Experiences with Frontier Airlines? It is cheap but is it reliable?

JeninTexas

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 7, 2014
I'm looking at fares flying to Orlando for our summer Disney trip. The Frontier fares are cheaper than Southwest by quite a bit (even if you include the fee for baggage and seat selection on Frontier). However, I'm worried about several reviews I've seen where people say Frontier often cancels flights and can't get you rebooked the same day. The reviews seem to be really mixed. I'm not particularly concerned about the size of the seat or the baggage practices, but I am concerned about the flight being on time and them not loosing our luggage. What have your Frontier experiences been like?
 

KerryCM

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 20, 1999
I have flown 3 times with Frontier, Nashville to Denver. Never on time and luggage never arrived with my flight and this was a direct flight! Never will fly them again!
 

cyndiloveswalt

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 27, 2010
We fly Froniter a lot and have never had a problem. I think it depends a lot on where you are flying out of and into. We fly from Philadelphia and they fly back and forth to Orlando a few times a day. If you are flying from a smaller airport and there’s a delay or cancellation it could be a problem. The seats are tight and there’s no free drinks or snacks but our flight is only about 2 hours.
 
  • zoo2tycoon

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 7, 2012
    Whatever you do if you have children purchase seats! Don’t think just because you have children they will seat you together.

    Like you I’ve read the reviews on frontier- I could fly from Chicago to Phoenix one way for $38 on Frontier. I don’t think it’s worth it - small hard seats.
     

    maxiesmom

    The Mean Squinty Eye Works
    Joined
    Jul 6, 2004
    Only one family member has ever been booked with Frontier. After his non stop flight was changed to one that had a connection out west (we are in Michigan, the connection was in Colorado I think) and would have had him over-nighting in the airport, that flight was cancelled. No thanks.
     

    Wubar

    Stop asking about "worth". Totally subjective.
    Joined
    Oct 4, 2017
    We have flown Frontier 5 times to MCO from Philadelphia. For 3 of those trips, no issues. For 2 of those trips, we had one 5 hour delay and an outright flight cancellation. We continued to fly them so we could take advantage of the voucher credits they gave us. It was a tough discussion though, on one hand we could use the credits to subsidize the cost of a future trip, on the other hand why would we want to risk more delays and potential flight cancellations even if the tickets are cheaper? Our last trip though, everything went fine. Their customer service isn't the greatest though.
     
  • JeninTexas

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 7, 2014
    Thanks for all this information. We only get to Disney every 2-3 years. I don’t think I want to risk lost luggage and the (what appears to be relatively high) chance of a cancellation. We fly Southwest a lot and I’ve never had a problem. I’ll stick with that and pay the extra!
     
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    tnolan

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2013
    Definitely don't fly Frontier. They are tied with Spirit at the bottom of the customer satisfaction ratings.
     

    writerguyfl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 5, 2015
    As you noted, with Frontier's sparse schedule and limited number of planes, if your flight gets canceled, the chance of getting to your destination same day is far slimmer than if you book on a "real" airline. If you absolutely need to get home (like if anyone would get into hot water for missing work), you'll end up paying same-day fares on another airline...provided they even have seats.

    I'm a statistics person and I love math, so I'll give you some stats. Ask yourself which airline you'd want to be flying if your flight gets canceled:
    • Frontier Airlines serves 103 destinations with 84 planes.
    • Southwest Airlines serves 99 destinations with 750 planes.
    Clearly, it's much easier for Southwest to recover if one of their planes is out of commission or if one of their pilots calls in sick.
     
  • beercity

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 20, 2018
    Flew with them GRR-MCO in January and they delayed our flight about 6 hours due to an issue with the plane. They don't have spare planes so you just have to wait while they get parts. They had to wait for another Frontier flight to fly in parts for our plane. Flight from MCO-GRR also was delayed, the plane was late arriving to MCO, they kept telling us to prepare to board, plane had not even landed yet.

    My impressions are that they do not prepare for the unexpected, and their gate staff are either instructed to maintain impossible schedules, or they just don't care.

    If I want to be somewhere on time I will not fly Frontier. Allegiant is just as bad. Once you add up fees and extras, you are not often saving much money, is the savings worth the bad service?

    Southwest has been outstanding for us. Prices are always good, and the gate and flight staff are great.
     

    ironz

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 2, 2003
    We recently flew them from AUS to MCO. The plane left on time, and was a super smooth flight, and landed early.
    We did pay for seats and carryon bags, so we paid higher than the $39 advertised one-way fare, but it worked out, since we had changed some travel plans and were able to get that low fare less than one week from our trip (which we couldn't have done on SW).
    I believe there would have been one other option on Frontier if our flight got cancelled (or switch to the next day; or we'd go over and fly on SW).

