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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.
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.
» Learn more: Your guide to Frontier baggage and other fees
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.
» Learn more: Frontier vs. Spirit: The battle of the budget airlines
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.
» Learn more: Is Frontier Airlines’ The Works bundle worth it?
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:
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.
» Learn more: Redeem your points for your dream trip — Here's how
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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