The key to taking advantage of low-cost carriers like Frontier Airlines is to understand that their business model is to unbundle the cost of baggage and other optional services from their ticket fares. That way, they’re able to provide a seemingly inexpensive flight option while increasing their profitability with relatively costly optional add-ons.
Knowing how baggage fee pricing varies can help you save money on your next Frontier Airlines flight.
What Are Frontier Airlines Baggage Fees?
With Frontier, the earlier you secure your baggage allowance, the cheaper it will be. For example, on a flight from Seattle (SEA) to Denver (DEN), a carry-on bag would cost you $57 if you pay during booking and $68 before or at check in. If you wait and decide to pay when you get to the desk at the airport, the same carry-on bag will cost you $79, or $99 if you wait until the boarding process.
Frontier has a nifty bag price checker tool on its website that allows you to calculate the fees before you even make the booking.
As with many other U.S.-based airlines, a personal item is allowed onboard without a fee. This can be a purse, a tote, a briefcase or computer bag, a children’s backpack or a diaper bag and any other similar items. But, do keep in mind that whatever the item, its dimensions cannot exceed 14 inches by 18 inches by 8 inches if you do not want to incur any carry-on fees.
Bringing carry-on luggage into the cabin will set you back a pretty penny each direction, depending on your departure and destination cities. Bag size may not be larger than 10 inches by 16 inches by 24 inches, and weigh no more than 35 pounds.
To find the exact cost for your carry-on bag, you’ll need to input your flight information in Frontier’s calculator.
For a flight from Atlanta to Cancun, this is what you can expect to pay for this specific flight. Prices can change by date and even by time. As you can see, a carry-on item is quite expensive.
The cost for checked bags is usually slightly cheaper than a carry-on, simply because with carry-on only, you’re off the plane and on with your day. Checking a bag will save you some cash, but you’ll be spending more time waiting for those bags in the terminal.
The maximum size for checked bags may not exceed 62 linear inches (calculated by adding length, width and depth). These measurements are inclusive of anything sticking out of the bag, like handles, wheels or straps. The maximum weight is 40 pounds.
Any bags larger than 62 linear inches will be charged $75 per flight, and Frontier will not transport any bag larger than 110 linear inches. Luggage weighing between 41 and 50 pounds will be charged $75 per bag, per flight, whereas bags ranging 51 to 100 pounds will set you back $100 per bag, per flight. Bags 100 pounds or more will not be accepted, with the exception of assistive devices (such as wheelchairs) or musical instruments.
- Bikes: Frontier lets you check your bike to your destination for $75 per segment as long as the handle bar is fixed sideways and the pedals removed or securely wrapped. The bicycle dimensions are not to exceed their standard 109 linear inches or weigh more than 99.9 pounds.
- Firearms: Firearms are allowed in checked bags on any domestic flights, provided you are over 18 years of age, they are declared, unloaded and properly packed in a locked, hard-sided suitcase. Do make sure to follow all instructions and regulations as any violation can incur criminal prosecution and civil penalties of up to $10,000. The standard checked bag fee will apply to your checked firearm, as well as any weight and size restrictions.
- Pets: You are allowed to bring a pet with you into the cabin, provided it can stay in a carrier that fits under the seat in front of you. You are still allowed a personal item or a carry-on in addition to the pet carrier. The pet charge is $99 one way. Frontier allows domesticated dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters or small household birds in domestic U.S. flights, but only domesticated cats and dogs are allowed on its international flights. The airline does not transport any pets as checked baggage.
- Sports equipment: You can bring your sports equipment along and it will be treated as regular checked baggage and all checked bag fees will apply. This covers golf, hockey, ski and snowboard, tennis and bowling equipment, for example. For other larger, more unique sports gear such as kayaks, canoes and hand gliding equipment, there are some exceptions allowing you to check these items which normally exceed size restrictions. For more details on Frontier Airlines fragile and special items handling, you can visit its website.
- Musical instruments: Musical Instruments can be brought along either as carry-on or in checked bags and will incur the same fees. Small instruments like violins and guitars may exceed carry-on dimensions as long as they still fit in overhead bins when boarding. Larger instruments, like cellos, may be carried onboard as long as a seat is purchased for them.