    We were overall pleased. I don't think I'd book with them all the time, but nice to know it wasn't a bad experience right out of the box.
     

    JanelleB

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 13, 2017
    We flew (I should say attempted to fly) Frontier this past Thanksgiving from Louisville to Orlando. They cancelled both my flights without warning and one was the Sunday after Thanksgiving. We ended up having to rent a car and drive home. They offered no refunds and it was an all around nightmare. The Year before we had flown with them from Cincinnati to Orlando and had no problems. From what I hear it’s a crap shoot. If you have precious Disney days,tickets and money that could be lost if they cancel a flight, I would look elsewhere.
     

    wcw57

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 1, 2009
    Since Frontier has such a limited number of daily flights out of ISP (Long Island), IF there is a cancellation, there is no such thing as re-booking your flight. AND, since each day each flight flies out at near-capacity, chances are you aint gonna get on tomorrow's flight, either.

    That being said, the seats were small but tolerable for 3.5 hrs to PBI , the plane clean, the flight smooth.

    HOWEVER, Frontier changes their destinations out of ISP frequently.....just not worth the hassle. If I was young and more open, schedule-wise, I would LOVE to save the $80 (each way) over Southwest. But now.....wellll, I gotta get where I'm going when I'm going.
     

    TinkSassy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 16, 2009
    I used to use them all the time and had no issue. It has been years now and am chancing a trip this weekend as they were less than half of SWA even with the bag fees. We are carrying on - I don't trust any of them with my bag anymore. I'm irritated with the fees - but chose carefully as in no assigned seats as we are all adults and will live if we can't sit together.
     

    tnolan

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2013
    We ended up having to rent a car and drive home. They offered no refunds and it was an all around nightmare.
    Then that makes them worse than Spirit. At least when Spirit cancelled my friend's flight home half hour before we checked out of our hotel, I was able to get a refund for it when I requested it.
     

    Shelly F - Ohio

    Disney Extraordinaire
    Joined
    Feb 22, 2004
    Had a coworker who was going to Las Vegas for a training conference a few months ago. After checking to make sure the Frontier flight was on time he headed to the airport. Got to the gate after checking his bag only to find out the flight would be delayed 6 hours! After 6 hours they board the flight. Everyone is on the plane and they made an announcement that the flight is now canceled!! After they allowed everyone to board, they find out the pilot "timed out", meaning they've exceeded their duty period to work for the day and the pilot is not legally able to fly so they were forced to cancel the flight. No other flights out that day. He went home and slept for a few hours headed back to the airport for his flight which did take off. He was compensated $200 a person and he was taking his family with him on this trip so they had enough money to take a trip to Florida which was uneventful.
     

    Dis703

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 24, 2010
    I fly Frontier almost exclusively the past 5 years now and several times a year. The vast majority of flights have been on time or even early. Flights themselves have been great. Staff is very friendly and helpful.

    Last trip was the first time we had a major delay. Our 4:30PM flight to Orlando left the gate on time but had to turn around because of an technical issue. Eventually had to deplane and didn't take off until 11pm. But they handled it well IMO. We got food vouchers to use for dinner while we waited and then, without asking for anything, I got a voucher in my email for $75 each to use on a future flight (flight was booked with points). I used that to pay for my entire ticket to go back next week.

    I also had a great experience when I had to cancel/postpone a trip very last minute a couple years ago because I came down with the flu. They have an emergency cancellation policy so all I had to do was send them a doctor's note that I was unable to fly and they very quickly issued me a credit for the flight and waved the change fee to rebook a couple weeks later. They were awesome with that ordeal. I've also experienced some wonderful flight attendants caring for passengers with sick kids. It's been a positive experience overall.

    They do have tiny trays that some people get upset about. I don't hardly use mine so it's not a big deal to me. The seats are also rather hard and vinyl covered which isn't very comfy but I've never found any other plane seat comfy either so it's not that much worse. On the up side when you have three kids with food allergies they are very easy to clean!

    I get a nice sized bag as my free personal item and rarely check other bags so I avoid those fees. I also rarely pick my seats and have so far had no issues with being separated from my family or anything. (knocking on wood)

    Experiences vary of course, but I always highly recommend Frontier to my friends and family.
     

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