Last Updated on September 16, 2022
- The only realistic way for occasional passengers to avoid Frontier Airlines baggage fees is to pack light
- A Frontier personal item size suitcase is not as small as you might think
- With smart packing techniques and the right luggage you can bring everything you need for a short trip without paying carry-on baggage fees
Frontier charges for carry-on luggage and only allows passengers to bring a small personal item bag or suitcase as free hand luggage.
You cannot sneak a carry-on bag on Frontier airlines because they strictly enforce their hand luggage size rules. Baggage fees are an important part of the Frontier Airlines business model.
They can’t afford to let you cheat the rules since this is how they make their profit.
That said, staying within the rules, here are the only ways I know to avoid baggage fees on Frontier.
Downsize Your Luggage & Travel With An 18 x 14 x 8 Personal Item
To avoid baggage fees on Frontier airlines pack light and only travel with free bags.
On Frontier free personal item bags must be 18 x 14 x 8 inches or smaller.
Measure your personal item size bag carefully. Oversize baggage fees apply. If your personal item is found to be oversized Frontier will charge you for a carry-on bag and you’ll pay an additional $20 fee for paying at the gate.
A personal item fits underneath the seat in front. A small backpack or small duffel bag would work as a Frontier personal item but you can maximize your carrying capacity if you bring something rectangular.
I recommend a small rolling suitcase with 2-wheels like this one:
Having only 2-wheels rather than 4-wheeled spinner luggage means you have more carrying space inside the bag since wheels count when measuring luggage.
Check this post for a comparison of high capacity 18 x 14 x 8 luggage options that will allow you to fly with free baggage on Frontier.
If you are a heavy weight traveler that usually flys with checked baggage their is little hope for you in avoiding Frontier baggage fees. Downsizing from a 62 linear inch checked suitcase with a capacity of 115 liters to a personal item size suitcase with a capacity of 33 liters is too much of a leap for stubborn heavy packers.
However if you are someone that travels carry-on only then you might be able to downsize to the 33 liter hand luggage that will be free on Frontier airlines.
A maximum size Frontier personal item suitcase is only about 25% smaller than the standard size carry-on luggage that you probably already own.
Three Steps To Downsize Your Luggage:
- Compression packing cubes can reduce the space that clothes take up in a suitcase by 33%. Compress your clothes aggressively to make them fit in a smaller bag.
- Make a smart lightweight packing list and be ruthless with your eliminations. Don’t pack anything you don’t need.
- Wear your most bulky items of clothing and shoes during the flight
Check out this post for 101 packing light tips that will help you start to think differently about how much you need to pack for a trip.
Don’t Exceed The Carry-on Weight Limit
If you do decide to purchase a Frontier carry on bag then make sure you don’t exceed the carry on weight limit of 35 lbs that applies to Frontier Airlines flights.
Overweight baggage fees are an avoidable cost if you don’t overpack.
There is no weight limit for the free Frontier bag, only a size limit.
Choose A Free Seat
One of the easiest fees to avoid when Flying Frontier is the seat selection fee.
Make sure you choose a $0 seat when booking to keep costs down. Or if no free seats are available you can choose to be randomly assigned a seat, that will be free too, but of course you will probably end up in the middle seat.
Become An Elite Status Frequent Flyer
If you fly more than 20,000 miles with Frontier per year you achieve Elite status in the MyFroniter Loyalty Program.
This entitles you to bring a free carry-on size bag on your flight and helps you avoid the $40 baggage fee.
If you fly more than 100,000 miles annually with Frontier you also get to bring a free checked bag and that also helps you avoid Frontier baggage fees.
But these frequent flyer programs are no good for occasional travelers.
With the an average flight distance of 500 miles you’d need to take 20 flights with Frontier per year to start getting the free carry-on bag benefit.
And to avoid the checked baggage fee you’d need to take one hundred 500-mile flights with Frontier each year.
Frontier Airlines World Mastercard will help you earn airmiles quicker, but you’d still need to take a lot of flights to earn Elite status and avoid baggage fees.
Purchase Your Bags Early
Prices for carry-on bags on Frontier start at $40. You get the cheapest price if you pay for a carry-on bag during your initial booking.
This won’t help you avoid baggage fees entirely but it will help you get the cheapest price.
The longer you leave it the more expensive purchasing a carry-on bag allowance will be.
You can pay for carry-on luggage at the ticket counter, or with the customer service team at the airport kiosk.
You can purchase a carry-on baggage allowance at the airport boarding gate. All these options will be more expensive that if you add carry-on luggage when you initially book the flight.
Purchase A Bundle
You can save money by buying a Frontier Airlines bundle like THE WORKS, or THE PERKS, but only if you would have added a carry-on bag, checked a bag, choose an assigned seat anyway. If you are trying the avoid baggage fees these bundles will not help you.
Bring Your Military ID
If you have active duty status in the armed forces, reserves, or national guard, and a Common Access Card (CAC) with a uniformed services affiliation you can bring a free carry-on bag and two free checked.
Avoid baggage charges by presenting your Military ID at check-in.
The deal doesn’t apply to family members or traveling companions and you still need to comply with the Frontier carry-on baggage size and weight limits.
Share A One Checked Bag With Traveling Companions
Checked bags are slightly cheaper than carry-on bags when flying with Frontier.
They have a much larger capacity than carry-on luggage.
The price for one carry-on bag starts at $40 whereas one checked bag will cost $38.
It’s easy to pack more than enough luggage for two people in one checked bag and that would make it $19 per person saving $21 each.
This is an effective way one member of a traveling couple to avoid baggage fees.
The downside is that you’ll need to wait at the luggage carousel to collect your checked luggage after you later.