December 5, 2022


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Pack small or pay up: Frontier is cracking down on carry-on baggage

Pack small or pay up: Frontier is cracking down on carry-on baggage

Extremely-low-cost airways, together with Frontier Airways and Spirit Airways, will not be solely identified for having low fares which can be typically lower than the price of a dinner out. They’re equally identified for providing “non-obligatory” ancillary charges which can be sometimes something however low-cost.

Denver-based Frontier companies 50-plus markets in North America and the Caribbean. For its routes, the airline generally gives fares as little as $19, however out-of-pocket prices for purchasers shortly go up when all the pieces from bringing a full-size carry-on bag for $50 to $89 to touring with a checked bag for $55 to $96 is factored in. Seat assignments, choose in-airport agent assist and onboard meals and beverage companies additionally price additional.

Nearly the one factor that’s free on a Frontier flight — apart from utilizing the rest room — is the one private merchandise, equivalent to a handbag or different equally sized merchandise, you are permitted to carry on board. On-line, Frontier specifies that this merchandise have to be no bigger than 14 inches by 18 inches by 8 inches, and it should match beneath the seat in entrance of you.

To place that into context, these dimensions are barely bigger than the dimensions of the ever-present Herschel Traditional Backpack within the Mini dimension, which measures 11 inches by 8 inches by 4 1/4 inches. Know, although, that the full-size model (the Herschel Traditional Backpack) is simply too massive. The identical can be true of the basic JanSport backpack.

In case you are unable to suit all of the stuff you want in your journey in that small of an merchandise, then you possibly can pay for a carry-on bag that is appropriate for the overhead bin. Nevertheless, it can’t exceed 10 inches by 16 inches by 24 inches — together with handles, wheels and straps — and should weigh lower than 35 kilos.

However, in fact, these are the printed guidelines.

Those that’ve flown Frontier within the final couple of years know that there are sometimes occasions when passengers can get away with carrying on a bigger bag like a standard-size backpack or perhaps a full-size duffel bag as their private merchandise. In our expertise, passengers hardly ever pressed their luck with wheeled carry-on baggage, however just about something that may very well be worn in your shoulder has had a shot of getting on board lately.

All good issues come to an finish, although, as Frontier is clearly making a higher effort to implement its current baggage coverage by tacking on charges for individuals who try and carry on bigger objects.

A Frontier spokesperson declined to specify any current modifications to their carry-on baggage coverage, however did affirm they had been imposing their guidelines.

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That will help you plan accordingly so you aren’t hit with any shock charges, here is all it’s good to know based mostly on my current expertise flying with the provider.

Have an upcoming trip in thoughts? See how shut you’re to paying for it with factors with the free TPG App!

Think about all choices earlier than paying for carry-on baggage

While you buy a Frontier flight, you might have the choice so as to add baggage on the time of buy. Doing so is the most cost effective choice if you happen to’ll must carry greater than a private merchandise, in line with Frontier’s web site.

How a lot will that bag price you? Sadly, there is no easy reply for the reason that carry-on price relies on quite a lot of elements, together with whether or not you select to buy a bundle bundle, what your flight route is, when you have Frontier elite standing and while you pay in your carry-on.

Based mostly on a sequence of take a look at flights researched for this story, we discovered which you can at the moment count on to shell out anyplace from $55 for a full-size carry-on you pay for when making your on-line reservation to $100 for a equally sized bag you pay for on the gate proper earlier than boarding.

Within the case of my flight, a round-trip itinerary from Chicago’s Halfway Worldwide Airport (MDW) to Philadelphia Worldwide Airport (PHL), it price $60 every strategy to carry a full-size carry-on. That was virtually the identical worth as my ticket.

By the point I added a carry-on and chosen my seats, my whole price for the ticket was almost $300, a far cry from the initially marketed fare of $125.

All through the reserving course of, you’re always inspired so as to add baggage companies or perhaps a bundle of “extras.”

