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Frontier baggage fees and how to avoid paying them

May 30, 2022
10 min read
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Frontier Airlines has positioned itself as an a la carte airline, so you'll pay an upcharge for everything — including bags.

Although you might find some incredibly low fares, Frontier baggage fees will significantly increase your trip's cost. So, despite low fares, the overall cost may not be affordable.

Before purchasing your ticket, I suggest understanding the Frontier baggage policy, including the Frontier carry-on guidelines and Frontier carry-on size restrictions. Specifically, determine how much your baggage fees — including carry-on bags — will cost.

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Frontier carry-on guidelines

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The Frontier carry-on guidelines allow all passengers to bring one personal-size carry-on on board for free. However, the bag must be able to fit underneath the seat in front of you and should be no bigger than 15 inches in height by 18 inches in width by 8 inches in depth.

If you can pack in a small backpack, for example, then you can get away flying on a Frontier flight with absolutely no excess baggage fees. However, most customers bring more than a small backpack. And if you want to bring your carry-on suitcase on board, you'll need to pay a fee.

Frontier's carry-on size policy requires that all bags be no larger than 24 inches by 16 inches by 10 inches (including the wheels and handle) and less than 35 pounds. The fee you'll pay to bring a carry-on bag depends on whether you purchase a package, the route you're flying, your Frontier elite status and how/when you paid the carry-on baggage fee.

During the booking process, you can see the carry-on baggage fee. But, you can also check the cost for an existing flight or a flight not yet booked on Frontier's website. I checked many routes while writing this guide and found the following ranges, per direction, based on when you pay the fee:

  • During booking on web/mobile app: $60 to $65.
  • Before check-in on web/mobile app: $62 to $67.
  • At check-in on web/mobile app: $64 to $69.
  • At airport kiosk or ticket counter: $79.
  • At airport boarding gate: $89.
  • Call customer service: $79.

Related: Carry-on vs. checked bags: Which is the better choice?

Adding a carry-on bag during the booking process is always your least expensive option. But for only a few dollars more, you can pay for your luggage when checking in for your flight. The benefit of waiting is that you'll have a better sense of the baggage you are bringing with you at check-in, which is important since the fee is nonrefundable.

However, if you purchase "The Perks Bundle" or "The Works Bundle," your bundle includes a carry-on item. These bundles include baggage, seat selection and more. So, you'll have to do the math to see if a package is worth it for your situation or if you're better off paying a la carte.

Fortunately, there are a few items that you can bring for free (in addition to your one personal item). Specifically, you can carry on coats, diaper bags when traveling with an infant, foot rugs for use during prayer, canes, crutches, portable oxygen concentrators, respiratory devices and any other assistive devices in addition to your one personal item.

Related: Everything you should know before flying Frontier Airlines

Frontier baggage policy

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Similar to carry-on baggage fees, there's also a range in cost for checking a bag. However, the checked Frontier baggage fees are less than bringing your bag on board with you, so you'll save some money by checking your bag at the beginning of your airport journey.

You can examine the cost of checking a bag on Frontier's website, with most baggage fees costing the following:

First checked bagSecond checked bagThird checked bag
During booking on the web or mobile app$55 to $60.$60 to $65.$85.
Before check-in on the web or mobile app$57 to $62.$62 to $67.$85.
At check-in on the web or mobile app$59 to $64.$64 to $69.$90.
At airport kiosk or ticket counter$79 (same price as a carry-on bag).$89.$95.
At the airport boarding gate$89 (same price as a carry-on bag).Not available.Not available.
Through calling customer service$79 (same price as a carry-on bag).$89.$95.

Here is an example of the Frontier baggage policy for a flight this summer from Orlando to Boston:

(Screenshot from frontier.com)

Frontier also has a strict, 40-pound weight limit on checked bags. Many other airlines allow bags up to 50 pounds, so this is a big difference in the amount you can pack in your checked luggage. The dimensions of your checked bag must also be 62 linear inches or less (length plus width plus depth), including handles, wheels and straps.

Similar to Frontier's carry-on baggage policy, you'll also receive one checked bag when purchasing "The Perks Bundle" or "The Works Bundle." If you need to check and carry on a bag, you'll most likely find that purchasing one of the two bundle options is well worth it and will save you a decent amount of money.

Overweight and oversized baggage fees

If your checked bag weighs more than 40 pounds, you'll need to pay an additional overweight fee between $50 and $100 per bag, per direction. If your bag weighs between 41 and 50 pounds, you'll need to pay a $50 fee. But, if your bag weighs between 51 and 100 pounds, you'll face a $100 fee. And Frontier won't accept bags weighing more than 100 pounds.

Additionally, if your bag is between 63 and 110 linear inches, you'll incur an additional oversized baggage fee of $75 per bag per direction. Frontier won't accept bags larger than 110 linear inches.

Frontier also allows select special items to be checked, such as sporting equipment, artwork, camping equipment, strollers and more. This PDF on Frontier's website will allow you to be up to date on what is and is not allowed, along with the associated fee. For example, you can check a snowboard for the same cost as your checked bag fees and only overweight fees — not oversize charges — will apply, if applicable. However, a bicycle will incur an extra fee of $75.

Related: How to change or cancel a Frontier Airlines flight

How to avoid Frontier baggage fees

(Photo by Westend61/Getty)

Although Frontier has incredibly high fees for bags, there are some ways to avoid baggage fees.

Elite status allowances

Frontier passengers with Elite 20K or Elite 50K status get one free carry-on bag. However, those two lower-level statuses will not waive the fee for a checked bag.

To get your first checked bag fee waived, you must have Elite 100K status. With this status, you'll automatically receive The Works bundle, which gives you a free carry-on bag and a free checked bag.

If you cannot earn any of these three status levels the hard way, know that Frontier periodically offers status matches. Keep an eye out to see if a status match opportunity pops up, as a successful match could allow you to carry on a bag and potentially check a bag for free.

Related: What is Frontier elite status worth?

Credit cards

Unlike many other airline credit cards, simply having the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard® will not allow you to check a bag for free. However, cardmembers can earn one qualifying mile with every dollar spent on purchases or by flying Frontier. This can help cardmembers earn elite status quicker, which may allow them to bring a carry-on or even checked bag on their next Frontier flight for free.

The information for the Frontier card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: These 27 credit cards can get you free checked bags

Military personal

U.S. military passengers with active duty status, who can present a common access card with a uniformed services affiliation at check-in can bring the following for free:

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

This waiver doesn't extend to family members or traveling companions. Baggage accepted from U.S. military passengers must comply with baggage acceptance policies regarding size and weight limits. However, Frontier waives the oversize and overweight baggage fees for the first two checked bags.

Use card travel credits to cover fees

Finally, many travel rewards cards offer annual statement credits, which you can use toward various travel purchases, including baggage fees.

One of the best is the Chase Sapphire Reserve, since you'll receive up to $300 in annual travel credits. But several American Express cards, including The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, offer airline fee credits that can cover incidentals such as baggage fees on one airline of your choice. As long as you enroll in this credit and select Frontier as your airline of choice, you could use this credit to cover Frontier baggage fees.

Related: Frontier Airlines wants to ditch jet bridges in Denver and board by stairs

Bottom line

Frontier's baggage fees are some of the highest in the industry. But, with its incredibly low-cost fares, if you can pack light — or only bring one piece of luggage — you still might get a great deal.

Ultimately, you'll have to do the math to see whether the extra baggage fees are worth the low airfare cost and if one of the bundle packages can save you money. But, if you're lucky enough to have Frontier elite status, that could save you a boatload of money on your next flight.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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