Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Today’s guest post comes from my sister, who wanted to share her experiences flying Frontier Airlines.

Recently, my 15-year-old informed me that she would like to visit her cousin in Cincinnati (PWaC – that’s me!) during her school’s President’s Week break. We would be flying from Sacramento, and my husband found what looked at the outset like a pretty good deal from Frontier Airlines, which he promptly booked. Our family typically flies Southwest, since we have found it to be family-friendly, so this was a departure for us (pun intended).

(SEE ALSO: The Southwest Cancellation Policy Helped My Family Book a Free Flight)

a white airplane in the sky

Carry-on and checked bag drama

After my husband bought the tickets, he quickly realized that somehow we had paid for two carry-ons, when in reality we only wanted one checked bag there and back. We also discovered that we did indeed have our one checked bag, but ONLY to Cincinnati. Somehow, those two carry-ons had not only been added to our return trip, but the checked bag had disappeared. To paint a picture for you, when leaving Sacramento, we would check our large bag, and then coming back, we’d then have to leave our large bag with my extended family, acquire two acceptable-sized (according to Frontier) carry-ons in Cincinnati, and then carry those with us to the plane, in addition to our personal items. To say that we were not keen on that scenario would be an understatement.

(SEE ALSO: Keeping track of 17 pieces of luggage at the airport)

Trying to sort it out with Frontier (it didn’t go well)

My husband ended up calling Frontier a few hours after the initial booking, thinking that he would just explain the situation and could have the two carry-ons switched to one checked bag. No big deal, right? As it turns out—yes, big deal. The Frontier agent would not budge and told my husband that not only could she not help in any way, she was definitively unable to remove the carry-on charges. We were told that once you’ve paid any extra fees, that charge cannot be reversed, no matter if a mistake has been made. My husband is adamant that there is no way he would have deliberately checked the box to add one carry-on, let alone two. Therefore, he’s convinced that it somehow was selected by default, and he didn’t catch it before checkout. It would have been so easy to change this on the agent’s end, but she was dismissive and unwilling to hear any explanation. We briefly debated disputing the charges on our card, but the trip was close enough to happening that we weren’t willing to bank on not going and losing out on that money.

a blue backpack next to a blue backpack

All in all, what we had considered to be a relatively cheap flight ended up costing us more than if we had just gone with Southwest, which would have allowed us to bring *two* checked bags for free (both ways, which I previously did not think needed to be clarified), as well as two carry-ons. Said carry-ons would also not be so vigilantly monitored at the gate, like Frontier does with the “personal items” they allow.

The Bottom Line

You may be asking yourself at this point, did we go through with leaving our large bag in Cincinnati and buying two carry-ons for our return home? No, no, we did not. We had to pay a not-insignificant fee to have a large checked bag upon returning to Sacramento. What I ended up doing was packing a large, empty backpack in our large bag and then using it as a carry-on for the flight back home. We only bought a couple of items in Cincinnati and didn’t really need the extra backpack (and it was extra weight to lug around airports on two different legs of our flight), but I was determined to get something out of our forced purchase of carry-ons! And we still could have acquired yet another carry-on that we could’ve filled up with random items to bring home to our family! The possibilities are endless!

a blue suitcase on carpet

So I now ask Frontier Airlines: Was it truly worth the $150+ to then have customers so upset that they vow to use any other airline but yours? Our family travels a decent amount, and my husband, especially, loves hopping on a flight for a quick two-day getaway—all of those future trips would have been much more money in Frontier’s proverbial pocket. I remind Frontier of how simple it would have been to change the carry-ons to a checked bag; it probably would have taken less than five minutes. I very much hope that they enjoy the additional fees squeezed from our finances for this trip, because we will never be booking another Frontier flight again.

(PWaC – I don’t know how Frontier managed to mess up the bags on this flight. User error is a possibility, but it’s also worth noting that I have found Frontier’s website to be very clunky. And they also make a lot of their money from their fees, so maybe it’s a bit of a dark pattern? You definitely have to be super careful when booking with Frontier to make sure you’re only paying for what you want to be paying for. One thing Kerry didn’t mention in her review was that both of these flights required an overnight in Denver, which was obviously not ideal. I’ve had good success personally flying Frontier, but I would hesitate to fly them if I had to connect, since they don’t have a lot of options when things go wrong)

What has your experience been with flying Frontier? Leave it in the comments

Points With a Crew has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Points With a Crew and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers and that compensation may impact on how and where card products appear on the site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners and I do not include all card companies, or all available card offers. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers and other offers and benefits listed on this page. Other links on this page may also pay me a commission - as always, thanks for your support if you use them

User Generated Content Disclosure: Points With a Crew encourages constructive discussions, comments, and questions. Responses are not provided by or commissioned by any bank advertisers. These responses have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the responsibility of the bank advertiser to respond to comments.