Frontier Airlines – Tips to Prepare for Upcoming Policy Changes & Fees

Frontier-A new kinda sucky animalAs you may have heard in the news, yet another airline falls prey to scheming ways to essentially rob us, the customer, the consumer.  These changes take effect on July 1, 2013, no matter when you booked your summer travel plans.  But, will these changes affect you? Let’s look at the what their changes are by looking at the verbiage, and I will address each one so you can try to get the best deal possible.  Because Frontier is still Denver-based, it certainly can have an impact on our travels in and out of the Mile High City and especially on how you book your tickets, vacation packages, and cruises.

If you did not get the notice from Frontier, it’s here in full print: 

The gist of the policy changes are as follows:

Carry-on Baggage
As a customer who books your tickets directly on, you will continue to receive a free carry-on bag in the overhead bin. Our customers have told us that finding overhead bin space for carry-on bags has become increasingly difficult, so we will be introducing a fee for carry-on bags for customers who buy Basic fares through third-party websites starting this summer. When these changes take place, you’ll find more space in the overhead bins for your bags.

What does this mean for you?  It means that you have to book on to get a free carry-on in the overhead bin.  It means if you book through a third party website, travel agent, or as part of your cruise or vacation package, AND if your flight is on Frontier, plan on checking bags.  Do not bring a carry-on for the overhead bin.  If you do, check it on-line in advance for $25 to avoid paying $100.   ARE YOU MILITARY FLYING?  Frontier does not talk about military anywhere on its policy or its website about these changes.  Your best bet is to call and ask.  This really is a crappy policy considering how many of us have to book through travel agents, especially when traveling for work.  At least then, your work would pay the fees, and not you.  Still, it is such an arbitrary rule.   As an aside, one thing I have noticed every single time I fly frontier airlines versus other airlines is how freaked out each flight attendant is about the overhead bin space.  They make announcements about the overhead space so many times.  They say it half a dozen times before you board, another few times before you even sit down, and then a dozen more times, as if the overhead bin space was some sacred, magic location.  Seriously?   Also, how is charging for it going to make it any less of a problem?  People will either pay on-line or stuff everything into a duffel and stuff a bunch of things under the seats.  I do not think the underlying issue will be resolved at all, and thus, Frontier, you may be even more drastic in the future.  Here is a solution, Frontier:  Just stop serving customers- overhead bin problem solved.

Checked Bags
When you buy a Classic or Classic Plus ticket, you will continue to receive two free checked bags, regardless of where you booked. For Basic and Economy tickets booked on or after June 1, 2013 for travel on or after July 11, 2013, the fee to check a first bag will remain $20 when purchased during online check-in at However, the fee will increase to $25 when purchased at airport check-in. Second bag fees for Economy and Basic bags remain unchanged at $20.

What does this mean for you?   It means the same as before.  Frontier does this crazy form of “class” discrimination and as I stated before in a separate post, economy seats are akin to lepers.   You have to continue to be Classic or classic plus to get that free bag allowance, but now the only change is that it will be $25 at the airport – $5 more.  So, I guess they want you to do it on-line.  Again, I do not see this solving the problem at all of reducing carry-ons, freeing overhead bin space, and seems very arbitrary.  ARE YOU MILITARY?  Again, no official word I have seen on that.  If you see something, please share it here for our readers.  I am assuming military with ID will still continue to get checked bags free but we will see.

Onboard Beverages
Onboard beverages will continue to be free for customers who purchase Classic and Classic Plus fares, when you show your boarding pass to a flight attendant. Effective July 1, 2013, customers who purchase Economy or Basic fares will be charged $1.99 for coffee, tea, soda and juice. All customers will now receive a full can of soda or juice and customers choosing coffee will be offered free refills. In addition, we will be making improvements to our beverage selection, including introducing a premium tea brand and Boyer’s coffee, a premium Colorado brand.

What does this mean for you?   This is a big change for those who book economy seats because now, that tiny little ice-filled cup of soda or water that you get will no longer be presented.  For me, it is no big deal because I carry my water bottle on board, and do the same for the kiddos.  But this can affect lots of passengers.  My recommendation is to bring your Eco-friendly, or refillable water bottles for your whole family, and after security, fill it up.  Also, buy your soda or beverage before you go on board, and keep it in the seat pocket in front of you.  If it spills, so be it, right?  I view this as “nickle and diming” your customers, but others agree with this change because they think it will keep their costs of a ticket low.  I do not think that is the case because the Airlines will always claim they are in trouble no matter what is going on, and a small cup of water/soda does not break the bank of a multimillion business of transporting passengers across the country.  Anyway, bring your own beverage, and if you end up needing a drink on board, I guess at $1.99 per can, it’s a bargain!  Bring a credit card- Frontier is a cashless cabin.

EarlyReturns® Mileage Earnings for Base Members
All EarlyReturns members who book on will continue to earn a minimum of 100% of their miles flown. Beginning July 1, 2013, we will change the mileage accrual rate for customers who purchase a Basic fare on a third-party website from 50% to 25% of miles flown. Economy, Classic and Classic Plus ticket holders will continue to receive 100%, 125% and 150% of miles flown, respectively — another reason to always book your travel at

What does this mean for you?   This is by far the biggest impact change for those who go through a travel agent or have to book through their corporate travel agency.  If you book through Expedia, Travelocity, Kayak, Orbitz, etc., you will only get a percentage of the miles flown.  If you book through FlyFrontier you get 100% of the miles.  This will affect corporate travelers the most or those who perhaps book a vacation or cruise package through, and other such sites.  It is a crappy move, as I see it because it costs them nothing to give miles to people who fly those miles but continues to find ways to lose customers.  Giving someone the miles they have legitimately earned costs them nothing, and gains loyalty.  This move is so confusing to me and why Frontier continues to evolve into this European-type airline, I do not get.  My tip to you is if you are affected by this rule change is to pick a different airline to fly when you book your cruise/vacation package or make sure you are going to receive 100% of the miles through your corporate booking agent/travel agent. 

My bottom line tip to you if these changes impact you is to fly with other airlines especially Southwest Airlines.  The market governs our economy and you are the market.

How is your experience with Frontier and what are your opinions?  Feel free to share your experiences with Frontier in the comments below.

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