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TravelFrontier overhauls pricing with four ticket categories

Frontier overhauls pricing with four ticket categories


Frontier Airlines is making major changes to how it presents fares and fees, offering a clearer range of ticket types that passengers will see right off the bat when booking a flight.

It’s a move that could mean a very different booking experience for travelers used to the barrage of add-on fees typical of ultra-low-cost carriers in the U.S.

These “sweeping changes,” as Frontier put it in the Friday announcement, are now live on the airline’s booking channels.

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4 booking options

Going forward, Frontier will ostensibly rely less on the classic budget airline business model of displaying an ultra-low base fare upfront. The low base fare excludes everything from seat selection to a full-size carry-on bag, although those types of tickets will still be available.

From the outset of the booking process, Frontier will offer a menu of four options, each with ascending prices and amenities: basic, economy, premium and business.

This assortment of choices at least sounds more reminiscent of what you find when booking with a larger network carrier. However, Frontier isn’t embarking on a major overhaul of its actual planes; don’t expect a spacious first-class recliner on one of its aircraft anytime soon.

Frontier is also eliminating change and cancellation fees for three of its four new ticket types, bringing back live phone support for customers, and giving customers a longer time frame to redeem flight credits.

“Today marks the beginning of a new era for Frontier — one with transparency in our prices, no change fees and the lowest total price,” Frontier CEO Barry Biffle said in a statement Friday.

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Frontier’s new ticket classes

Here’s the rundown of what you’ll get with each of Frontier’s new ticket types.

Benefits Basic fare Economy Bundle Premium Bundle Business Bundle
Personal Item
Full-size carry-on bag Costs extra
Checked bag Costs extra Costs extra Costs extra Two free bags
Seat selection Costs extra Free standard seat Free Premium seat (extra legroom) Free UpFront Plus seat (extra legroom seat, with middle seat blocked)
No change or cancellation fees
“Board First” priority boarding

It’s worth noting that Frontier still classifies the benefits you get with the higher-level (non-basic) fares — like bags and seat selection — as part of a “bundle.”

The difference is now the airline is advertising the full price of the bundle right off the bat; it’s lumped in with the fare itself instead of displaying it after a traveler selects a base fare.

Frontier customers can pick a fare and then choose to add on ancillary items a la carte or as part of a bundle.

Other changes

Frontier announced a few other changes as part of its sweeping moves Friday:

  • Customers who receive a flight credit on or after May 17 will have 12 months (instead of three months) to redeem.
  • Live phone support will return for customers within 24 hours of their flight and for those with elite status.
  • Customers who find a lower flight price elsewhere will be eligible to receive 2,500 Frontier Miles.

Booking a flight on Frontier

Frontier’s new booking menu is now live on its website. Below you can see how it looks when you go to book. You can see the four options (basic, economy, premium and business) for this June flight from Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) to Denver International Airport (DEN).

A basic fare on this one-way flight starts at $181. Think of this as your “traditional” Frontier fare, which only includes the ticket and a personal item. If you want to pick your seat, you’ll have to pay for it (or else the airline will just assign you one closer to departure). The same goes for a full-size carry-on bag. Also, there are no free changes.

FRONTIER AIRLINES

You’d pay $30 more for the “Economy Bundle” class (which adds seat selection and a carry-on bag). Another $20 gets you the “Premium Bundle” with an extra legroom seat. Another $50 gets you the “Business Bundle” which includes two free checked bags, an UpFront Plus seat with extra legroom and the middle seat blocked.

Here’s how the fares shake out on an overall cheaper one-way flight from Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) to Orlando International Airport (MCO). Prices start at $44 for a basic ticket, and they climb by the same increments for each class ($30 extra for Economy, another $20 for Premium and another $50 for Business).

FRONTIER AIRLINES

Let’s say I select the $74 Economy fare for this BWI-to-Orlando flight. As you can see, when I get to seat selection, all the standard seats are marked at a cost of $0.

FRONTIER AIRLINES

And, when it comes time to select baggage, my full-size carry-on is included (but a checked bag would start at a hefty $59).

FRONTIER AIRLINES

Once you go to check out, you’re reminded that the airline is largely changing the presentation of its fares and add-on charges. The $74 Economy fare I selected actually consists of a $43 base fare and $30 in ancillary charges.

FRONTIER AIRLINES

What these changes mean for travelers

In recent months, Frontier has been looking for ways to woo more travelers in an effort to boost profitability.

The carrier has made immense changes in 2024. It recently launched an overhaul to its Frontier Miles loyalty program.

Frontier also embarked on a significant network shake-up. It shifted some attention from highly competitive leisure travel markets like Orlando and Las Vegas to other parts of the country to lure travelers flying to visit friends and relatives.

Several other leisure-heavy airlines like JetBlue, Spirit Airlines and Southwest Airlines have also detailed headwinds in recent months and deployed (or considered) their own sweeping changes. For instance, Southwest executives have openly pondered possible new future cabin offerings and JetBlue embarked on its own major network shake-up.

It’s also worth noting that Frontier’s move to display a bundled price upfront comes just weeks after the U.S. Department of Transportation issued a new rule requiring airlines to more clearly display the price of ancillary items right off the bat — when a customer first sees the price of a flight.

Several U.S. airlines — but not Frontier — are currently suing the DOT over that rule, arguing overreach. The enforcement of these new rules is slated to begin a little less than a year from now.

Frontier’s new pricing model may not entirely comply with the new regulations. However, this model would certainly move a bit closer to compliance than the pricing and fee structure the airline has historically used.

Bottom line

Travelers booking a flight on Frontier will certainly notice a new experience, with four distinct pricing categories — each part of a different “bundle” — displayed right off the bat.

Customers who like the stripped-down, unbundled base fare will still be able to purchase such an option through the airline’s basic fare category.

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