The price for the most cost effective bundle on my ticket was $120 every approach (or $240 whole). This would come with a checked bag, a carry-on bag and seat choice. Nevertheless, it was inexpensive for me to solely pay for what I wanted, so I ended up spending $120 for bags and $47 for seat choice.


Associated: Here is what to pack in a carry-on bag each time you journey

Put together in your baggage to be measured

While you arrive on the airport, you will see baggage measurement bins for Frontier passengers each on the check-in counter and on the gate.


As a result of I had paid for my carry-on merchandise forward of time, I verified with the check-in agent whether or not I wanted to put my bag within the measurer. She advised me no and mentioned I might head straight to the safety space since I already had my boarding move.


Once I arrived at my gate, there have been two sizers for baggage: one in your free private merchandise, and one for paid carry-on baggage.

About 20 minutes earlier than boarding, a flight attendant supervisor gave a reminder concerning the airline’s carry-on baggage coverage to these of us ready within the gate space. Throughout this announcement, he “extremely, extremely really helpful” vacationers “step as much as the counter” to measure their massive backpacks, curler baggage and duffle baggage. He additionally reiterated that the bag should have the ability to slide seamlessly out and in of the measurer.


“You’ll be charged a better worth if you happen to try and board with an unpaid carry-on,” the Frontier supervisor mentioned. “We don’t want to depart anybody behind, so please measure.”

This was not a one-off expertise I had. Based mostly on discussions with different Frontier vacationers, it is not uncommon to listen to frequent bulletins about measuring your private merchandise earlier than boarding.

Ought to anybody’s private merchandise have been too large, passengers might’ve added the choice for a carry-on through the app. The gate brokers really helpful this feature because it was cheaper than paying on the gate counter — although it was nonetheless pricier than paying through the reserving course of, which is what I did.

“For those who want any help utilizing our web site or app, we’re greater than prepared to help you,” the supervisor continued.

A couple of minutes later, a gate agent made a second announcement concerning the carry-on reminder, at which level a number of vacationers went to the sizers to measure their backpacks and bigger curler baggage.

Once I requested for directions relating to this course of, a gate agent mentioned “simply see if it suits within the high bin, and if it does, you’re all good.”

For good measure (actually), I inserted each my paid carry-on bag, which was a big tote, and my Caraa Stratus backpack. Each match with out challenge.

Different backpacks you can carry on board embody Lululemon’s Pack it Up Backpack (which measures 12.2 inches by 17.3 inches by 5.9 inches) and the In every single place Zip Backpack from Away (which is 12 inches by 17.7 inches by 5.9 inches).


On my flight again from Philidelphia to Chicago, the departure gate brokers made related bulletins as these made earlier than my outgoing flight to Philidelphia, particularly to remind vacationers to measure their duffle baggage, backpacks and curler baggage. There was additionally signage all through the gate space reminding vacationers of the coverage.

On board, I principally seen backpacks and smaller duffle baggage saved within the overhead bin compartments, however some bigger curler baggage had been positioned within the bins as nicely.

Moreover, each passenger that paid for a carry-on bag was upgraded to Zone 1 boarding, the precedence boarding group. This helps the gate agent hold observe of who has (and hasn’t) paid for a full-size carry-on bag. For those who do not pay in your carry-on bag through the reserving course of, it is secure to imagine that you’re going to be positioned in a later boarding group.


Associated: 3 methods to keep away from checking your bag on the gate

Backside line

When the price of bringing a full-size carry-on bag on ultra-low-cost carriers equivalent to Frontier is about the identical — or generally extra — than the price of the flight itself, it will probably definitely be tempting to attempt to stuff all the pieces you want into your free private merchandise. In spite of everything, you are presumably flying on an ultra-low-cost provider to reduce journey bills as a lot as attainable.


Whilst you can nonetheless carry a small backpack or laptop computer bag on board without spending a dime, the times of bringing a barely bigger backpack or duffle bag with out incurring a price could also be over … no less than, for now. Due to this, your greatest wager will seemingly be to pay in your bag through the reserving course of, because it prices extra so as to add baggage on the gate.

For extra details about flying with Frontier, learn: