Frontier Airlines is a Denver-based budget airline that’s been around since 1994. Known for low fares and a family-friendly bundling program called Discount Den, this airline is a good one to consider when saving money is your top priority. Familiarize yourself with Frontier’s baggage fees and policies for 2021, including relevant COVID-19 updates, here.
In this post you'll learn:
Carry on + Checked Bag Allowance for 2021
Frontier Airlines includes one free personal item per ticket but unfortunately does not offer free carry-on bags as many airlines do. You may bring a carry-on, but it will cost extra. See the next section for details on baggage pricing.
Your complimentary personal item must not exceed 8 inches by 18 inches by 14 inches in size. You should be able to place this under the seat in front of you without issue.
Carry-on bags may measure up to 10 inches deep, 16 inches wide, and 24 inches tall (handles included). Carry-ons may weigh no more than 35 pounds and they must fit in the overhead bin. If they don’t, you’ll need to check them.
Each bag you check must measure less than 62 linear inches and weigh less than 50 pounds. These restrictions are about average in the industry as of 2021.
Free to carry on with you are car seats, mobility assistive devices like walkers and crutches, and other medical- or child-related necessities. Special items that may have their own size and weight rules and/or exceptions include sporting equipment such as bicycles and surfboards, child restraint systems like strollers and playpens, and musical instruments. Most of these are still subject to excess baggage fees.
Passengers that fly with an infant less than two years old may bring a diaper bag at no additional charge. A fee of $99 is charged both ways per pet that flies with you in the cabin.
For more information, take a look at the complete list of baggage restrictions and exceptions at Frontier Airlines here.
How to Pay for Baggage
You may choose to add baggage to your flight during booking, at the ticket counter, or at the gate. Adding bags while making your booking is the cheapest option while purchasing them at the gate before boarding is, not surprisingly, the most expensive.
Frontier Airlines determines checked baggage fees by route and therefore does not have set prices. However, you can probably expect your first checked bag to cost anywhere from $37 to $55, your second checked bag to cost anywhere from $49 to $55, and your third checked bag to cost anywhere from $84 to $95. These prices vary depending on when you add bags to your booking. Take a look at the example flight below for an idea of how the pricing may look.
ATL (Atlanta) > CLE (Cleveland)
|Bags added to booking…||1st Checked Bag|
|During Booking Online/App||$37|
|Before Check-In Online/App||$39|
|At Check-In Online/App||$41|
|At Airport Kiosk or Ticket Counter||$55|
|At Airport Boarding Gate||$60|
|Call Customer Service||$55|
As you can see, adding a bag as you book a flight is the way to go, and you can always remove these from your booking later if you find that you don’t need it after all.
Note that you will not be permitted to add more than one checked bag to your flight at the airport boarding gate.
Use this handy tool on the Frontier Airlines website to find out exactly how much the baggage in your existing reservation or a reservation you have yet to make will cost. If you book with Volaris, you’ll need to check prices through the Volaris website.
Carry-on baggage costs about the same as the first checked bag, in some cases a tad more. If you do end up purchasing carry-on baggage, you’ll automatically be bumped into Zone 1 Boarding, making you one of the first passengers on the plane (which may come in handy because seats are assigned randomly from whatever is left unless you opt to pay extra to pick your own).
You can add bags to your booking by going online, logging in to the Frontier Airlines website to see your trip, and selecting “Manage Trip.” Then you can review or change any aspect of your flight. Alternatively, you can use the Frontier Airlines mobile app for iPhones or Androids.
Be sure to check your bags at least 45 minutes before your plane’s scheduled departure. You may check them up to two hours before your plane’s scheduled departure if this is more convenient. If you’re checking in online, you may do so up to 24 hours and as little as 60 minutes before your flight is scheduled to depart.
Please be aware that mandatory temperature screenings, social distancing measures, and enhanced cleaning protocols in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19 may slow your check-in process. Frontier Airlines is encouraging all passengers to download their passes on their phones, check in virtually, and avoid counters as much as possible when flying during this time. Be on the lookout for updates as this situation unfolds.
You may decide to purchase a bundle when booking if you want to save money on baggage and fly with additional benefits such as priority boarding and refundability. Check out the WORKS bundle if you want extra bags added to your flight, preferred seating, and added flexibility and the PERKS bundle for extra bags and preferred seating. Bundles may only be applied to round-trip bookings.
Additional Baggage Charges and Maximum Limits
When you fly Frontier, you really want to make sure that your baggage adheres to size and weight restrictions. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with oversized and overweight baggage fees.
If the dimensions of your checked bag exceed 62 linear inches, you will be charged $75. If your bag weighs more than the permitted 50 pounds, you’ll be charged $75. If any of your bags are both too large and too heavy, you’ll be charged $150 each. These are the prices across all ticket fares and regardless of route.
