Frontier Airlines Baggage Fees Guide: (Carry-on, Checked, Military) [2020]

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Frontier Airlines is one of the most popular ultra low cost carriers (ULCCs) but with its low prices can come some very high and sometimes unexpected baggage fees. Compared to all of the US airlines I have flown and researched, Frontier has some of the most “gotcha” baggage fees. 

This comprehensive article will give you the details for all of the Frontier Airlines baggage fees for carry-ons and checked bags and will show you how you can avoid those fees or at least minimize them. I’ll also go into detail about baggage fees for activity military members and other unique situations.


What are the Frontier Airlines baggage fees?

Frontier Airlines allows one free personal item but charges different baggage fees for carry-on luggage and checked luggage based on when you pay for your luggage and how many bags you check. 

Assuming you pay your baggage fees online during booking, a carry-on will be about $38 and your first checked bag will be about $34. Keep reading below to see some real world prices.


How can I avoid the baggage fees?

There are a few different ways that you can avoid baggage fees with Frontier.

myFRONTIER Elite members

Frontier has an elite loyalty program that’s broken down into the following tiers:

  • Elite 20k: Earn 20,000 Status Qualifying Miles or 25 Segments
  • Elite 50k: Earn 50,000 Status Qualifying Miles or 50 Segments
  • Elite 100kEarn 100,000 Status Qualifying Miles or 100 Segments

myFRONTIER Elite members at the Elite 20k level will receive a free carry-on and myFRONTIER Elite members at the Elite 100k level will receive a free checked bag.

Bundles: The WORKS & The PERKS

The WORKS is a special bundle that comes with a free carry-on and a free checked bag as well as the benefits below:

  • Seat Selection
  • Priority Boarding
  • Flight Flexibility
  • 100% Refundability

The PERKS is another bundle that comes with a free carry-on and a free checked bag as well as the benefits below:

  • Seat Selection
  • Priority Boarding

Upgrading to these packages adds to the cost of your airfare and depending on what fees you were going to incur, it could end up saving you money.

Credit cards

You can utilize certain credit cards to reduce or eliminate your baggage fees on Frontier Airlines. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the hottest travel rewards credit cards. It earns 3X the points on dining and travel and comes with a host of valuable benefits. One of these perks is a $300 travel credit that can be used on anything that codes as travel, including your baggage fees. 


Frontier Airlines personal item

Frontier allows all passengers one free personal item.

The personal item must comply with the following measurements:

Can you bring a backpack as a personal item?

As long as your backpack can fit under the seat and complies with the dimensions above, you should be allowed to bring it in as a personal item just as you would with a purse, laptop bag, or other bag.


Frontier Airlines carry-on fees

Unlike most US carriers like United, Delta, and American, Frontier Airlines will charge you for your carry-on luggage.

The prices for your carry-on baggage fees will depend on your specific flight/route and go up the closer you are to the time of your departure. I will use a sample booking from Houston to Cleveland to illustrate the prices for carry-on fees. 

One last thing, keep in mind that these fees are non-refundable. So don’t think you can pay for a carry-on as a precaution and then get refunded — not gonna happen! 

Here are all of the prices. 

During Booking on Web / Mobile App

  • $38

Flyfrontier.com, after booking and up to 24 hours before departure

  • $42

Web Check-in

  • $43

Airport ticket counter or self-service kiosk

  • $55

Departure Gate

  • $60

Call Center

  • $55

So the cheapest price for a carry-on for this particular flight is $38. That sounds like a lot and it really is considering that so many airlines allow you to bring a free carry-on. However, if you wait until you arrive at the departure gate to pay for your carry-on it could cost you $60! 

But that is just one flight so here are some prices for some additional flights that I also checked. I was primarily concerned with the price at booking so I only compared those.

  • Atlanta to Dallas — $38
  • Baltimore to Austin — $39
  • Cancun to Phoenix — $37
  • Chicago to New Orleans — $39
  • Denver to San Diego — $39
  • Fort Lauderdale to Minneapolis — $39

So once again, the price for your carry-on will vary depending on your route but you generally will probably be paying around $38 for your carry-on, assuming you purchase the carry-on at booking. 


