Frontier Airlines

Frontier is probably one of the best airlines in the industry, especially in terms of low-fare providers. They were founded in 1994 and are based out of Denver Colorado. They offer 80 destinations in the United States and abroad, mostly in North America, with flights going to the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and other nearby realms close to the United States. Frontier has one of the most generous programs for rewards in the industry. 20,000 economy frequent flier miles gets a client a round-trip ticket anywhere in the United States. Frontier however, does not do sharing of its frequent flyer miles with other airlines, much like the American Airlines Group does. Frontier is currently upgrading its fleet, which is a nice feature. Most airlines have planes in their fleet that are close to fifteen years old. Frontier uses mostly Airbus jets for its main fleet, including the Airbus 319 and 320. The average age of a Frontier jet is about 8-1/2 years, meaning that Frontier wants the best jets possible for its customers. One downside of Frontier's mergers and acquisitions was the closing of the Milwaukee hub. We found that this adversely impacted Frontier employees, as well as reducing some of their flights that were a central component in their business model because of the central location of the Milwaukee hub.

 

Rank Chart Our Score User Score
#1 8.4 8.8 Read Review
#2 7.7 5.6 Read Review
#3 7.5 8.5 Read Review
#13 5.9 4.4 Current

The Good

  • Ticket prices
  • Rewards program
  • Boarding
  • Flight statistics

Frontier is a low-fare airline. They stay true to this reputation by offering the lowest prices for flights. They are often one of the lowest or the lowest priced option for their flights.
They also offer one of the most generous rewards programs. 20,000 economy frequent flier miles gets a round-trip ticket anywhere in the United States served by Frontier. There are also special deals that are always available and changing on the Frontier website that will help lower their prices even more. Frontier has few destinations though, so while they may the lowest option, they may not be available for the flights a customer needs. Frontier also does not allow their frequent flier miles to be shared with other airlines. This is unfortunate since other airlines such as American Airlines does allow this.

Frontier Airlines has certain specified times for boarding their flights:
• 45 minutes before departure: bags must be checked in
• 30 minutes before departure: passengers must be at the gate, boarding will begin
• 15 minutes before departure: final boarding
• 10 minutes before departure: doors close

They also have a few groups that will always board their plane first. They include:
1. Special Services: anyone needing wheelchair or other boarding assistance and unaccompanied minors
2. Passengers who have purchased a carry-on bag
3. Courtesy boarding: families traveling with children under three and any other passenger requiring additional time or assistance

Seats are assigned on Frontier flights which help make the boarding process smoother as passengers know exactly where they are headed when they enter the aircraft. Frontier recommends that passengers choose their seats while they are booking their tickets. This way passengers can choose their preference, and try to keep their party together however it does cost a fee to choose a seat. If a seat is not chosen at booking, one will randomly be assigned during the check-in process for free. Check-in can be done at the airport or online and must be done at least 45 minutes before departure for domestic flights, and 60 minutes for international flights.

Frontier has fairly average on-time percentages for their daily flights. The received the following statistics from Flightstats.com:

• 80% on-time
• 7% late
• 3% very late
• 7% excessive

Many of the top airlines are slightly higher than this rating. The margin that they are better is not much however, Frontier is still rather consistent for being generally on time. Their most active routes, however, did receive much lower ratings than top airlines. Generally the top airlines active routes are receiving four to five-star ratings, while Frontier flights received mostly two to three-star ratings. Their top flights include:

• Denver to Portland (4.1 stars, 88% on time)
• San Diego to Denver (3.7 stars, 87% on time)
• Denver to Minneapolis (3.4 stars, 85% on time)

Their lowest flight is Denver to Dallas (1.4 stars, 74% on time). These ratings show that Frontier is not as consistent with providing on time, not delayed or canceled flights as some of the other airlines. Frontier offers more than 275 daily flights and is a much smaller airline than some of the top they are compared to. Their most active routes looked at are all domestic locations.

Frontier Airlines began in 1994 and has been providing low-fare air travel for the past 21 years. 21 years of service does not make them a brand new airline. They have had time to grow with the industry, and expand. They are however, a young airline when compared with some of the major airlines. A number of other airlines, both major and small, have been around for over 80 years, about four times as long as Frontier. An advantage to Frontier's young age is their young fleet. Many of their airplanes are newer than other airlines offer. Frontier is also the proud winner of the Federal Aviation Administration's 2014 Diamond Award for maintenance excellence. They were also recently named the industry's most fuel-efficient airline by the International Council on Clean Transportation. Along with these awards, Frontier is one of the safest airlines. They have never had a fatal accident, an impressive feat for a low-fare carrier.

