Frontier Airlines Begins Deep-Discount Buffalo To Florida Flights

Fares so Low That Baggage Fees Are Somtimes Twice Your Ticket Price

Dave Debo
December 06, 2017 - 6:53 am

AP photo

(WBEN) Ultra low-cost airline Frontier airlines launches  service from Buffalo with it's first flight to Tampa today, and adds in Miami, Fort Myers, Orlando and Denver flights this weekend.  

It becomes the sixth year-round carrier to offer flights from Buffalo.

WATCH: Frontier Airlines announced as newest airline at Buffalo Niagara International Airport

"This is tailor-made. People love to go south. We  are almost looking at Frontier as a commuter-airline for people traveling back and forth between Florida and Western New York," said William Vanacek, the NFTA's Aviation director.   

The discount carrier is not a smaller carrier-- it flies an Airbus A320 family aircraft-- but offers an Ala carte fee structure that could have you paying more for your checked baggage than you do for your deeply discounted ticket.

"Frontier is a discount carrier, you have a lot of options on how you want to travel. . If you want to travel on the skinny, you can get a very affordable ticket. If you want to upgrade and get some other amenities than it's a 'pay-for it' menu for things like preferred seating, checked luggage, things of that nature," Vanacek says.

For example, if you buy before December 15 and will fly before mid March, you can get a one-way ticket to Fort Myers, Orlando or Miami for $29, according to their website FlyFrontier.com.  But a checked bag at the ticket counter could cost you up to $45 or even $60 at the gate. 

Other fees include  a priority seat fee, a carry-on fee, an extra cost if you want your ticket to be refundable and a guaranteed flight fee - all available individually or as part of an upgrade bundle.   SEE THEIR BAGGAGE FEES AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE

"You just need to know all the different rules because there is a lot of add-ons. But as long as you know the rules, it's a pretty good airline to fly," says Rick Seaney, of FareCompare.com

Their fee structure and service model has generated a lot of outrage on social media, and the website FrontierAirlinesHorrorStories.com features many tales of delays, cancellations and rudeness.  A typical complaint says they treat their passengers "like wallets with people attached".  But recently  their top investment partner was quoted by CNBC as saying that the traveling public doesn't understand the "No-Frills" marketplace and is "essentially like your teenage spoiled brat." 

" They had been flying with all the amenities for ever and ever and that's what they think they ought to get. They don't want to pay any more for the ticket, they just want all the amenities," Indigo Investment Partners CEO William Franke said in a meeting with reporters at the Dubai Airshow last month, according to CNBC. Read more here

In the past 12 months, Frontier has an 76  percent on time rating according to the latest FAA reports, ranks toward the middle of the pack on the number of flight cancellations, and ranks #11 out of 16 carriers nationwide in consumer complaints . In July the US DOT slapped Frontier with a  fine of $400,000 for violating overbooking and disability rules.

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From FlyFrontier.com's FAQ Page:

Our fares include:

  • 1 Personal Item
  • Change or cancel option (will require a $99 fee + fare difference)
  • Same Day Confirmed Flight option (will require a flat $99 fee)
  • Ticket Transfer option (will require a $99 fee + fare difference)

What is not included in our fares:
Our fares do not include:

  • Refundability
  • Pre-reserved seat assignment
  • Carry-on bag
  • Checked bag
  • Priority Boarding

Do I have to purchase a seat assignment?
Our fares do not include a seat assignment. You may purchase a seat assignment at the time of booking and after booking. If you’ve already purchased your ticket, you can buy a seat assignment on your Manage my Booking page through logging into My Trips or when you check-in online within 24 hours of departure. 

Remember if you purchased one of our bundles, the WORKS℠ or the PERKS ℠, a seat assignment is included!  Select seating is an option- If you do not purchase a seat assignment, one will be randomly assigned free of charge during check-in. However, your party may be separated.

Do I have to pay to bring a carry-on bag?
Our fares include one free personal item (a personal item must be able to be stowed under the seat in front of you). Carry-on baggage is not included in your fare. You can purchase carry-on baggage at the time of booking and after booking.


 

Do you offer Wi-Fi, TV, movies, or other in-flight entertainment?

These services are not currently available on Frontier flights. We would rather pass the cost-savings on to our customers and offer the lowest fares possible!

Are wheelchairs available at the airport?

Yes! While booking your reservation, simply select “Add Special Services” on the Traveler Details page, and choose the options you need. Once at the airport, you can alert a skycap at curbside or a Frontier representative at the ticket counter, and a wheelchair will be provided for you.

If you will be checking any assistive device prior to boarding, please be sure to have identification securely fastened to the device. 

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