Tip: Don’t miss out on my #1 rated travel card. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is now offering a new high offer of 60,000 points (worth $750 in travel) after spending $4,000 in the first three months after account opening! For the longest time this offer was stuck at 50,000 points so you don’t want to miss out on this better opportunity. Find out more here.  


Frontier Airlines checked baggage fees

The prices for your checked baggage fees will depend on your specific flight/route. I will use a sample booking from Houston to Cleveland to illustrate the prices for checked baggage fees. 

Flyfrontier.com, at booking

  • 1st checked bag: $34
  • 2nd checked bag: $45
  • 3rd+ checked bag: $85

Flyfrontier.com, after booking and up to 24 hours before departure

  • 1st checked bag: $40
  • 2nd checked bag: $45
  • 3rd+ checked bag: $85

Web Check-in

  • 1st checked bag: $41
  • 2nd checked bag: $45
  • 3rd+ checked bag: $90

Airport ticket counter or self-service kiosk

  • 1st checked bag: $55
  • 2nd checked bag: $55
  • 3rd+ checked bag: $95

Departure Gate

  • 1st checked bag: $60
  • 2nd checked bag: N/A
  • 3rd+ checked bag: N/A

Call Center

  • 1st checked bag: $55
  • 2nd checked bag: $55
  • 3rd+ checked bag: $95

Here are some prices for some additional flights that I also checked. Again, I was primarily concerned with the price at booking so I only compared those.

  • Atlanta to Dallas — $34
  • Baltimore to Austin — $34
  • Cancun to Phoenix — $34
  • Chicago to New Orleans — $34
  • Denver to San Diego — $34
  • Fort Lauderdale to Minneapolis — $34

As you can tell, the price for one checked bag at the time of booking is not that bad. For example, compare it to the prices for United Airlines. United charges the following rates:

  • $30 for the first checked bag
  • $40 for the second checked bag
  • $150 to $200 for the third checked bag ($200 for some international flights)

$30 versus $34 is obviously not a very big difference. 

The kicker is that for Frontier, you’ll need to know for sure that you’re going to check a bag at the time of booking. If you pay to check a bag but don’t actually use it, you lose that money. And if you fail to pay for a bag that you will need checked, you could end up paying over $50 just to check one bag. 

But if you know for sure you’ll be needing a checked bag, that means you can pay roughly the same price that you’d pay with legacy carriers for your first check bag. Of course, don’t forget that airlines like Southwest allow you to check two bags for free.


Frontier Airlines carry-on restrictions

  • Carry-on bags can be no larger than 24″H, 16″W, 10″D (including handles, wheels, and straps)
  • Carry-on bags must be no heavier than 35 pounds.
  • Carry-on bags must also fit in the overhead bin.

Liquids

The standard TSA standards apply to Frontier flights and you can review a list provided by the TSA of permitted and prohibited items which may be included in carry-on baggage including the 3-1-1 Liquids Rule.

Free carry-on items

There are certain items that you will be able to bring on to the plane for free.

These include: 

  • Coats
  • Diaper bags when traveling with an infant
  • Canes
  • Crutches
  • Portable Oxygen Concentrators
  • Respiratory devices or any other assistive devices
  • Foot rugs for use during prayer.
Remember, myFRONTIER Elite members and passengers who purchased THE WORKS always receive a free carry-on bag in addition to their personal item.
 
 

Frontier Airlines checked bag restrictions

  • Checked bags must be within 62 linear inches (that’s length + width + depth) and
  • Checked bags must be no heavier than 50 pounds.
  • Baggage that goes over these limits will be charged $75 for exceeding weight and $75 for exceeding linear inch limits.
  • Bags will NOT be accepted if they are over 100 pounds and/or over 110 linear inches
  •  myFRONTIER Award Redemption Tickets have the same baggage allowance.

It’s worth noting that the 50 pound limit is pretty standard but it’s 10 pounds higher than what competitor Spirit Airlines offers


When can you check-in bags for Frontier Airlines?

You can check your bags up to two hours prior to your departure.

Note: For domestic flights you and your baggage must be checked no later than 45 minutes before your departure and 60 minutes before departure for international flights.