It is worth keeping in mind that baggage fees are nonrefundable. Once you purchase the add-on for your trip, you will not get your money back even if you do not check a bag, or cancel your overall flight.
How Do I Avoid Baggage Fees on Frontier Airlines?
Given that Frontier’s whole business model revolves around ancillary fees, including baggage fees, there aren’t many options to do away with paying them. But you do have a few options where you can save some money or avoid the fee altogether.
If you know ahead of time you will need to travel with a carry-on or a checked bag, it may be more cost effective to book your ticket as a bundle. Frontier offers several perks when bundling, which can include a carry-on and a checked bag for every passenger in the same reservation.
Both the Works bundle and the Perks bundle include the same carry-on and checked bag fee benefits, but each comes with other perks that can make your experience much more enjoyable and even save you some money.
How To Get Baggage Fees Waived on Frontier
The best way to completely eliminate having to pay baggage fees on Frontier Airlines is to obtain elite status. Once you have flown 20,000 miles or 20 segments, you’ll reach the entry level status, Elite 20K level, which will waive the cost of a carry-on on every flight, along with a few other elite perks.
If you are a much more frequent traveler with Frontier, and you can reach the top-most tier by flying 100,000 miles or 100 segments, you will be granted Elite 100K status and you will be able to check your bag for free.
Starting in 2024, Frontier Miles elite members will have even more ways to save on bag fees. Those who reach Elite 50K status (which will be renamed “Platinum”) will get one free carry-on and checked bag for everyone on their booking, and Elite 100K (which will be renamed “Diamond”) members will get a second free checked bag for everyone on their booking. Frontier will also be adding a new entry level Silver tier that will only require 10,000 qualifying miles to reach, but unfortunately it won’t offer any bag benefits.
It’s worth noting that if you are a Frontier Airlines World Mastercard®* cardholder, you will earn one qualifying mile for every dollar spent. That way, you may be able to spend your way into being an elite member by combining actual flown miles with your mileage earned from your credit card spend. Also, Frontier is currently running a promotion that allows cardholders to earn Gold status (Elite 20K) by spending $3,000 on their cards between now and the end of February 2024.
Use a Premium Credit Card with Travel Credit Benefits
While this isn’t technically waiving the fee, a creative way to lower your out-of-pocket bag fees is to leverage the travel credit reimbursement benefit that is offered by a series of premium travel credit cards. For most of these credit cards, all you have to do is use them to pay for the baggage fee and it will be credited back to you.
For example, if you were to use your Chase Sapphire Reserve® card to pay for anything within the travel category, including Frontier’s baggage fees and other incidentals, you would see a fee adjustment on your statement for “travel credit $300/year” crediting back the fees for a total of up to $300 a year.
Another option is the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, which will credit back $300 a year after a purchase on the travel category as a Capital One travel credit on your statement, which would cover your baggage fees.
Other cards with similar travel credit benefits are The Platinum Card® from American Express (up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline; enrollment required; terms apply, see rates & fees) and the U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card* ($325/year).
Different cards have different annual caps on this benefit, so do keep track of your overall yearly amount to make sure you’re not going over and end up having to pay up yourself.
Active-Duty Military Personnel
The only other non-elite passengers who get baggage fee waivers are active-duty military personnel who present a Common Access Card at check-in. This benefit allows them to travel with a free personal item, a free carry-on bag and up to two free checked pieces of luggage.
Note that these benefits do not extend to the military personnel’s travel companion even if they are family members.
What Items Are Exempted From Baggage Fees on Frontier?
As with many airlines, some items are exempted from paying baggage fees as they are deemed necessary to bring along in certain conditions. Essential baby items, like strollers and baby car seats, or mobility devices like wheelchairs do not incur checked bag fees, and carry-on items like diaper bags are not charged as carry-on items.
Now that you have a glimpse into all the pricing details for Frontier Airlines baggage fees and the ways to work the system to take advantage of it, you’re on your way to saving some money on fees on your next trip.
To view rates and fees for The Platinum Card® from American Express please visit this page.