Frontier Airlines may not be your first choice of airline, but there is no denying that it is often one of the cheapest ways to get from A to B. If you’re looking to travel on a budget, flying on Frontier’s expanding route network can be an affordable and safe way to get to your destination. Follow these tips to ensure you have the best experience possible when flying Frontier Airlines.
Frontier does not include a normal sized carry-on bag in its fares. If you want to travel for the crazy low prices that you see initially, you’ll have to pack everything into a small personal item that does not exceed 18 x 14 x 8 inches. This equates to a small backpack or a large purse that can fit underneath the seat in front of you.
It may seem impossible to travel this light, but if it’s a short trip and you want to avoid any extra fees, it’s definitely doable. It’s best to wear your bulkier items onboard to achieve this.
Related: The Essential Carry-On Packing List
Pay for Bags and Extras in Advance
For the majority of travelers who can’t or don’t want to pack that light, it is best to pay for your bags and any other extras in advance. Bag fees vary by season and destination, but you’ll always pay less when you add bags to your reservation during booking. Bag fees increase at every step following the initial booking and are much more expensive when paid at the airport.
If you’re traveling with a partner, consider checking one bag for the two of you and board with just your personal items. Checked bags are slightly cheaper than carry-on bags and can fit much more. Other extras, like seat assignments, are also cheaper when purchased during booking. If you don’t choose seats during booking, they will be randomly assigned at check-in. Although there are no guarantees, you’ll still usually be seated together.
Consider the Works Bundle for Flexibility
Frontier also sells bundles if you’d like to purchase multiple extras and save. Both the Perks bundle and the Works bundle include a carry-on bag, one checked bag, seat selection, and priority boarding. However, the Works bundle is unique in that it gives you flight flexibility and actually makes your ticket 100 percent refundable.
The Works bundle is only available to purchase during initial booking directly through Frontier and also includes access to extra legroom seating, while the Perks bundle can be booked online anytime, but it’s cheapest during initial booking. As far as refundable fares go, you likely won’t find a cheaper option than Frontier with the Works bundle compared to what a refundable fare costs on other airlines.
Buy Your Ticket at the Airport
In most cases, Frontier charges extra for the convenience of booking your flight online. Depending on what flight you're purchasing, how many passengers, and your ability to reach the airport, it may be worthwhile to purchase your ticket(s) at an airport counter.
Make sure you calculate how much you’ll save by looking up what the Carrier Interface Charge (CIC) is in the breakdown of the taxes/fees shown online. This is usually $23 per segment, per passenger, but is sometimes a reduced rate ($10) or not charged at all for special fares. It can really add up when taking connecting flights or flying with multiple passengers.
Keep in mind that ticket counters may have limited hours around Frontier’s schedule and agents aren’t able to add bags or other extras to your reservation during booking. You would need to add any extras online afterwards, which will have slightly higher fees than if you were to book these extras during online booking.
Sign-Up for Discount Den Membership
If you fly Frontier often, you may want to join its Discount DEN program. Membership costs $59.95 per year and it gives you access to discounted fares, exclusive deals, and allows your kids to fly free on select dates and flights. You can book special fares for up to six people on your reservation as long as the member is traveling and one child under 15 can fly for free for every paying adult when flying on Tuesdays or Wednesdays (blackout dates and market exclusions apply).
Check for Promo Code Sales but Don’t Be Fooled
Frontier frequently has promo code sales that seem too good to be true. While you can save some money if you purchase during a sale, keep in mind that any discount will only apply to the “base fare”. Many times, when you break down Frontier’s prices, it’s mostly mandatory taxes/fees and its online booking fee so the base fares are usually already quite low. Check flyfrontier.com and sign up for Frontier’s emails to find out about promo code sales.
Lower Your Expectations
One thing I always tell people when I suggest flying Frontier as an option is to realize that it is a budget airline. The saying “you get what you pay for” holds true and you should adjust your expectations for your experience. This is not to say that you won’t have a wonderful experience flying Frontier, just that you shouldn’t expect it to be as comfortable as flying a major airline.
There’s little legroom, no in-flight Wi-Fi or entertainment, tray tables are tiny, and everything onboard costs extra. If you can live without these amenities, you can potentially save big. If not, you may be better off paying more to fly on a more traditional airline.
Bring a Pillow, Snacks, and Entertainment
To make flying Frontier more comfortable, I suggest bringing a travel pillow along for extra cushion in your seat. And if you don’t want to purchase anything onboard, make sure you bring some snacks and an empty water bottle to fill up at the airport (after security). To keep yourself occupied, bring a book, load up your phone or tablet with music or movies, enjoy the view from above, or try to get some rest.
Have a Backup Plan
Flight delays and cancellations affect all airlines, but the consequences can be much worse if you’re flying Frontier. Since it flies very limited schedules in certain markets, a cancelled flight could mean that Frontier won’t be able to accommodate you on another flight for days. While this is rare, it’s best to be prepared.
If Frontier only flies your route a few times per week, you may want to look up alternative travel options in advance such as refundable car rentals, buses, trains, or flights on other airlines. Booking a later backup flight on Southwest can be a good strategy. If your flight on Frontier takes off, you can then cancel the Southwest flight and keep the value as a credit for one year, or, better yet, if you book the Southwest flight with points, it can be refunded completely.
While Frontier is not for everyone, it’s a great way to fly around the U.S., Mexico, and Caribbean for an affordable price. Hopefully, these tips will help you enjoy your next Frontier flight and take advantage of its incredibly cheap airfares.