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Frontier just introduced a very Frontier approach to onboard distancing

May 04, 2020
3 min read
Frontier just introduced a very Frontier approach to onboard distancing
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UPDATE: Frontier backtracks on physical distance fee following congressional uproar (May 7, 2020)

ORIGINAL POST: Southwest Airlines is capping ticket sales to help keep middle seats open — Frontier Airlines is asking you to pay for the privilege. Following a new requirement for passengers to wear masks, beginning May 8, to help reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus, the carrier is giving customers the opportunity to sit next to an open seat — for an additional fee.

Billed as "More Room," Frontier's new product guarantees an empty middle seat, "for extra peace of mind or simply additional comfort," according to the airline. "Flights departing May 8 through August 31, 2020 will have 18 More Room seats available for passengers to select, including Stretch seats in the first three rows of the aircraft, which also provide extra legroom and recline as compared to standard seats. Frontier will announce at a later date whether the More Room program will be extended beyond August 31."

If you're flying Frontier, "More Room" is your only option to guarantee an empty middle seat. Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy.

The new seating option joins Frontier's existing initiative, which currently includes blocking alternating rows for pre-selection — agents will do their best to stagger remaining seats at the gate, but passengers may ultimately end up flying in these rows on busier flights. Frontier also appears to be pricing middle seats higher than windows and aisles in some rows, to further encourage distancing.

"More Room" seats are available starting at $39, and I did find that rate available on several of Frontier's longer hauls, including Philadelphia (PHL) to Las Vegas (LAS) and Orlando (MCO) to Denver (DEN). Stretch seats, which also include blocked middles, are available starting at $79 on short-hauls, or $89 for longer flights.

In theory, Frontier's More Room option could make sense with an exceptionally low base fare, but keep in mind that the carrier's fares don't include any bags — anything larger than a purse or laptop bag requires a $39 fee, just to bring onboard the plane.

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Ultimately, if an empty middle seat is what you're after, depending on the route and fare, it could make sense to book travel on Alaska, Delta or Southwest — as outlined in my detailed onboard coronavirus measures guide, all three are blocking passengers from purchasing middle seats (or their equivalent), guaranteeing personal space onboard without the extra fee.

Featured image by (Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

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Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023