for free such as a purse, laptop bag, or backpack with maximum dimensions of 14″x18″x8″.

Advertisement

Frontier’s website says that strollers, car seats, and diaper bags are exempt from bag charges if you’re traveling with an infant.

How much you’ll pay to check or carry on a bag depends on its weight, your destination and your travel dates.

It’s almost impossible to gauge on the bag price page, so the best thing to do is use the pricing tool when you book your flight. You’ll definitely pay more if you wait until you get to the airport.

I looked up prices in November 2022, for a flight from New York City(LaGuardia) to Atlanta, in February 2023. One carry-on bag cost $64 each way per person. I chose not to select a carry-on at checkout, and an alert box popped up that told me I would have saved $4 if I had paid when booking instead of at the airport.  

Priority Boarding

You can get priority boarding if you’re buying a bundled fare (more on that below) or paying for a carry-on bag. But Frontier has different levels of priorities boarding. Yes, it’s complicated.

The different levels have different fees, which vary. As I went through the process of checking out, I opted not to add priority boarding with a carry-on bag but then was offered priority boarding for $7.99 each way. If priority boarding is important to you and you do not want to pay for a carry-on bag, make sure to keep an eye out for an offer at checkout.

Change and Cancellation Fees

Frontier’s website says that all tickets are subject to change or cancellation fees unless you buy a Works bundle fare (more on bundled fares later in this article). Note that, for airline tickets that are purchased at least seven days before a flight’s scheduled departure date and time, federal law gives you 24 hours to cancel your reservation and get a full refund.

I went through the steps of creating a reservation and then canceling it on the Frontier website, and I found it to be an easy process.

Other Fees

Here are the other fees listed on Frontier’s website:

ServiceFee
Name Change on Ticket$75 per passenger
Phone Reservation Booking Charge$35 per passenger
Airport Agent AssistanceUp to $25 per passenger
Web Check InStarting at $5 per passenger each way
(Checking in via the Frontier app is free.)
Flight Flexibility
(Pay in advance for anticipated date and time changes.)
$15-$55 per passenger per direction
Ticket Change6 days or less before departure: $99 each way
7-59 days before departure: $49 each way
60 days + before departure: Free
Cancellation fee$99 each way
Pet Charge$99 per pet each way

Ways To Save Money on Frontier

Below are the programs Frontier offers that may save you money by grouping add-on fees together or through discounts.

Advertisement

Bundles

Frontier offers two different bundle options that can reduce the price of the add-on fees and provide other benefits such as priority boarding.

  • “The Perks”
  • “The Works”

When choosing a bundle option, note that the cost you’ll see on the website in bold type is only for a one-way ticket. The cost in tiny type underneath the price is the cost for the round-trip ticket.

Discount Den

Frontier Airlines offers its lowest fares in what it calls the Discount Den.

The benefits of being a Discount Den member include:

  • Kids Fly Free on select dates and flights. One child age 14 or under can fly for free for each adult traveling in a Discount Den party.
  • Share the Discount Den: Up to eight additional travelers can get the same discount you do when they travel on your reservation.

I checked a half dozen fares with and without Discount Den to see if it would make sense to join, and I found the range in discounts to be 10-14%. I recommend comparing both fares along with the benefits of Discount Den to see if membership makes sense for you.

Frontier shares many promo codes throughout the year on its website, and in some cases, I found that using those promo codes works out to be cheaper than a Discount Den fare. To find available deals, go to the Deals tab in the top right corner of the Frontier homepage. Also, be sure to check Clark Deals for the latest Frontier Airlines promo codes.

GoWild! Pass

Frontier Airlines has recently rolled out its GoWild! all-you-can-fly pass.

The pass costs $1,999 per year and is valid for 12 months of travel. Flights will be available to purchase, and you can fly beginning May 2, 2023. 

The pass lets you book a domestic flight only one day in advance and international flights 10 days ahead of time. Taxes, fees and charges apply, and according to the Frontier website, “Current government and airport taxes, fees and charges start at approximately $14.60 per person, per flight for domestic travel. Current government and airport taxes, fees and charges vary widely for international travel, and can be in excess of $100 per person, per flight.”

You can book unlimited travel as long as your pass is valid. Blackout dates are noted on the Frontier GoWild! page.

Advertisement

If you are considering purchasing a pass, it is important to keep track of the renewal date because you will automatically be renewed for another year unless you cancel.

Food, Beverage, and Entertainment

Frontier Airlines does not offer complimentary food and beverages. 

There is an array of beverages and snacks available for purchase.

If you are looking for onboard entertainment on Frontier, you will not find it. Frontier does not have Wi-Fi, TV, movies or even electrical outlets available at your seat.

Customer Service

Frontier Airlines eliminated its customer support phone line in November 2022.

Frontier’s website says you can get in touch via:

When researching this article (before the phone line was eliminated), I contacted Customer Support several times by phone with long wait times and conflicting answers from different representatives.

The table below shows 2002 data from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which includes overall customer satisfaction ratings from Frontier Airlines customers and those of other airlines.

Airlines2022 ScorePoint Gain/Loss
Compared to
Previous Study
JetBlue Airways793
American Airlines773
Delta Air Lines77-3
Southwest Airlines77-3
United Airlines773
Alaska Airlines75-3
Allegiant Air70-3
Frontier Airlines66-3
Spirit Airlines63-5
All Airlines (Average)75-1.3

See more on airline customer satisfaction ratings in our article.

According to the October 2022 Air Travel Consumer Report from the U.S. Department of Transportation, only 71.1% of Frontier flights were reported to have arrived on time in August (most recent data available). Frontier had the most complaints listed per 100,000 flights: 15.6. The airline with the least complaints per 100,000 flights was Horizon with 1.28.

Advertisement

Final Thoughts

Frontier Airlines may have cheap fares, but it also has a lot of fees, and I found Customer Support to be lacking.

To save the most money, you’ll want to look at all the fee options and compare them to choosing a bundle package. Then compare that with flying a full-fare airline to see where you can get the greatest savings. 

Have you ever flown Frontier? Share your experience in our Clark.com Community!

Advertisement

Travel credit cards can earn consumers rewards for their spending. Best Travel Credit Cards: Top Rewards Picks for 2022 - The best travel rewards credit cards! Compare the latest sign-up bonus offers to start earning free flights, hotel stays and more.