Why I will never fly with Frontier Airlines again: A review

Before this month, I had never flown with Frontier Airlines. Aside from Southwest Airlines (which has great customer service), we try to stay away from the super low-budget airlines like Frontier and Spirit. However, a Frontier Airlines flight seemed like the best option for our recent vacation. Unfortunately, our experience with Frontier was so awful that we will never fly Frontier Airlines again. I have never written a post that was about a bad review before, but I hope that by sharing our experience we can prevent others from having similar experiences.

Our gate in the Cleveland airport

Overview of the airline

Frontier Airlines is one of a few super low-budget airlines available in the U.S. Although these airlines typically have very low fares, they tack on additional charges for even the most basic amenities. This includes charges for checked bags, carry-on bags, selecting your seat, and even in-flight snacks and sodas. Once you start adding on these extras, the flights aren’t actually such a great deal. 

Frontier also offers two packages of amenities. The first, The Works, includes one carry-on bag, one checked bag, seat selection (including the slightly larger ‘Stretch’ seats), priority boarding, and is 100% refundable. This is available only at the time of purchase. You can also purchase The Perks package for slightly less. It includes one carry-on, one checked bag, seat selection (not including the ‘Stretch’ seats), and priority boarding. It is available at any time after purchase.

Our experience

My sister planned a family trip to Disney World this month for the 50th anniversary. When we lived in Columbus, we always chose to fly with Southwest to Orlando, but we were disappointed to learn that Southwest does not fly directly from Cleveland to Orlando. We try to stay away from layovers whenever possible. Especially during the winter months in Cleveland. Every layover is an additional chance that you won’t make it to your destination. Instead of relying on one flight and flight crew leaving/arriving on time, you are relying on two separate flights and flight crews to leave/arrive on time. It also doubles the chances that your luggage will be lost. And of course there is always a chance that you miss your layover. We find it unnecessarily stressful and avoid it whenever possible.

Which brings us to why we purchased a flight with Frontier Airlines in the first place. It turns out that no airlines- not Southwest, not Delta, not American, not United- nobody flies directly from Cleveland to Orlando other than Frontier and Spirit. At the time of our booking, Spirit had been in the headlines for canceling hundreds of flights. So, we decided to take a chance and booked a flight with Frontier.

Our tickets

It was really important to me that we get to Orlando on time. We had already elected to join my family only for the last few days of their longer trip because we had been to both Disney World and Disneyland fairly recently. I had also made a dining reservation for one of Disney’s more upscale restaurants for the evening of our arrival. If you miss a Disney dining reservation not only will you be very hungry- you will be charged a fee.

So, we purchased The Works package. We typically pay for extra legroom when flying because my husband’s legs are incredibly long. I also knew that I would need to check a bag and would want to have a carry-on. We also had some concern that we might have to reschedule our flight due to weather or issues with COVID. Our two, round-trip base tickets from Cleveland to Orlando came to a total of $157.92 including taxes and fees. The Works package cost more than twice that of the base tickets and added an additional $324.00, bringing the total cost for our flights to $481.92. This was comparable to what the other major airlines were offering for their flights to Orlando, but they all included layovers.

The flight to Orlando

For our flight to Orlando, we selected a departure in the middle of the day on a Wednesday. We figured that the airport wouldn’t be too crowded and hoped for a stress-free travel day. We were partly right. The airport wasn’t crowded at all. In fact, the only airline that had a line to check in or check bags was Frontier. We initially had hoped to sit down and eat lunch at one of the airport restaurants before our flight, but after standing in the check-in line for over 45 minutes, that was no longer possible.

It’s important to note that we had actually already checked into our flights. We had also printed the tags for our luggage and had our boarding passes. It did not matter. We had to stand in the same line- the only line- with travelers who had none of these tasks completed. Despite a line of around 100-125 people, there were only two people working at the ticket counter. There were no other Frontier employees in sight.

Our boarding passes

This was frustrating, but we chalked it up to flying with a super low-budget airline. We both have TSA Pre-Check so we got through the security line quickly and picked up some to-go lunch to eat on the flight. Unfortunately, (and I really shouldn’t have been surprised), our flight boarded about 39 minutes late. We didn’t know how long it was going to be- we just new that it was running late. So we sat down to eat our lunch. I casually asked my husband to remind me what our seat assignments were (he had both of our boarding passes on his phone) because I had remembered that we had paid to select seats in the first few rows with extra legroom. 

