Frontier Airlines: If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them

As many of you know, I typically focus on legacy airlines when reporting on news, but something shocked me earlier today by Frontier Airlines that warrants a post and apology for a tweet I sent out:

a screenshot of a social media post

My initial reaction was shock because I still hold Frontier in a class above Spirit and Allegiant, who basically charge for everything. But after reading the full press release and recalling that they’re significantly adjusting their strategy to stay alive, I’ll recant my disagreement with charging for all drinks (except water, I assume).

Why? Because I wouldn’t be shocked or upset to purchase coffee, soda, etc. on Spirit or Allegiant since it’s already in my brain that they’re an ultra low cost carrier. And as Frontier directly points out in the release:

As part of the transformation into an Ultra Low Cost Carrier…


Frontier continues to make it easier for customers flying with Frontier to pay only for the services they use, which allows us to continue lowering fares…

So I recant my “not a good move†tweet-reaction to the news regarding this policy. If you can’t beat them, join them! Spirit, after all, has been quite profitable for some time. $1.99 here and there isn’t going to do it (which is the new fee for drinks for most fliers), but I understand why they’ll begin charging the fee.

And speaking of being Spirit-like, Frontier will also start charging for carry-on bags requiring overhead bin space – anywhere from $25 to $100 – for passengers who purchase “basic fare†tickets on websites other than

If you’re interested in the specifics of the new fees (and other changes, including modified EarlyReturns mileage accrual rates), click here.


  1. I understand why they would take this approach but it would make me less likely to fly Frontier. I used to commute through Denver to the West coast and used them some but this would make me reconsider.
    Also Frontier is for sale so maybe someone will buy them and change all that sort of stuff anyway.

    • @DaninSTL: Frontier hasn’t ever been on my route/network to fly, but I sort of would like to before the changes just to experience them… hope your previous journeys were good.

  2. The biggest problem I have with all of this is Frontier says that moves like this will “…make it easier for customers flying with Frontier to pay only for the services they use, which allows us to continue lowering fares…” This is rarely the case. When was the last time an airline instituted a fee and fares went down? What we’ll see is that fares will stay the same for a few weeks/months and then, of course, go up. Not down.

  3. Darren, I would not assume that this does not include water. I flew on Norwegian Airlines last weekend and was shocked to discover that they even charge for water. Face it–it’s an a la carte world more and more every passing year.

    • @Scott: Eek, I guess I shouldn’t assume. I’d hate a charge for a small plastic cup of water poured out of a large “airline” bottle.

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