The Bad

  • Baggage
  • Amenities

Because Frontier is a low-cost airline, they do not offer any free baggage. All checked and carry-on bags cost money. Baggage is cheaper when it is booked online at least 24 hours before departure. There is a price increase for bags checked at the ticket counter of the airport and another increase for bags checked at the gate. There are also certain size restrictions for checked luggage. Bags must not exceed 62 inches collectively (Length + Width + Depth) and 50 pounds. Bags that exceed this will have an additional charge of $75 for each bag that is overweight and $75 for each oversized bag, and bags over 100 pounds or in excess of 110 linear inches will not be accepted.

Because Frontier is a low-fare airline, they do not offer many of the standard amenities found on much larger airlines. They do not offer any entertainment options or Wi-Fi. They state that they would rather pass those savings onto the customers. They also do not offer any complimentary food or beverages. They do have an array of options for snacks and beverages that are available for purchase on the flight however. Their non-alcoholic drinks cost $2. This is unusual even for low-fare airlines. Generally other low cost airlines provide complimentary non-alcoholic beverages and maybe some light snacks. Frontier however charges for all food onboard. Their snack choices include:

• Chex mix
• Almond M&M's
• Beef Jerky
• Pringles Chips
• Gummy Bears
• Rice Krispies
• Frontier Trail Mix

Frontier also offers a number of bundled options for different snacks and drinks. They serve coffee as well and their alcoholic beverages will run about $7 a drink.

The Bottom Line

We would recommend Frontier without reservation and would even go so far as to say that they are one of the best low-fare airlines in the industry. We liked their relatively young fleet, the Airbus planes that make up their  fleet, and the customer experience that customers get. We really liked our phone-in experience. Our questions were easily answered and we also really liked the no-hassle refund policy for customers who have a canceled flight. If you're flight is canceled or delayed up to three hours, you will get a refund of your ticket or a new flight.

100 Frontier Airlines Reviews

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  • User Score

    6

    June 13th, 2017 Sandy, UT

    I would like Frontier Airlines to improve their pricing methods. It takes a lot of clicking to determine the actual price of a ticket.

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  • User Score

    3

    June 12th, 2017 Salt Lake City, UT

    Frontier is cheap but their service is so bad. Once we had to wait for over 10 hours for our plane and we missed our connection. I was very frustrated with their service and their long delays.

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  • User Score

    4

    June 8th, 2017 Sandy, UT

    Very poor customer service. Older planes and uncomfortable seats.

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  • User Score

    2

    June 6th, 2017 Orem, UT

    My family and I have never had any good experiences with frontier. From flights being constantly delayed or cancelled to poor service, not worth the money that you "save" when you have to go buy a new flight that day because they cancelled your flight.

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  • User Score

    3

    June 6th, 2017

    I have a lot of beef with this airline. It is economy priced...but ghetto quality. The seats are EXTREMELY uncomfortable. They charge for carry on baggage, and claim this speeds up boarding time. My boarding time has NEVER BEEN LONGER.... I could go on and on. If you need to travel and have no other option frontier will get you there but you won't be happy.

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  • User Score

    3

    June 6th, 2017

    This airline specializes in being a cheap way to travel. Their planes are not too uncomfortable, however, snacks and drinks on the plane are only available for purchase. The seats are not terrible but do not recline further than they are installed. The airline is okay if you have a very short flight, but for anything more than an hour and a half, I recommend another airline.

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  • User Score

    6

    June 2nd, 2017 Salt Lake City, UT

    Frontier provides cheap flights, so expect just that. If you have low expectations, you won't be disappointed. I think it is silly to have to pay for a carry-on. Seats are not the most comfortable but with frontier, you get what you paid for and that is it.

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  • User Score

    5

    May 26th, 2017 Rock Springs, WY

    We definitely love the affordability of Frontier and we will definitely use this airline again, however not in the winter months. We fly out of Denver and this last year was such a mess. We were at the airport to catch a flight at 4:30 pm, due to weather it got delayed over and over until 11:30 when they finally cancelled our flight, it felt like they could have prepared for this situation much better. In the meantime they lost our bags (thankfully not the car seats) we couldn't re-book our flight until three days later everything was such a mess. Then they lost a bag on that flight as well. However, they did refund us for lost items in our bag until they were returned to us and also gave each of us a voucher for a future flight. So it was frustrating but resolved. Once again it was stressful, but eventually handled and they did give us someone to email who immediately responded to help with our baggage situation.