So, I was very confused when he told me that our seats were in row 17. I knew that the ‘Stretch’ seats with extra legroom were only in the first few rows. So, I pulled up the email with our flight confirmation and details and saw that we had selected (and paid extra for) seats 2A and 2B. Knowing that my husband is very uncomfortable in standard airline seats (and because we paid for extra legroom), I approached the counter at the gate and asked the gate agent about our seats. She informed me that there was nothing she could do because the flight was full and told me to contact customer service.

So, I called customer service. I was on the phone with them for approximately 30 minutes before I had to hang up to board the flight. On that phone call, I was again told that the flight was full and that there was nothing that could be done. There were no apologies or concessions offered by either the gate agent or the customer service representative with whom I spoke. So I requested- and was assured that I would receive- a refund for the seats with extra legroom that we were not going to be able to sit in. It has been more than two weeks since that phone call. No refund has been issued. I followed up with an email four days ago and similarly have received no response.

Our seats

So, we boarded the flight and sat in row 17. I can honestly say that I have never sat in less comfortable airline seats in my life. Not only were they narrow and had little leg room, they were hard. My butt was asleep before take-off (which was also significantly delayed). And the standard seats-it turns out- don’t have a traditional tray table. Instead, the tray tables are approximately half the size of a standard tray table. They can not even support a standard laptop. My iPad didn’t even fit on it. It wasn’t much bigger than the case for my sunglasses.

Our luggage

The only way I can imagine that this flight experience could have been worse was if they had lost our luggage. By some miracle, that did not happen. We did, however, wait approximately 42 minutes for our luggage to arrive at the baggage claim once we arrived in Orlando. After all of the delays, we eventually made it to our hotel. However, because we were so late, we elected to pay for an Uber to make our dinner reservation instead of utilizing the free Disney transportation as we initially planned. We didn’t have have time to go to our rooms to change or refresh. We just left our bags with the desk and immediately requested the Uber.

Our return flight

The return flight from Orlando was fine. The experience went basically as expected. There was almost no wait to drop off our bags (there was a separate line for this as there should be). Our flight was only slightly delayed. We sat in the extended legroom seats that we paid for. These seats had larger tray tables and were comparable to most other airlines in terms of comfort. We still waited 26 minutes for our luggage in Cleveland, but compared to our previous experience, this seemed pretty speedy. 

We did finally make it to our dinner reservation (thankfully).

In conclusion

Our experience flying Frontier- specifically the initial leg from Cleveland to Orlando- was pretty awful. I would go as far as to say that it was my worst flying experience ever. In the end, the additional stress caused by our experience and the horrendous customer service negated any advantages of booking a direct flight. After this experience, I can say with confidence that we will never fly Frontier Airlines again and I encourage anyone considering flying with this airline (or Spirit Airlines with whom Frontier is set to merge) consider the practical cost of flying with this super low-budget airline.

I’d say that you get what you pay for- but in this instance, we literally didn’t get what we explicitly paid for. I can certainly understand why Frontier and Spirit Airlines have some of the worst customer satisfaction ratings.

Have you ever flown with Frontier or Spirit Airlines? How was your experience? Please share in the comments.

I am currently working on new blog posts about the Mears Connect Service and our experience with the new Genie + service and will link to them here when they are completed. In the meantime, if you are looking for more travel content on the blog, you may want to check out my posts on tips for making the most of your trip to Disney World or why I think lapel/hat/enamel pins make the best travel souvenirs

I am so glad you visited us at Jack and Bax. If you haven’t already done so, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter (sign up available either on the right sidebar or at the bottom of the page). And please follow me on Instagram and Facebook so that you don’t miss any of my upcoming projects!

30 thoughts on “Why I will never fly with Frontier Airlines again: A review”

  1. Mitchell Graff

    I arrived for my flight two hours early. My flight was delayed for three hours from take off. From Philly. About to take off. Woman next to me uses the restroom. I try to do the same. I was escorted off the plane. Sir have you been drinking. Yes. ( plane delayed three hours). Kicked off flight. I had to pee! I will never use Frontier ever again. I was not disruptive. I just tried to use the restroom. Thank you to the flight attendends for making me pee my pants in front of all the passages. Great job frontier.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that that happened to you. I will never fly with Frontier again if I can avoid it.

  2. As someone who travels literally all the time only having a 30 minute delay during the busiest time for travel realistically isn’t that bad. I have longer delays than that on American 2/3 times I fly with them. In my experience people automatically have negative thoughts about frontier and spirit and therefore their judgement is already clouded. The flight crews that have helped me on frontier and spirit have been way nicer than any of the larger airlines by far.

    1. Honestly my biggest problem with this experience was the fact that we paid for the extra legroom seats and they were taken away without our knowledge or permission and without a refund or other compensation. I recognize that many airlines have delays and are are overbooked, but Frontier essentially stole from us and we received horrible customer service throughout our travel experience.

    2. I also fly 3/4 with AA. My delay and customer service experiences with them have been increasingly negative. Paid fees to upgrade seats then lost the upgrades/fees due to delays and cancelation. I have not experienced any better or worse with Spirit or Frontier, fortunately they didn’t charge me
      a lot so not a big loss.

  3. I have flown with Frontier many times and have always had great experiences. The flight attendants are really friendly, although the people working ticketing and gates are not always nice. I have never lost a bag. I have also learned to pack lighter so I don’t have to pay for so much in the way of extras. My flights have always been on time if not early. I have had no cancelled flights. I’m sorry your experience was not good.

      1. I also have never had a bad experience with frontier or spirit! You’re complaining about a flight being late less than an hour and waiting for luggage less than an hour… it’s really not that bad! And the wait to drop it off sounds like an airport issue not the airline since you said your return flight wasn’t as bad. I mean you’re flying from Cleveland for crying out loud. The crappiest airport and city I have ever been to. Your complaints are so unwarranted and very “Karen” vibes. You sound like a real fun time… not! And who agrees to dinner reservations as soon as they land, if they only made you late by 1.5 hours you wouldn’t have had time to unpack and shower change etc anyway. Did you not shower before your flight? Did you fly in pajamas?! I mean it’s a 3 hour flight TOPS. I live in Fort Lauderdale and fly to visit family in Medina often so my FLL to CLE flights are under $100, direct flights with no layovers, AND only 3.5 hours long. How can you complain about that?! The world has turkey gone soft it’s sad. Find the joy in things and stop nitpicking everything. So many people go out of their way to write nasty reviews but never take the time to leave compliments. It’s draining to listen to the wining. Get there a day early next time. Sounds like you were pushing it the whole time and oblivious to the other factors involved. Like other flights being late which congested the runway, de-icing when it’s cold which is common in the glorious state of Ohio (LOL) and other little things that add up and cause people like you to lose their minds. You had an extra half hour to sit and enjoy your lunch. Good. Bc you prob bought a big stinky meal to bring on the plane and force everyone to smell and listen to you eat anyway lol I do get the leg room thing, bc I am not all as well and always have to book extra legroom seats but you prob did that last minute too so I’m siding with the airlines on that as well.

  4. I will NEVER fly Frontier again! They changed flights, never told me, claimed they did not have my contact information, refused to do anything and said that I would be a “no show” if I didn’t make the new flight, then sent me a tex message that it was time to check in 2 hours before the new flight time (remember – they claimed they didn’t have my contact information). I had to hire a private shuttle (2.5 hours to airport) to get me to the airport on time only to be told that my baggage would cost more because I didn’t check in online. The online chat said to talk to the agent, and the agent said to talk to the online chat. Orbitz said to talk to the airline, and the airline said it was Orbitz’s fault and to talk to them.
    NEVER, EVER again and I am making it my mission to make sure NO ONE ever gets ripped off my this company again. DO NOT FLY FRONTIER!

    1. I am on the same mission. Buyer beware never fly frontier. They rip you off at every turn and there is no customer service period.
      I was over charged and never received refund not to mention the hours of hassle for nothing in return. Frontier used to be a great airline to travel with now the suck behind words.

