Frontier Airlines is one of the cheapest airlines to fly within the continental United States.
However, it comes with a reputation of poor service, constant delays, and an uncomfortable flight experience.
For some people, though, if it gets you from point A to point B, there’s no need to fly in luxury.
The most important thing to ask yourself is if the airline is safe?
Here are 10 things to know about Frontier Airlines.
Is Frontier Airlines Safe? (10 Things To Know)
1. It Is Certified By The FAA
The Federal Aviation Administration must inspect and certify every airline that flies in and out of United States airports.
The FAA is a subsidiary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and every airline must undergo a rigorous vetting and inspection process to receive approval to fly.
The fact that Frontier Airlines is certified by the FAA means that it is safe enough, according to the United States government, to take large numbers of clients in and out of commercial airports.
2. There Has Never Been A Fatal Crash
Since its inception in 1994, Frontier Airlines has never been involved in a fatal crash.
It’s worth noting that there used to be a different Frontier Airlines that existed from 1950 to 1986.
This airline suffered a fatal crash where some passengers passed away.
Some people hear about this 1978 crash and assume it is the same Frontier Airlines that operates today.
The two companies are separate, and the old Frontier Airlines went out of business.
The Frontier Airlines of today has never been involved in any fatal crashes, which is something not many airlines can say for themselves.
This is something to keep in mind when booking your flights.
Frontier Airlines has a great track record.
3. Frontier Invests In Top-Of-The-Line Aircraft
Frontier flies with a variety of plane models.
Their fleet includes 19 Airbus A320-200s, 72 A320neos, 21 Airbus A321-200s, 168 Airbus A321neos, and an indeterminate number of Airbus A321XLRs.
By these numbers, Frontier Airlines invests a lot of money in its Airbus A321neos.
This carrier model, in addition to the A320neos, has great flight records, meaning that they are some of the safest aircraft options available for commercial use.
Frontier is constantly updating its fleet, meaning that it keeps its technology up to date.
The average age of their carriers is young compared to other airline companies.
This can be a good sign because it shows the company is always ready for the next best, safest technology for its consumers.
However, it could also mean that the company is more likely to use newer models that haven’t proven a long safety record yet.
Pilots for Frontier Airlines have a significant number of requirements they must fulfill before they can be hired.
Some of the qualifications include 2,500 hours total time, 750 hours multi-engine fixed-wing, 500 hours pilot in command, 500 hours jet/turboprop, current FAA Class 1 Medical Certificate, vision corrected to 20/20, ATP certificate, and an FCC Restricted Radio Operator’s Permit.
As you can see, there are a lot of requirements a pilot must meet before he or she can be hired.
These requirements not only include practice in the cockpit, but also medical knowledge, perfect eyesight, and the ability to work a radio.
This ensures that you are in good hands for every flight.
It’s hard to compare pilot requirements between airlines because a lot of airlines use completely different standards in the hiring process.
One thing that can be said, though, is that Spirit Airlines has a higher hours requirement for multi-engine flights and total flight time.
Frontier Airlines also offers some of the lowest salaries in the business, encouraging employees to feel disgruntled.
This is something to keep in mind when you book a flight and support a business.
4. Median Timeliness Among Aircraft Carriers
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics in 2020, Frontier Airlines was average for on-time departures and arrivals compared to other U.S. flight carriers.
Though this doesn’t sound too promising, it was ahead of American Airlines and JetBlue (and between United Airlines and Alaska Air).
Still, Frontier has proven that it can compete with the more expensive airlines but does face issues due to the low budget and cheap flights.
5. Large Amount Of Cancellations
There’s no doubt you’ll make it to your destination safely, but there’s no guarantee you’ll get there on time.
The timeliness rate of Frontier Airlines is average and can compete with luxury airlines.
However, it is one of the worst airlines for cancellations.
6. High Amount Of Complaints
This one is a dealbreaker for many people.
According to Statista, Frontier Airlines received the most complaints per 100,000 passengers of any U.S. airline.
The competition wasn’t even close.
It’s important to consider that when people pay such cheap fares for their flight, these passengers might be more predisposed to act inappropriately and cause flight delays.
The company also had some issues with the FAA recently because several flights were operating without adequate medical supplies in case of emergency.
Frontier Airlines received a hefty fine from the FAA for this. In an official statement, the FAA said that in June and July of 2017, Frontier Airlines personnel installed emergency medical kits on their airplanes that did not include injectable epinephrine and/or atropine.
Both substances can mean life or death for a passenger, depending on the health issue.
Try not to look too much into this one since nearly every U.S. airline receives fines and complaints from the FAA at some point.
The airline has also done a good job addressing coronavirus safety, like other U.S. airlines.
Before and after every flight, Frontier staff perform an in-depth disinfection procedure in accordance with the Airbus Aircraft Maintenance Manual (AMM).
The procedure involves spraying all touchpoints and surfaces with disinfectant, opening doors to allow air circulation, and adding anti-bacterial soap to the restrooms.
Every flight uses High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestors (HEPA), which filter out 99.97% of all dust and airborne viruses and bacteria.
Even though a Frontier Airlines flight might cost half that of another airline’s flight, that doesn’t mean that you are jeopardizing your health and safety.
This is a very important consideration during flu season, especially in the aftermath of a pandemic.
7. Tickets Are Inexpensive
This is one of the biggest reasons people fly Frontier Airlines.
The base ticket itself can be even less than those of other airlines.
You can find flights for as low as $15.
This makes Frontier one of the most attractive airlines based on cost, but there are other things to bear in mind as well.
While this low fare works well for people who are traveling with just a personal item, these tickets don’t include any carry-on luggage or checked baggage.
