I’m taking a flight tomorrow on Frontier Airlines and so I assumed the emails this morning from them were check-in reminders. If only wishing made it so. Instead I was greeted with an announcement that “CHANGE IS GOOD” and that somehow I’d be paying less money for travel with the carrier in the future. And then they went on to describe the ways in which I’ll be paying more fees when I fly with them in the future.
Beginning today, anyone booking at FlyFrontier.com will be offered lower fares and a new way to select add-on services – including the ability to select your own seat, to purchase a carry-on bags, and to buy a checked bag. With this new approach to pricing, Frontier is committed to giving you a better overall value because you only pay for the services you will use, rather than including them in the price of your fare.
The lower fares claim is great, though the one sample fare I have didn’t actually go down. And the carrier is dropping one of their three fare options; the two remaining now exclude the mid-range choice which was essentially a bundle of the basics at a very reasonable premium. And there’s that little line about “to purchase carry-on bags” which the carrier slipped in to the announcement. Much like Spirit Air we can now expect to pay for carry-on bags with Frontier. The prior policy also permitted passengers who booked directly with the carrier to get a seat assignment for free, even if they chose the lowest fare. That will now cost $3. And, of course, seats towards the front of the plane or those with extra leg room cost more. Frontier has also introduced the Discount Den program. This is being offered for free to all Early Returns members (at least for now) for membership through June 2015. As of right now the only benefit of the Discount Den is that some bag fees are reduced by $5 but only when paid in advance. And the company has made it clear that they will start charging for membership in the club after June 2015 but they have not published the pricing. Spin is fine and if they really are lowering fares then I suppose I might buy in to it just a bit. But my (very, very limited) data point says the fares didn’t really change. It is going to take a lot more than just spin to convince customers that these fees are in their best interests. The carrier has been fighting to control costs and increase revenues for more than a year now just in the ticket sales/distribution channel alone. This is another step down that path and, much like the others, is not really all that great for most customers, despite the claims of the marketing department. And I actually bought up to the bundle fare option for one of my five upcoming segments with the company, an option which is no longer available. It was actually a good value for the customer so maybe that’s why it has disappeared. Go figure.
- Frontier aims to pick up the slack in Cleveland
- Finding the carrot ineffective, Frontier wields the stick with their customers
- Frontier continues its distribution battles
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