Is Frontier a Good Airline?

"Good" is subjective, but budget flyers will find plenty to like when it comes to Frontier's spartan approach.
Carissa Rawson
By Carissa Rawson 
Published
Edited by Kevin Berry

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You’ve probably heard of Frontier Airlines, especially if you fly often within the U.S. As a low-cost carrier, the airline focuses on providing especially cheap airfare without any extras.

Despite this, you’ll still be able to earn miles and elite status with Frontier — and you can even buy a membership to make your flights cheaper. But if you’re wondering, “Is Frontier Airlines good?” You’re in the right place.

Here's a look at what Frontier Airlines is, what it’s like to fly on the airline and factors to consider before purchasing a ticket.

What is Frontier Airlines like?

You already know that Frontier offers a low-cost travel experience, but what does that look like in practice? Here are a few things to know about flying Frontier.

  • Making reservations. Making a reservation for Frontier Airlines is simple. You can do so through the Frontier Airlines website, chat feature, app or third-party providers such as Priceline. Keep in mind that some of these methods, such as booking a ticket via chat, come with additional reservation fees.

  • Check-in. Online check-in is available to travelers for free beginning 24 hours before departure on the airline’s app. Checking in via the website is subject to a $5 fee and doing so at the airport costs $25.

  • Boarding. Those who’ve paid for priority boarding, have purchased the Works bundle or who have Frontier elite status will board before the general queue. 

  • In-flight experience. Frontier only operates economy class seats, though its stretch seats recline and offer extra legroom. There is no Wi-Fi or in-flight entertainment and if you’d like drinks or snacks, you’ll need to pay for them.

  • Loyalty program. Frontier’s loyalty program may not offer a ton of perks, but if you manage to earn top-tier elite status, you and your family will enjoy benefits such as complimentary stretch seating, free checked bags and priority boarding. 

Frontier Miles, Frontier’s loyalty program

Frontier Miles is the loyalty program associated with Frontier Airlines. You can earn miles when you fly or when you use a co-branded credit card for purchases. These miles can be redeemed for award flights, which start at 10,000 miles for a one-way Value award.

But just because it has a loyalty program and offers award flights, does this mean that Frontier is a good airline? In NerdWallet’s 2023 analysis of the best airline rewards program, Frontier placed eighth out of nine competitors — the only airline it beat was Spirit Airlines and its Free Spirit loyalty program.

To determine airlines' scores, NerdWallet considered a variety of factors, including the value of a reward mile, elite status benefits, additional fees, pet policies, the in-flight experience, flight operations and how basic economy tickets shook out.

Other factors to consider

Safety ratings

In AirlineRatings.com’s annual analysis of the safest low-cost carriers, Frontier Airlines made it on the top 20 list. This list was compiled from the 385 airlines it monitors, which includes competitors such as Spirit Airlines, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Allegiant Air.

Reliability

Air travel data tracker OAG’s 2023 Punctuality League ranked Frontier Airlines No. 8 out of 10 U.S. airlines when it comes to on-time performance. In 2022, 66% of its flights took off on time and just under 3% were canceled. How bad is Frontier Airlines when compared with its competitors? Consider performance leader Delta Air Lines, for whom 82% of flights took off on time and just under 2% of flights were canceled.

Customer satisfaction

So is Frontier Airlines really that bad? According to J.D. Power’s 2023 North America Airline Satisfaction Study, dismal is the answer to how good Frontier Airlines is. Overall customer satisfaction with Frontier’s economy flights placed the airline dead last in the rankings, behind Spirit and American Airlines.

Fees

Although you’ll pay less for airfare, it’s impossible to mention Frontier Airlines without also noting its fees. As we already pointed out, it’ll cost extra to deal with the agents at the airport. It’ll also cost extra to bring a carry-on bag, choose your seat, get food, make most reward redemptions, check in on the website, change your flight, bring a pet and more.

Unique perks of flying Frontier

Frontier Airlines may not be the most luxurious way to get around the country, but it does have some perks that are worth discussing. Most notably, its GoWild all-you-can-fly pass allows you to travel as much as you’d like for a flat fee. Those who can make use of the pass will certainly think Frontier Airlines is good, especially since the pass includes international travel.

Another unique perk that Frontier offers is Discount Den, which is an annual membership that allows you and up to eight companions to access discounted airfare. It costs $60 per year with a $40 enrollment fee for your first year. Discount Den also allows kids to fly free on select routes and flights.

Who should avoid Frontier Airlines?

Frontier Airlines certainly isn’t for everyone. If you’re interested in full-service flights or the benefits of elite status — such as complimentary upgrades to first class and lounge access — you’ll want to look elsewhere.

This is also true if you tend to overpack, as you’ll need to pay for every piece of luggage, aside from one small personal item. Although elite status does grant a free checked bag, this ability isn’t unlocked until you reach Frontier’s top-tier 100K status. Even then, you’ll just get one free checked bag.

If you’re considering flying Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines is a no-frills endeavor that’ll get you from point A to point B.

If you plan well, it can also get you there very cheaply. And if you fly them often enough, the rewards for elite status can make it worth it.

But low customer satisfaction ratings and a low reliability score mean that flying Frontier won’t be for everyone, especially if you’re looking to fly in comfort.


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2024, including those best for:

Travel Cards from Our Partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

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NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x-5x

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60,000

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Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

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NerdWallet Rating
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1.5%-6.5%

Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

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Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

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See more travel cards
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