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.
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.
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.
When flying with Frontier Airlines, there are several important checked baggage policies that customers should know in advance to arriving at the airport for travel. Frontier Airlines has different prices for checked baggage depending on when and where a customer chooses to check in their luggage. The cheapest option is to use the Flyfrontier website at the time of the ticket purchase to indicate how many bags need to be checked and to check them in online. This option will cost customers thirty dollars for the first bag, forty for a second and seventy-five-dollars for a third along with any additional bags. Customers who decide to check in luggage at an airport counter or at a self-help kiosk will be charged forty dollars for the first bag, forty-five for a second and eighty dollars for each additional bag. The most expensive option for Frontier Airline customers is to wait to check in a bag at the departure gate. This will cost sixty dollars for every bag that needs to be checked. Sixty dollars per bag is also the price Frontier Airlines charges customers whose luggage exceeds the standard requirement of fifty pounds per bag and sixty-two inches. However, an important thing to note about Frontier Airlines is that unlike many other airline companies, they do not allow a free carry-on bag. Frontier Airlines will allow passengers to bring a personal item such as a purse, laptop, or briefcase but a carry-on bag will cost an additional thirty-five to sixty dollars depending on where it is checked in, with the cheapest option being once again through the Flyfrontier website. Compared to other airlines, this checked baggage policy and procedure is not as customer friendly as some of the other companies in the industry. Most airlines include a carry-on bag as a free option and the prices for checked baggage are lower. Frontier Airlines charges customers for a carry-on bag and has higher prices on all checked baggage.
There are many different things that can happen before and during a trip that can cost a customer additional expenses. These are the type of situations that customers want insurance in knowing that some compensation might be available just in case. The following are the most important types of insurance an airline company can offer to their customers:
• Trip cancellations and refund policy
• Baggage delay or loss
• Special assistance during a flight
The Frontier Airline policy on trip cancellation and refunds is fairly standard. Customers have a twenty-four-hour grace period during which time they are able to cancel or make changes to any purchased tickets with a full refund and no penalty fees issued. After that grace period ends however, the type of ticket purchased comes into play. Frontier Airlines offers two types of tickets, refundable and non-refundable. A refundable ticket will cost more money upfront but allows customers the ability to cancel or make changes to any travel plans. Refundable tickets are given the option to purchase a new ticket, receive credit for the ticket amount to be used within one year, or to be refunded the cost of the ticket in the form of the original payment. Unfortunately, refundable tickets are only available to specialty seating aboard Frontier Airline flights. All Economy class tickets are non-refundable, and while they can be given credit to be used on future Frontier Airline flights within the same year, they will be charged a change free of ninety-nine-dollars. In the event that an unexpected life event happens causing a customer to cancel travel plans, Frontier Airlines will allow the ticket to be changed for up to ninety days without a penalty fee. These unexpected life events can include, jury duty or court subpoena, lost or stolen travel documents or illness of the customer, travel companion or immediate family member. For baggage that is lost or damaged during a Frontier Airlines flight, customers must report the claim within the first four hours of the flights arrival. After a claim is made, Frontier Airlines will continue to search for any missing luggage. Luggage that cannot be located has a thirty-five-hundred-dollar liability limit for all domestic flights. Frontier Airlines will also not compensate for any reasonable expenses that occur during delayed or lost baggage time. Any customer who are in need of special assistance during a flight can request such help prior to a flight. Frontier Airlines has all accommodations necessary to make traveling both safe and comfortable to passengers who might need any additional help. To better help customers, Frontier Airlines has twenty-four-seven worldwide assistance available by phone for anyone with questions or concerns.
The rewards program at Frontier Airlines is called the Frequent Flyer, Early Returns program. This program allows customers to earn reward miles by purchasing Frontier Airline tickets. Customer can receive a minimum of five hundred points or miles for every economy fare ticket purchased through Frontier Airlines. Customers can then continue collecting reward miles until enough are accrued to purchase travel fare. With the Frequent Flyer Early Returns program, an average of twenty thousand mile points is needed for a roundtrip domestic ticket anywhere in the United States. Although the type of ticket and destination of the flight are restricted and limited to only the options Frontier Airlines has available at the time of purchase. Additionally, the Early Returns rewards program does have blackout dates which restrict members from purchasing airline tickets with earned mileage points on certain days. These days depend on the tier level in the rewards program a customer belongs to and how many reward miles a member has earned. As a benefit to customers the points earned through this program do not expire as long as a member has activity at least every six months on their rewards account. Compared to other airline company’s rewards program, the Frontier Airlines Frequent Flyer Early Returns rewards program does not offer many benefits to their customers. Other airline companies in the industry have competitive rewards programs that offer no blackout dates, and unlimited fare options for reward point purchase. The restrictions Frontier Airlines has on their rewards members make the program not as competitive as others in the aviation reward industry.