Of course, most experienced travelers will tell you that you should try to arrive to the airport about two hours prior to a domestic flight and three hours prior to an international flight. 


Can I travel with smart luggage (“smart bags”)?

You are allowed to travel with smart bags on Frontier Airlines but you must have the lithium battery removed from the bag and the battery carried in cabin.

The bag (without the battery) can be transported as a carry-on or checked bag.


Frontier Airlines military baggage fees

Frontier Airlines provides the following baggage waivers when presenting a Common Access Card (CAC) with a uniformed services affiliation at check-in:

  • One free personal item
  • One free carry-on bag
  • Two free checked bags

These baggage waivers apply to the individual with active duty status and does not extend to family members or traveling companions. US military passengers also must comply with the standard baggage acceptance policy for size and weight limits. However, oversize and overweight baggage fees are waived for the first two free checked bags.

U.S. military passengers are defined as active duty armed forces, reserves, and national guard.


Frontier International Baggage Fees

For the most part, Frontier’s international rules for checked and carry-on baggage are the same for domestic travel as far as baggage allowance, size, and weight restrictions.

However, baggage checked to or from Canada is subject to a maximum 70lbs weight limit.


Sports equipment and special items

Frontier Airlines provides a Sporting Equipment & Special/Fragile Items PDF for a breakdown of how you can travel with different items.That PDF will show you the regulations and prices for many random objects that you might be traveling with such as:

  • Air Pumps
  • Alcoholic Beverages, Liquor
  • Ammunition
  • Antlers
  • Baby items
  • Batteries
  • Bicycles
  • Boogie Boards
  • Bowling Equipment
  • Camping Equipment
  • Car Seats
  • Ceramics, Chinaware, Glass
  • Coolers
  • Crematory Remains
  • Electronic Cigarettes; Vape Pens
  • Firearms
  • Fishing Equipment
  • Lithium Batteries
  • Pets
  • Golf Clubs
  • Musical Instruments
  • Scuba Gear
  • Ski Equipment – Snow and Water
  • Snowboard
  • Stroller
  • And many more items 

Frontier Airlines pet policy

The Frontier Airlines pet policy fee is $75 per one-way and may be paid in advance during booking. If you do not pay in advance, you’ll need to pay when you check-in your pet.

In addition to the travel container for your pet, you are allowed either a personal item (8”H x 14”W x 18”L) or a carry-on bag (10”H x 16”W x 24”L). An additional fee will apply for the carry-on bag.

Only certain animals will be allowed, such as domesticated dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, or small household birds. Only domesticated dogs and cats may be carried to or from international destinations.

Frontier does not allow pets to be shipped as checked baggage.
 

What if my bags are lost or damaged?

If your bags are lost or damaged make sure that you report it before you ever leave the airport.

Frontier states that all claims for damaged or lost baggage must be made within 12 hours of your flight’s arrival with an agent at the arrival destination or through the Central Baggage Office.

The Central Baggage Office may be reached at (801)401-9000 (say “baggage”).


What if I lost an item on the plane?

If you left something on the plane then you can fill out their lost and found form.


Frontier Airlines coupons

You can always search for coupons to help cover the costs of your tickets and other expenses. I recommend searching here for the latest Frontier Airlines coupons.


Frontier seat selection fees

In case you were also interested in seat selection fees, below is the chart published by Frontier. There is standard seating and then stretch seating that offers a little bit more legroom and recline and is thus a little bit more expensive. 

You’ll notice that just like the baggage fees, the fees for choosing your seat also go up the closer to the date of departure you get. So it cannot be stressed enough — try to take care of all of your baggage and seat selection needs at the time of booking. 

Also be very careful about trying to select a stretch seating from the call center or when you arrive at the airport because the prices will be exorbitant. 

Flyfrontier.com, at booking and up to 24 hours before departure
Call Center
Web Check-in
Airport ticket counter or self-service kiosk


Final word

Frontier makes a lot of money from baggage fees but if you know exactly how many bags you’ll need to check, you can add your luggage to your itinerary early on and avoid paying higher fees for your bags.

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