The Basics

Know What Frontier Tickets Can Really Cost You?

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Written by Charlie

Frontier Airlines offers cheap fares but these tickets could cost you more in the long run if you get the dreaded flight schedule changes.


So, I have been sitting on hold with Frontier now for over 90 minutes as I try to get them to refund me on a flight they cancelled. Yes, Frontier offers some very cheap tickets but these tickets could end up really costing you quite a bit! How is that?

Know What Frontier Tickets Can Really Cost You?

“What Makes Frontier Unique”

This is a phrase I have heard about 50 times now as I continue to sit through their recorded message about how great their airline is and how it is better than others because of their à la carte system. Sure, they have some cheap flights on many routes and they can be great if you don’t care about checking baggage or where you sit, etc. Basically, Ryanair but without the European flair.

Flight Cancellation = Possibly More Expensive Flights with Other Airlines

frontier airlines

Still on hold…

But, this cheapness can really cost you if you book in advance! I had booked a ticket for a family member a while back and, as airlines do, Frontier changed their schedule for fall flights. No big deal, right? Well, they just outright cancelled the flight my relative was to be on. We had booked this exact flight for two reasons – it was cheaper than the American Airlines alternative (by quite a bit) and worked out great for the schedule of the flight they would connect from.

This new flight option eliminated the non-stop option and instead routed them through Denver from Detroit – with a 14 hour layover in Denver! That’s right, what should have been a simple 4 hour trip has not turned into a 19 hour trip! Plus, this new option has him taking off before he even arrives in Detroit.

So, how could this Frontier ticket cost more? I will get a refund on the original flight but now a new flight has to be booked with American Airlines since they were the only other option. This is happening over 3 months after the original booking was made so it would not be unrealistic for that AA ticket to have gone up quite a bit.

Saved – This Time

Fortunately, the AA ticket has dropped to lower than the Frontier Airlines ticket was originally so I hurried up and grabbed that one. But, I checked some other dates for other flights we were going to book and the alternative flights on other airlines cost $200 – $300 more than the Frontier flight that had existed! That means booking a cheap Frontier Airline ticket could end up costing hundreds more since they wait so long to cancel flights and then you are stuck paying more for the original flight you were trying to avoid.

Avoid Frontier?

In the future, I will definitely avoid booking with Frontier for flights months in advance (or at all). Flights that are within a couple of weeks could definitely provide savings so that is a better thing. But, I will not suggest booking with their sales for months in advance if you need to fly on those dates. You have no guarantee it will still be a valid flight when you are supposed to fly.

One last thing – they have now wasted a fair amount of time as I wait on hold with their specific phone number for flight changes. Thanks a lot, Frontier. You not only wasted the original ticket, but you have wasted a lot of my time now months later.

Back to the Phone

Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to get back to my phone call and hearing how great Frontier is from their own mouth. Maybe there is some psychological thing where if you hear something 100 times you start to believe it? If that is so, I will probably be back later to write a post about how great they are because I have no doubt it will be that many times before I hear what a real Frontier agent sounds like.

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • I booked Frontier for $19 from LAX to ODR last December 17th (well, it was booked last Oct during a sale). 100% worth it. the plane made the flight in under 3hrs (which is almost unheard of).

  • So, i too tried to call saturday morning right after the changes, waited on hold for almost an hour before giving up. Called tonight, and i was on hold less than 30 seconds. Lesson learned, don’t call frontier right after a schedule change, wait 24+ hours for everything to calm down if possible.

    Also, it seems like they only changed their flights in October. Because of the change, i was able to get my flight in early October changed to a better itinerary (different airports in the same region) that would have cost 50% more in late September, and they didn’t charge me a penny more.