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  • User Score

    0

    May 25th, 2017

    Declared bankruptcy and cancelled all flights while I was in the air. Would have lost the cost of the ticket if the initial airline wasn't holding the money for both legs of the flight.

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  • User Score

    0

    January 21st, 2017 Pittsburgh, PA

    Absolutely the worst airline I've ever flown with. From the purchasing of the tickets , all the extra fees for carry on baggage, seat fees, rude employees. Then 5 hr delay no notification until 2 hrs after we arrived at airport for departure to home. Then when arriving to pittsburgh our luggage was damaged and no frontier people around to file claim. I then arrive home to find in my email 2 $100 vouchers for future flight. Are you kidding me? I spent more than that at airport waiting for my delayed flight. I will never book a flight through frontier again I will take a 8 hr layover over with another airline to save the headaches this company has caused.

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  • User Score

    0

    December 21st, 2016 Grand Rapids, MI

    Frontier is the worst functioning business I have ever had an interaction with. I don't know how they spread so much disappointment and rage and still manage to stay in business. Our flight to Cleveland was one of hundreds canceled out of Denver the weekend before Christmas, but not before it was moderately delayed so we still had to get up at 3am and drive two hours through the mountains in the off chance that it left on time. They tried to claim it was weather related so they wouldn't have to comp any hotels or more expensive tickets for the thousands of people they screwed over, even though it had been beautiful for days and no other airlines were having these problems. Lines were horrendously long to talk to customer service and remedy our canceled flight. We were the lucky few in the first thirty people or so of the line and only waited a little over an hour. Other poor souls were hundreds of people back in line and, if they are finally done waiting two days later, should sue for emotional distress damages. When we finally got up to the service counter, the customer service agent seemed like she could care less and just wanted a nap. She was not helpful at all. She had no recommendations for us. We were told we couldn't fly into Cleveland until Friday! (Mind you, this occurred at 9am Monday) We finally got out of her that we could get tickets on a flight to Cincinnati, but that was only after we asked about flights to 4 other cities. She was completely unforthcoming with any helpful information. Upon asking about our luggage that had been checked to Cleveland, we were told that our checked bag would be taken off the canceled flight to Cleveland and we could pick it up at baggage claim, recheck it on the new flight to Cincinnati and go back through security. When we arrived at baggage claim there were hundreds or suitcases strewn around the carousels. After waiting half an hour (at this point our flight had been canceled for about 2 hours already), I was told that our bag was going to go to Cleveland anyway, despite the fact that the flight was canceled. I was ready to leave baggage claim on that knowledge, when my husband talked to someone else who said to wait there and the bags would come up on the carousel in about 45 minutes. Now we had conflicting information and we had to track down someone else to confirm which was correct. It turned out our bags would indeed be showing up. Get your story straight people! How does a company allow an employee to go around telling customers completely false information? If I had relied on that information my day would have been even worse! From the time the flight was canceled to the time the luggage made it back to baggage claim was almost three hours! After checking our bag to Cincinnati, the plane to Cincinnati ended up being 5 hours delayed! At one point, it was delayed a half hour every half hour for three hours. Get it together people! Don't string someone on like that. As hope that we would make it to Cincinnati that night and still be conscious enough to drive to Cleveland ebbed away, we started looking for other options. We ended up getting on a standby list for a flight to Columbus and getting on that plane. With all this bouncing around between flights, I was told we could fill out a form directing the airline to ship our bag to us in Cleveland when it landed in Cincinnati. When we landed in Columbus I asked a frontier agent where I could fill out the form. She didn't know what I was talking about! She told me to call customer service. More conflicting information, imagine that. I called customer service and proceeded to wait on hold for 2.5 hours! Yes, the entire drive from Columbus to Cleveland consisted of me waiting on hold with Frontier customer service. But wait, there's more! Upon talking to a person, she told me my bag had actually been pulled off the Cincinnati flight when it was discovered we were no longer on it and was in Denver. She took the address for delivery and said the bag would be overnighted. Imagine my surprise when I got a voice mail the next afternoon saying I had to call Frontier baggage at Cincinnati and provide delivery information because our bag was actually in Cincinnati! Six hours and 20 phone calls later, I was finally able to talk to someone who said my bag did, in fact, make it to Cincinnati and I had to give them delivery information to ship it. Does no one know anything? Who spreads all this false information to so many employees? How is it that one company can have so much conflicting information? This fiasco is the absolute epitome of incompetence. And my story is better than some others. I made it home that day. The same cannot be said for everyone Frontier screwed over this past weekend. I hope these atrocities indicate a company in its death throws that will soon be nothing but a distant memory of anguish and a warning to others how not to run an airline.