Since the ticket is already so inexpensive, Frontier nickel-and-dimes you on almost everything else, including unexpected fees that other airlines might already include in their base fare.
If you pay for your baggage online while booking your fare, you can expect to pay about $39 for your carry-on.
Checked luggage will be about $34.
8. It’s A No-Frills Airline
The reason the fare is so cheap is that you are booking a base fare that doesn’t include anything else—no carry-on bag, no snacks, no seat selection.
All these things must be paid for separately, and often come with a hefty price tag.
Sometimes, it makes sense to just book a nicer airline because you might get some of these things already included in your fare.
However, if you’re just traveling with a personal item like a backpack, briefcase, or purse, Frontier Airlines is a great option.
There also aren’t any luxuries on the plane—no televisions in the seats, not even a Frontier Airlines magazine.
The seats feel like plastic, and it probably won’t be the best flight of your life (though the seats on Frontier flights are bigger than most), but it will get you from point A to point B.
9. Facing Several Lawsuits
A group of female pilots and flight attendants filed a lawsuit against the airline for discriminating against pregnant women and new mothers.
The airline allegedly forced them to take a long period of unpaid leave during pregnancy and didn’t allow women to take time to breastfeed during work hours.
Compared to other airlines, Frontier doesn’t pay its employees as much as a lot of other airlines.
In 2018, the average salary for a Frontier Airlines pilot was even lower than that for a Spirit Airlines pilot.
When looking at Frontier’s pilot requirements, they require fewer flight hours than Spirit Airlines and most others.
This, in addition to the lower pay, could mean that Frontier Airlines is hiring less experienced pilots who are willing to accept lower pay.
10. May Not Receive A Full Refund After 7 Days
Tickets purchased seven or more days before travel can be refunded at the airline’s discretion.
You likely won’t receive a full refund, though, because many of the fees involved in the original ticket price will not be returned to you.
You can request your refund on the Manage My Booking feature on the website or by reaching out to Frontier directly.
If you purchase a bundle, you will have more flexibility by being able to change your flight without penalty.
How Can I Avoid Baggage Fees?
There are a few ways that you can avoid the baggage fees and secure the most inexpensive flight possible.
Below are some ways to keep your Frontier Airlines flight at a minimum.
1. Join The myFRONTIER Elite Program
myFRONTIER is the name of Frontier’s elite loyalty program, which pays off if you often fly with Frontier.
There are three tiers. Elite 20k is for passengers who earned 20,000 status qualifying miles or purchased 25 flights.
These customers can receive a free carry-on.
Elite 50k is for passengers who earned 50,000 status qualifying miles or purchased 50 flights.
These customers also receive a free carry-on.
Elite 100k is for passengers who earned 100,000 status qualifying miles or purchased 100 flights.
These customers receive a free checked bag.
2. Purchase A Bundle
Frontier offers several bundles to help you get more bang for your buck.
THE WORKS bundle comes with a free carry-on, free checked bag, seat selection, priority boarding, flight flexibility, and 100% refundability.
THE PERKS is another type of bundle that comes with a free carry-on, free checked bag, seat selection, and priority boarding.
By upgrading your flight to one of these packages, you might find that your fare is still less expensive than similar flights with other U.S. airlines.
If you need to check bags anyway, you might find that these packages will save you money.
3. Pay With A Credit Card
By using some credit cards, you might be able to avoid some baggage fees with Frontier Airlines.
For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is one of the most popular travel rewards credit cards and allows users to earn three times the rewards on all purchases related to dining and travel.
One of the perks the card comes with is a $300 travel credit that you can use on anything travel-related including baggage fees.
The Bank of America Visa card also allows users to earn three times the points on travel-related purchases.
After a credit card payment is made, customers can then redeem the points accumulated to knock money off their next credit card bill for dining and travel-related purchases.
Some might assume that a Frontier Airlines credit card might secure even more benefits, but that’s not the truth.
Frontier Airlines MasterCard users still need to pay for their checked baggage.
4. Only Bring A Personal Item
Frontier Airlines allows you to bring one personal item for free.
This is any bag with an 8-inch depth, 18-inch width, and 14-inch height (or less).
If your backpack fits these measurements, you are more than welcome to use that as your free personal item.
If you have a short trip, or just need a few things, packing all your things into a medium backpack will save you a good amount of money.
Just make sure your bag will fit under a standard plane seat.
Frontier is known to catch people trying to get away with a carry-on bag as a personal item and then charging the customer a lot more for their bag at the gate.
5. Pay Your Baggage Fees Earlier Rather Than Later
If you know you are going to need a carry-on or checked luggage ahead of time, the cheapest way to pay for it is while you’re purchasing the flight.
After that. the price for baggage increases the closer you get to your flight.
If you purchase a carry-on while booking via web or mobile, you will pay $39.
After booking, you will pay $41.
During web check-in, you will pay $43.
At the airport ticket counter, you pay $55.
At the departure gate, you pay $60.
It is in your best interest to pay for your baggage as soon as possible, and you can save over $20 per bag.
Frontier Airlines is a budget airline that attracts customers for its low prices but can also dissuade people who are concerned that the flight won’t be safe.
Though you shouldn’t be concerned about the airline’s safety, there are some other risks involved such as potential cancellations, delays, or hidden fees.
A Frontier flight might appear $100 less than other flights, but when you add taxes and baggage fees, you might find that the price is higher.
If you want to make sure that your Frontier Airlines flight is as cheap as possible, don’t check a bag.
If you’re worried about trip flexibility and changes, purchase trip flexibility or one of the trip bundles.
Safety doesn’t have to be a concern, but timeliness might be.