If you’re making a hasty Internet search for a cheap domestic flight using Airfarewatchdog or Skyscanner, Frontier Airlines will almost inevitably pop up as having the lowest priced option by a significant margin. In our Frontier review, we look at the ups and downs of booking their flights.
Feeling skeptical about jumping on such a low cost flight? Have you ever thought, “Will booking this cheap Frontier flight result in the worst travel experience of my life?” You’re not alone.
There’s no denying that booking with Frontier will result in sacrificing some common conveniences offered on most airlines. But maybe you don’t need those conveniences on every minor three-hour flight you take. In some cases, Frontier might be able to meet your basic travel needs and save you a few hundred dollars!
Let’s Review Frontier
The Frontier Airlines we fly on today was founded in 1994 and has been striving to live by their slogan “Low Fares Done Right” since the beginning. The airline was actually saved in 2009 when Republic Airlines bought the company after they filed for bankruptcy during the Great Recession. Frontier Airlines is now thriving and proudly serving over 100 cities in the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.
Frontier’s only hub is in Denver, Colorado, but does have a few focus cities that stretch out further east such as Philadelphia and Atlanta. In recent years, Frontier has done some significant expanding to offer affordable flights from northern cities to warmer climes during those frigid winter months. Need a spontaneous weekend trip to Miami in January? Frontier might be the reason you can afford to do it!
These are some of the cheapest flight options out there. Even with additional costs that you know are coming your way on a budget airline, Frontier very often does provide the most economic option when it comes to domestic travel.
Traveling with family or a group becomes significantly more affordable with Frontier ticket prices. If multiple people share a checked bag and bring their own backpack as a personal item, the price drops even more.
Frontier is just as safe as other more expensive airlines. The airline received a rating of 7/7 for safety and 5/5 for overall product.
All extra fees and regulations are clearly explained before purchasing the ticket and can be found on their website here. One can use this information to calculate the full price of traveling with Frontier and not feel blind-sided when en-route.
Literally everything costs money. Want to select your seat? That will be $15. Want to carry on a bag? That will be $35 (or more!). Want to buy a soda? That will be $5.
A lot of these additional costs can be avoided! Pack your own snacks and bring empty water bottles to fill at the airport. Want to avoid spending $50+ on baggage? Then register them as soon as you book the flight! The earlier you pay for your bags, the cheaper it will be. The same goes for selecting your seat.
In the event of a cancelation, Frontier Airlines will rebook you on the next available flight, but that might be tomorrow at midnight. Cancelation refunds on “unused portions of the ticket” are given upon request — so who knows how much you will actually get back.
The actual seats are far from luxury. Only a small amount of cushioning, no reclining ability, and they are packed into the plane a little tighter than on other airlines, which limits leg space. If you have back problems, or your buns need a little extra cushion, Frontier might not be the right choice for you.
There’s a good chance that you will not take off or land on time. Of course, you can get stuck on a tarmac because of weather or overcrowded airports with any airline. But unfortunately, Frontier Airlines had the most delays of any large airline in 2018.
Frontier aircrafts do not offer WiFi or in-flight entertainment. You better bring a book, some headphones, and a downloaded playlist, because you’re on your own for having fun.
Frontier is not the only airline with a mission of offering affordable flights to everyday Americans. These competitors boast similar prices (and regulations) as Frontier and may be a more suitable option for you to book with.
Spirit Airlines: Still looking to fly on a budget airline, but not with Frontier? Give Spirit a try. It follows the same basic formula as Frontier: offer the cheapest price option for a flight and then charge for seat selection, baggage, and all in-flight refreshments. Getting a flight canceled on Spirit will also likely be a resounding headache. However, the annual Airline Quality Review (AQR) released earlier this year dropped Frontier Airlines to the status of “worst large airline” and raised Spirit to two slots above it. Turns out that Frontier had more customer complaints and bumped more people from flights than Spirit in 2018.
United Airlines: The “basic economy” ticket with United now also includes a charge for carry on bags. This has been infuriating to many, especially since the price is still higher than that of budget airlines. So how does it compare to Frontier as they now utilize a similar baggage charge? Honestly, it’s a much more comfortable experience. Even though it is “basic economy” status, United still offers comfortable reclining seats with more leg room, free beverages and snacks, WiFi, and in-flight entertainment. The flight has a better chance of getting off the ground on time, and in the case of a cancelation, you probably won’t want to pull your hair out. It might be $150 more, but to some, that $150 might very well be worth it.
The Frontier Review Verdict
A Frontier flight can be a fine option to book if the circumstances are right!
If you want to take an easy weekend trip for under $100 to visit a friend, then Frontier is ideal. Want to take your spouse and two kids to Las Vegas for a bargain price so you can splurge on Cirque Du Soleil? Grab your Frontier tickets tomorrow and shove all your belongings in the same checked bag! While it may not be the most comfortable or timely flight you’ll take, Frontier can provide sufficient and money-saving options that make travel feel manageable, while other airlines cause you to dismiss the thought of a vacation as soon as you see their prices.
But let’s say you are you going on a stressful business trip with a tight schedule and meetings you can’t miss. Then you should probably avoid Frontier. Are you traveling during the holidays when the airports are mob scenes and weather can be problematic? Get yourself to a premium highly ranked airline instead.
For the most part, Frontier will do just as fine a job as any other airline of getting you from one place to the next. Just remember that you’re taking a budget flight. Research those additional charges, pack some snacks, and be ready for a few hours of sitting at a 90 degree angle. You’ll get to where you need to be, and you’ll have a couple extra hundred dollars to spend when you get there!