Bags weighing more than 100 pounds and measuring greater than 110 linear inches will not be allowed to fly unless expressly stated otherwise in the complete Special Items List. If you’re not sure about something you want to bring, call (801) 401-9000 or your nearest Frontier Airlines airport. On routes to or from Canada, bags weighing more than 70 pounds will not be permitted.
DOT-approved car seats and harnesses, wheelchairs, and medical equipment are all exempt from oversize and overweight fees.
Cards That Offer Free Bags
If you travel a lot, you already know that credit cards are the name of the game when it comes to reducing baggage fees.
The following travel credit cards make it possible to fly with checked bags for free with Frontier Airlines using points, built-in benefits, and travel vouchers.
- Frontier Airlines World Mastercard – qualify for one mile per dollar you spend on Frontier Airlines purchases and receive a $100 flight voucher annually to be used on tickets, baggage fees, seat upgrades, etc. (plus 40,000 bonus miles when you sign up and spend at least $500 within the first three months)
- Capital One Venture Rewards – earn two points for every dollar you spend on any type of purchase (plus 60,000 bonus miles when you open an account and spend $3,000 within the first three months)
- Chase Sapphire Preferred – earn two points or miles for every dollar you spend on travel, dining, and grocery purchases and one point on everything else (plus 60,000 bonus points just for signing up if you apply now and spend $4,000 in the first three months)
- Bank of America Travel Rewards – earn 1.5 points for every dollar you spend on any type of purchase, with no limit on how many you can earn (plus 25,000 bonus points when you sign up and spend at least $1,000 in the first three months)
- Citi Premier – earn three points per dollar at restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations and on travel including airfare, car rentals, and hotel stays (plus 60,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 within the first three months of account opening)
Using credit card points for travel is a good habit to get into anyway and it’s one of the easiest ways to get checked bags for free at Frontier Airlines.
Loopholes and Exclusions
Active-duty U.S. military personnel receive one free carry-on bag and two free checked bags in addition to the one free personal item afforded all passengers upon presentation of a valid ID at the time of booking. These two free checked bags are exempt from oversize and overweight fees.
One loophole, if it can be considered that, a lot of Frontier fans use is to travel with only a personal item on short trips. This may mean purchasing toiletries and other necessities after arriving at your destination, but it’s a good way to cut costs. Otherwise, an easy way to reduce baggage fees when flying Frontier is to add bags to your booking right away and check them as soon as possible.
Another way to avoid baggage fees is to reach elite status with Frontier Miles or bundle your ticket add-ons. Both Frontier Miles Elite members and passengers who add the WORKS bundle to their booking are entitled to one free carry-on bag per flight.
To become a Frontier Miles Elite member you just need to sign up for free here. At the Elite 20K tier, you are entitled to priority boarding, fee waivers, and a free carry-on bag. At the Elite 50K tier, you are entitled to these things as well as priority seating and a 1.25x mileage multiplier. At the very top, the Elite 100K tier, you get a 1.5x mileage multiplier as well as a free checked bag on every flight as well as the other perks mentioned.
You can earn miles on every Frontier trip you take, whenever you use a Frontier World Mastercard, and/or by making purchases at Frontier’s mileage partners (e.g. Budget, Marriott Bonvoy, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, etc.).
How to These Baggage Fees Compare to Similar Airlines
Compared to other airlines like it, Frontier Airlines is only slightly above average in terms of baggage prices, but it doesn’t give passengers as many freebies. For starters, many popular budget airlines like American Airlines and Southwest Airlines give every passenger a free carry-on bag, even those flying Basic Economy or Economy. Some even give you your first checked bag for free.
Additionally, Frontier’s checked baggage prices are a bit high for a budget airline. It’s fairly typical for your first checked bag to cost as little as $30 with other airlines, so the prices at Frontier are not as low as they could be.
With that said, Frontier’s fees for oversized and overweight luggage are slightly below average. Many airlines charge well over $100 per oversize or overweight checked bag, sometimes reaching $200 a piece.
If you want to travel with extra perks and allowances but don’t want to pay the premium this would cost if you were to add everything to your booking individually, you might consider adding a bundle to your booking. These are popular with passengers making longer trips who need to take more bags with them and with larger parties who benefit from increased seating and booking flexibility.
Frontier Airlines does in fact have low prices on a number of domestic flights, but this budget airline can quickly get expensive when you add baggage to your bookings. But if you travel pretty light and are good at planning in advance, Frontier is definitely one of the cheapest airlines of 2021. Make good use of your travel credit cards and work toward elite status with Frontier Miles to stretch your budget even further.