  5. Katie Middleton

    My husband just surprised me with tickets to Las Vegas for my 40th birthday, ..and booked with Frontier. We will be flying Frontier for the first time. Typically, I book all of our family vacations, and given Frontier’s terrible reviews and the fact that we have three children, flight delays would be problematic. He manages all of his company’s travel arrangements, and if/when he must fly, he always opts for the major airlines (since it is not coming out of pocket). On the plus side, we will not be on any time restrictions once we reach our destination or return home, and our hotel will be fully covered by his “hotel” points. So, I’m attempting to mentally prepare myself so that I’m not the stressed-out, irate woman yelling at the counter:) CROSSING MY FINGERS for this kid-free mommy 40th birthday surprise trip to Las Vegas (okay, I’ll have to come up with a better slogan for our trip)

    1. I definitely hope you don’t encounter any issues with your flights. Fingers crossed! Have a great trip!

      1. I was a satisfied passenger of Frontier Airlines for years, but this is my third and last troublesome trip with this airline. The previous problems with flights were mildly irksome, with hours long delays and seat assignments that differed from what we had purchased. It was then that I realized that Customer Service with this airline leaves a lot to be desired. I should have learned my lesson and never booked with Frontier again.
        Tonight 9/19/23, I have been sitting with my daughter at Harry Reid International (Las Vegas) for 4 hours (it is currently 3:00 in the morning) after they delayed our flight by nearly 7 hours. This delay has caused a conflict with our connecting flight home. Frontier’s best solution *might* get us to our home airport by 11:59 pm tonight, a full 16.5 hours later than our original ETA.
        Boarding personnel at the gate were overwhelmed and snappy at extremely unhappy passengers who were in a similar predicament to ours. I left the angry crowd and attempted to contact customer support using the chat feature on the Frontier website several times, but it kept cutting me off saying it was a pleasure to help resolve the issue, after it did not address my issues or resolve the problem.
        I have to get my daughter home safely, so I have purchased tickets on United Airlines that will see us home in reasonable time.
        I will be requesting a refund on our delayed and missed connection flights on Frontier – and will never EVER fly Frontier again.

  6. Also will never book with Frontier. We booked a family vacation to Disney and thought the prices would be cheaper. Not cheaper when they start tacking on seat assignments, which with young children you shouldn’t have to pay to sit together, and bag fees. Booked 4 months in advance of the trip only to one day get an email saying the flight to Orlando had been cancelled. Naturally I start to freak out, request a refund and book another one way ticket which we pay more than double for what we had paid with Frontier. Only to find out that when I asked for a refund, Frontier took it upon themselves to also cancel our flight home with no notification, email or call. To make matters worse there is absolutely no one to call and you are trying to deal with issues through their chat customer service which is a joke. The only reason I happened to figure out our flight was cancelled 2 weeks before our trip was when I tried to go online and pay for bags. For some reason I couldn’t buy a bag even with our confirmation number and I kept getting an email when I entered a request for itinerary that the trip was cancelled. So in my mind I had a trip home and luckily discovered they had cancelled before my young family and I showed up at the airport that day thinking we had flights home. I have filed 2 formal complaints in last few months with no reply. I never leave posts or comments but would advise all not to ever fly with Frontier. For the stress and no customer service to deal with it is not worth the drama. They completely ruined our once in a lifetime vacation. And I won’t be holding my breath for them to reach out and rectify their incompetence or unprofessionalism. What an awful company!

    1. I am so sorry to hear that this happened to you. The lack of customer service is the icing on the cake. Never again.

  7. So I paid them through Expedia, including the hotel package. Trip to Vegas for my niece’s graduation and to stand with her critically ill dad. Talk about double-knuckle-draggers. Expedia won’t refund because Frontier canceled, Frontier won’t respond because we booked with Expedia. What a racket!

  8. I was traveling from ATL to ORD for Family Reunion ,first off they only allow you 40 lbs bags on the flight other airlines allow 50 lbs so along with paying 68.00 for my bag was 48 lbs so I had to pay another 50.00. Seat were so uncomfortable and the Gate agent was rude as Hell, unprofessional, along with no customer service skills. I get to ORD waiting for my baggage for 45 -50 mins ,finally a agent says that the belt is stuck so we continue to wait for over a hour than agent tells the remaining passengers that there bags didn’t make the flight due to weight and balance with that we had to file a claim. I had nothing for my family reunion Friday night and Saturday plus noting to wear home.As of today, July 6th I still have not heard anything about my Luggage or my refund for my Baggage.NEVER FLY them again

    1. Wow. I am so sorry this happened to you. I hope you get your luggage ASAP, but I am sure your trip was pretty much ruined as a result.

