With all the airlines merging it’s a good time to look into other options which might not be typical for the mileage runners/frequent flyer. After all, in the last few years the United States Aviation market has seen a number of airlines merged including Delta + NWA, United + Continental, SouthWest + AirTran, Frontier + MidWest and soon-to-be-announced American + US. This means with fewer airlines flying, ticket prices are going up and award availability is rapidly dropping. So over the next few days I want to introduce my readers to Frontier Airlines and their frequent flyer programs gems.
Frontier Airlines is a fairly young airline, established in 1994 with their main hub in Denver, Colorado. Although the airline merged with Midwest Express in 2009, the Midwest hubs have been consolidated and now almost all Frontier traffic connects through Denver. From Denver, the airline connects to almost every major city in the USA and beyond with a fleet of Airbus A318s, A319, A320s, and Embraer E-190.
The airline currently flies to 74 destinations in the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Puerto Rico in a “dual” class configuration similar to JetBlue, meaning they only really offer economy class, however some seats are marked as “stretched” giving the passenger up to 5″ in extra leg room. They offer Direct TV and live movies on TVs in every seat backs on their Airbus fleet and Wifi on their E-190s. Both of these can be used at an additional charge. The cost of the TVs fluctuates based on the length of the flight, with costs ranging from $3.99-$7.99. This cost can be subsidized when traveling in groups by $1 per swipe if 3 or more people pay for their TV sets with the same credit card! The other bonus is Frontier Airlines offers free TV to their elite passengers or those on Classic of ClassicPlus fares (the more expensive fares-fare class lesson will come another day).
In addition to on board entertainment, Frontier Airlines is very similar to other US airliners today catering food options and snacks to those willing to pay, after the merger with MidWest, Frontier got rid of the free warm cookies and transitioned to an atypical onboard catering program in 2012. The Airlines has an extensive list of onboard options starting at $1.50 and does offer complimentary soda. Beer, wine, and spirits start at $5 and a hidden gem including the ½ bottles of wine for $11-14!
Frontier has a frequent flyer program known as EarlyReturns, which rewards members for flying. Miles are earned based on the fare class. Frequent flyers earn between 0.5-1.5 miles per mile flown and offers three levels of flying benefits known as Base, Ascent, and Summit. The airline also offers reward trips starting for 10,000 miles one way! I will talk more about the EarlyReturns program another day.
As you can tell, Frontier is similar to other low-cost carriers in the United States. Offering low fares without any gimmicks. They sell add-ons for everything including wifi, baggage, early boarding, and more. They really are not any different than the legacy carriers, except they do not offer first class and offer a much smaller route map. Now that you know the basics of the airline, look for my future posts including understanding the different fare classes and an inside look to EarlyReturns-the hidden gems.