Guide to Frontier Airlines Seating

Frontier’s seating fees and rules can be confusing. Here’s how they work.
Mar 25, 2022

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Frontier Airlines offers ultra-low-cost fares with only the flight included. If you want to choose your own seat, check a bag or even bring a carry-on, there’s a fee. If you want to pick your own seat (even a middle seat in the back of the aircraft), you’ll need to pay extra. Even the complimentary snacks and soft drinks that some other airlines hand out come with a charge on Frontier Airlines.

This pricing model is great if you’re a budget traveler who wants to pay only for the things important to you — things like legroom.

If you like the idea of a la carte savings, but consider legroom a priority when you fly, you should know about Frontier Airlines’ seating system.

Key takeaways

  • Frontier will usually charge you to select a seat.

  • You can always skip selection for free and get one assigned at the gate.

  • “Stretch seating” offers more legroom, but costs more.

How do Frontier’s seat assignment fees work?

When you go through the complex process of booking a Frontier flight, you’ll usually be presented with a screen like this:

If you want, you can choose one of these seats for the price listed. But the Frontier website intentionally hides the fact that you can absolutely skip this step. It even attempts to reroute you back to seat selection if you choose to continue past this screen.

You want to find this “no thanks” option if you’d rather not pay for a seat.

» Learn more: Are airline fees fair?

What if I don’t pay for seat selection?

Not selecting a seat does not mean you won’t get one. It just means that Frontier will assign one to you at check-in or at the gate. This means you’re much more likely to get put in a middle seat, near the back.

So when deciding whether to pay for seat selection, ask yourself: Is the cost of selecting a seat worth not sitting in the middle? If not, you can totally skip it and save some cash.

Families who want to sit together might consider paying for seat selection to avoid getting split up, though gate agents will often work to seat families together.

What is Frontier Airlines stretch seating?

Most seats on Frontier Airlines flights have between 28 and 31 inches of pitch, the distance from the back of your seat to the back of the seat in front of you. That’s slightly below the average pitch of 30 to 31 inches found on other airlines.

Frontier Airlines stretch seating comes with an extra five to seven inches of pitch. These seats also recline, unlike the other seats on Frontier Airlines, and they offer bigger tray tables. Frontier typically offers five or six rows of stretch seating on its aircraft, including the exit rows.

How much does Frontier Airlines stretch seating cost?

The cost of Frontier Airlines stretch seating depends on a couple of different factors, most notably how long the flight is and when you book. On some flights, stretch seating starts at $16 each leg. On longer flights that you book later, this perk can cost well over $56. You'll have to check your individual flights for specific pricing as it varies by route and length.

If you have a connecting flight, you’ll need to pay for stretch seating for each leg of your flight.

If you want to pick any seat while flying Frontier, you’re going to pay something, so take that into account when deciding if the stretch seating option is worth it for you.

Nerdy tip: If you’re planning on checking bags or bringing a carry-on, consider instead booking either the Works or the Perks bundles. These bundles include seat selection, bags, priority boarding and, in the case of the Works bundle, flight flexibility and refundability.

How to get seat assignments for free

There are a couple of ways that you can get Frontier Airlines stretch seating for free.

Earn elite status

Frontier Elite 20K status lets you pick a seat for free and you can pick stretch seating for free when you check in. If you have Elite 50K or Elite 100K status, you can pick stretch seating for free when you buy the tickets and you get family seating, which allows up to eight passengers on the same reservation to pick any seat, including stretch seating, at the time of purchase.

Use credit card perks wisely

Another way you can get Frontier Airlines stretch seating for (sort of) free is to use airline incidental credits from an American Express card. These cards pay you back (in the form of a statement credit) when you purchase certain airline incidentals, including seat selection, up to a certain limit every year. It is important to note that the charge must be classified as seat selection and not an upgrade to trigger the credit. Terms apply.

You have to select your preferred airline at the beginning of the year, or when you sign up, so if you have one of these cards and want to use the credit for Frontier Airlines perks, be sure to select it as your preferred airline.

Cards that offer these credits for airline fees include:

Terms apply.

Frequently asked questions
How does seating work on Frontier Airlines?

Most Frontier Airlines tickets do not include complimentary seat assignments. This means you have two options: Pay for a seat or skip seat selection. By skipping seat selection, you might get stuck in a middle seat or separated from your party — but it’s free. Frontier also offers “stretch seating” with extra legroom for an extra charge.

Can you pick your seats on Frontier Airlines?

You can select your seat on Frontier, but it will cost you. You always have the option to skip Frontier Airlines seat selection for free.

Should I pay for a seat on Frontier Airlines?

Generally, you should only pay for a seat on Frontier if you want to avoid the middle seat, or if you’re traveling with family and don’t want to get separated. Frontier will make selecting (and paying for) a seat appear like the default option, but remember: You can always opt out.

How much does Frontier Airlines charge for seat selection?

The cost of selecting a seat varies by route and seat type, from $17 to $55 each way for standard economy seats. In our analysis, we found that Frontier charges an average of $36 for seat selection on a roundtrip fare.

Are backpacks free on Frontier Airlines?

Small bags and personal belongings that can sit under the seat in front of you are allowed for free on Frontier, but you will get charged a fee for overhead carry-ons, such as roller bags and larger backpacks.

Is paying for seats worth it on Frontier Airlines?

Whether or not paying for seats on Frontier is worth it depends on your situation. If you despise the middle seat, or are traveling with a family, it might be worth shelling out the seat assignment fee for some peace of mind. And if you need extra legroom, Frontier’s stretch seating might be worth it.

That said, when in doubt, you can probably skip the seat assignment fee altogether. The whole point of flying Frontier is that it’s cheap, and if you pay for seats both ways, you’re eroding the potential savings compared to flying with another airline.

All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is no longer available through NerdWallet.

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