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  • User Score

    2

    September 16th, 2016

    This is absolute nonsense, the ridiculous cost of ANY baggage means that you aren't paying any less than another (read: better) airline. Also, if you check in and choose a seat, it will range from 13-35 extra dollars. There aren't any employees at the airport willing to help, plus their website is insanely unhelpful. Never flying Frontier again.

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  • User Score

    0

    March 22nd, 2016 Denver, CO

    I read the article on the "Bestcompany" site and am HORRIFIED! This is the worst airline I've ever flown, and I will never pay them again. They overbook and deny they overbook. Stay away from them.

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  • User Score

    0

    September 2nd, 2015 Denver, CO

    On Frontier flight 775 out of Denver, the plane is filthy filthy!!#

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  • User Score

    0

    August 24th, 2015 Littleton, CO

    Used to be a good airline but terrible in the past few years. I finally gave up flying them. Flew to Nashville and on the return flight I arrive at the airport to find no one at the counter. They have a 45 min. minimum check in and no one to check you in. Finally got an email 30 mins before my flight that it was delayed SIX hours! No compensation. I bought a ticket to Seattle. A month before my flight they told me instead of leaving at 7 AM I was leaving at 7 PM- cancelling an entire day of my vacation. Then they tried to charge me to cancel my ticket. Several hour wait times on the phone to talk to a rude human who was no help. Finally Facebook and Twitter bombed them to get my money back. HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE! Don't fly them under any circumstances.

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  • User Score

    2

    August 23rd, 2015 Selbyville, DE

    I loved flying Frontier from Wilmington DE to Orlando FL. Made the trip several times during the brief period that it was offered. HOWEVER, almost every phone call I've made to Frontier, I was put on an automatic 55 minute hold. Which is not pretty if you're calling from your cell phone and your battery is draining away. Sending them an email with a question put you in a one-week wait for a response. Seriously?? Every time I flew on the weekends, the plane seemed to be packed. But flying during the week was less full. Then they changed their schedule so that, unless you were retired like me, you had to take SIX DAYS VACATION to fly to Orlando and get both your weekends. Apparently, Frontier wasn't happy with their bad schedule either, and pulled out of ILG altogether. If only they would fly one piece of equipment out of ILG every weekend, say early Saturday morning, and one flight back from Orlando late Sunday afternoon, they'd probably be full up. But they didn't seem to be concerned about customer feedback. So we're all back to flying out of Philly or Baltimore when Wilmington would be so much easier. Don't love them anymore.

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  • User Score

    0

    August 23rd, 2015 Aurora, CO

    They took the TVs away, changed the seats (they are so uncomfortable and HARD, no reclining) shorter leg room, the pull down trays are a joke....so small you can just fit a beverage cup on it. Had to PAY to get a seat assignment! Pretty soon they will charge for the air that we breathe. Charging for carry-ons? Geez. Oh yeah....Brand new hard suitcase cracked.

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  • User Score

    0

    August 23rd, 2015 Chicago, IL

    My daughter hurt her back. My wife booked a ticket to go to Denver to help her. My daughter has a 5 year old and a 13 month old. Just 1 day before departure my wife came down with the flu. I called Frontier to change the name on the ticket to mine. I only needed to change the first name (4 letters)THEY WOULD NOT DO THIS!!! I had to buy another ticket. I booked the same seat on the same flight! it was expensive. I think it stinks!

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  • User Score

    8

    August 22nd, 2015 Trenton, NJ

    We fly Frontier out of Trenton to Ft Myers Fla..love the small airport and easy access from home, however, I do have issue with the pricing for "in season" flights to Ft Myers.. If I want to book now, it would cost over $1500 for two people for a 4 day stay..I didn't pay that for my recent trip which was 14 days I realize that flying back on a weekend is more but I refuse to pay that ridiculous amount for basically the same route. Overall, the airline is great...last trip down, the flight attendants were awesome, didn't spend the money on their snacks and did pay extra for stretch seating. I do feel that carry on's should be free but the idea of not having to go to baggage claim at any airport is a plus..Will def fly them again!

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  • User Score

    3

    August 22nd, 2015 Elkton, MD

    Friendly flight staff. TINY seats, the most uncomfortable I have ever been in! Very little padding, tiny tray tables. Low costs are eliminated by the fact that EVERYTHING costs extra. OK for very short flights but I would never go a long way...hour max. Many convenient airports have been eliminated and check in service at larger airports is miserable. Gate opened late and folks were waiting in line for quite a while to check in. You get what you pay for!

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