  9. Frontier is easily the worst airline in business. I have done so much air travel both in India and US, but Frontier experience is excruciating . WORST WORST Airlines by far i have seen anywhere . You reach the airport , SFO and you learn that flight to ATL is cancelled. No call nothing. Next flight is day after tomorrow which will take 15 hours . Forget about that . ATL to SFO was overbooked and was dropped off. Given the seat in next day flight to Ontario (which is in the middle of no where ) and after reaching Ontario – next flight to SFO is cancelled. Never seen such a terrible airlines.I don’t have words to describe how horrible FRONTIER is.

    1. I have heard so many horror stories. That is why I will never fly with them again. I’m sorry this happened to you.

  10. Worse airline ever! Customer service representatives are less than professional and lack empathy. Supervisors are clueless. When you ask for assistance though, all of their answers are consistent. We don’t know, we can’t help, and my favorite is, when you remind them that they suck they all agree. AVOID AT ALL COST.
    I had a 9:56am departure from Orlando to Cincinnati. Flight was delayed twice, then finally canceled. I had a round trip, non-stop flight. To be put on a 6am flight connecting in Denver before arriving Cincinnati. I’m not hopeful of making the outbound or connecting flight as I’ve already received TSA notifications. Stay tuned for additional updates.

    1. I went through something extremely similar. I went on Frontier to go home from Orlando to Cincinnati and I was at the airport an hour and a half before the flight was supposed to take off. I went through customer service since they told me at the kiosk that I was “too late” to print the tags for my luggage. I had to stand in line at customer service for 15 minutes. They then told me that I couldn’t board the plane since I was supposed to get here 3 hours before boarding. He then charged me and my family $100 a piece to go on a flight that stops at Denver. Before I had a one way ticket to Cincinnati. Oh and they would put our luggage on the flight to Cincinnati but we couldn’t go on ourselves. When I got to the gate, I was also a half an hour early before my original flight’s take off. I’m surprised that they’re even still in business. I’m waiting for my flight right now and hoping I don’t get stuck in Denver.

  11. Frontier Airlines may or may not be associated with the communications company of the same name, but the communications company service, in my personal experience, is certainly similar. Must be contagious.

  12. Customer service is nonexistent at Frontier stay away from this airlines. In error I purchased two tickets for the same flight, within five minutes I cancelled one of the tickets. Did I get a refund? No I did not, what a sham this company is.

  13. Our flight tickets were semi-cheap, but luggage fees where out of this world: $279 and unexpected $411 in feeds for our 4 carry on and 2 checked in luggages. Seats are cramped and hard.

    Do not fly Frontier airlines… Boycot them!

  14. I booked my Son’s flight from El Paso, TX to Orlando, FL. He is an active member of the military and is on leave for the Holidays. Not only did he arrive and check in two hours early for his flight, he went to pre-board, when they called, as ALL airlines pre-board active military and those needing assistance FIRST. He was told by Frontier staff to step aside and wait, they would be with him shortly. After EVERYBODY else was boarded, he was then told that he was bumped due to overbooking and not having any more available seats. The staff did not offer any compensation. He called me immediately and handed his phone to a staff member. They REFUSED to acknowledge any wrong doing and sent my son to the ticket counter. This was Frontier’s last flight out of the El Paso airport that evening. By the time he reached the ticket counter, the plane had already left the gate, and the staff were ALL leaving including the staff at the ticket counter. I have been unable to track down a customer service phone number, not that it would make a difference, the other option I could find is their 24/7 chat service on line, which I also tried and NOBODY replied. I DID find a refund request form, online however we have yet to receive a reply there either. Is THIS is any way to treat a member of the military? I ended up having to book ANOTHER flight on ANOTHER airline so my son could be home for the Holidays. Its the first time he is able to be home after his recent deployment.

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