Tip: Avoid Frontier Airlines bag fees.

UPDATE: [05/05/2015 @ 10:41 AM] Modified post with new pricing structure, updated images, updated text, and fixed links to point to Frontier’s updated policy.
UPDATE: [11/19/2015 @ 12:35 AM] Frontier is charging more for carry-on bags and checked-bags during now. It’s currently $30 to check and $35 to carry on each way.

Frontier has yet again changed their baggage fee policies and once again it’s for the worse. On May 01, 2015 there will be an across the board increase in the cost of checked and carry-on bags. This post covers avoiding and limiting these fees.

What is changing:

On May 01, 2015 the following fees marked with an asterisk “*” will increase.

Frontier Baggage Policy as of May 05, 2015.
Frontier Baggage Policy as of May 05, 2015.

Noteworthy fees are listed below:

  1. Gate Check FeeIncreases from $50 to $60 – Any bag brought to the departure gate that exceeds the carry-on dimensions of 24″ x 16″ x 10″ and any item larger than the personal item dimensions of 18″ x 14″ x 8″ that has not been paid for will incur this fee. You should definitely make sure your carry-on or personal item is within their dimensions. If you’re not within the dimensions, you have a good chance of sneaking by, but it only takes one gate agent on a mission to ruin your day. It’s not worth taking chances.
  2. 1st checked bag when purchased during web check-inIncreases from $20 to $25 – This is noteworthy because the 1st bag purchased on FlyFrontier.com did not increase in price. This means that if you plan on checking a bag; book on FlyFrontier.com instead of an OTA like Expedia, Priceline or Orbitz.
  3. Carry-on Bag Fee via Web Check-in or FlyFrontier.comNo Increase in price: $30 – It should be noted that Frontier charges MORE for carry-on bags than checked bags. If you’re going to bring just one bag with you, check it instead of bringing it on the plane.

Avoiding and limiting baggage fees:

  1. Pay for your bags on FlyFrontier.com – There seems to be a $5 discount applied when doing this at the moment. Which means your checked bag will only cost $30 each way. (Note: This price seems to fluctuate between $15 and $35 each way. Your price will vary.)
  2. Free Personal Item – All passengers are allowed one free personal item that will fit under the seat in front of you. It can be no larger than 14” tall, 8” wide, and 18” long (including handles, wheels, and straps). Think backpacks, purses, briefcases and computer bags.
  3. Checked bag fee is cheaper than carry-on fee – As stated earlier. If you’re only bringing one bag, you should check it.
  4. Checked bag fee is cheapest when you book from FlyFrontier.com – If you’re planning to check a bag, you’ll pay less on FlyFrontier.com than on most OTA’s like Expedia, or Priceline.
  5. Free carry-on bag for Frontier Elite – Members of Frontier’s frequent flyer program that have more than 20,000 miles or 35 segments flown are allowed a free carry-on bag along with their free personal item.
  6. Don’t pack large items in your Personal Item – If you’re needing to bring a large coat, you should wear it and stuff the coat pockets with smaller items such as socks. I’ve never had to do this, since I pack fairly lightly.
  7. Don’t pick an assigned seat on the airplane – You will be assigned a random seat when you arrive at the airport.

Bags I use or like:

[*These are Amazon affiliate links, I receive compensation if you use these links and then purchase something from Amazon.com]

  • Amazon.com: JanSport Right Pack – Originals – I’m currently using this bag as my personal item when I fly Frontier. Dimensions are: 18″ x 13″ x 8.5″. There is half-an-inch of extra depth, but it has never been a problem for me. The bag has a large main compartment, which makes it ideal for stuffing as much as you can into the limited amount of space. The price is cheaper if you get the black bag instead of a colorful one. Prices on Amazon range from $50 – $60. Note: When I originally wrote this post, this bag was being sold for $35.43. You may be able to get it for cheaper elsewhere, just be sure you’re buying it from a reputable source.
  • Amazon.com: JanSport City Scout Backpack – This is a similar backpack to what I’m using. I don’t own one, but the dimensions are listed as the same. The main difference seems to be that it’s currently priced a lot cheaper than the JanSport Right Pack: about $30 on Amazon.

Summary and commentary:

Frontier seems destined to join Spirit in the race to the bottom. That said, if you end up flying Frontier enough to make it to Elite you won’t have to pay for a carry-on bag fee. Since a lot of the ticket cost is now offset in their bag fees, the airline is definitely worth it if you can avoid those fees by either packing what you need in a personal item or getting the free bag perk from Elite status.

There have been numerous Frontier sales featured here in the past such as [Houston / Dallas / Austin to Denver $37* NONSTOP r/t] and [Houston to San Francisco *$29 – $77]. Even with the bag fees the prices are some of the lowest I’ve seen.

What are your methods of getting around carry-on bag fees like this one? Shoot me a message, I would love to hear from you.

If you found this article helpful, you may want to check out [Tip: Avoid Spirit Airline’s fees]. You can also check out the [Budget Travel Tips] category on this site for all of the other tips.


  1. Guest said:

    We are traveling from a cold climate to Florida for three days and we decided to wear our Florida clothes under our winter clothes, saved room in our “personal item” for the other stuff.

    April 26, 2015
  2. clunkygirl said:

    Thanks for the info, I JUST realized today that Frontier charges for carry-on items while reviewing my ticket purchase, I’ve never even heard of such a thing. I am going to try to cram my stuff into a backpack now and see if it will fit, this is just insane.

    August 19, 2015
  3. Tom Strack said:

    So as I read Frontier and Spirits rules for what you can take on for “free” both of them allow a DIAPER BAG in addition to your 1 free personal item. No mention of having to be traveling with an infant… so why not travel with a large “Diaper” bag.

    September 1, 2015
    • Rita Reinhardt said:

      I did, they will charge you!

      December 14, 2015
  4. Mark L. Gussler said:

    I am traveling from SFO to Las Vegas tonight on Frontier airlines. I have a bag that I have packed a few clothing items in that measures 14″ X 15″ X 6″. Question is the handle is on the top at the 14″ demension The width is the 15″ and the depth is 6″ The frontier website specifically states 8″ High. Do they accept all demension, or is it specific to what they consider theheight of the bag vs the width vs the depth?

    December 5, 2015
  5. Rita Reinhardt said:

    Frontier is starting to upset me! When I flew in May, I had a big ol’ bag (on wheels) I checked in for $25 (each way). Fast forward, i had one medium-sized shoulder bag and they stated $45 at the counter. I thought it would count as my (one personal item because it was allowed through on a previous adventure). Note to self, find a small bag to avoid these outrageous fees! I need to really buckle down and learn how to pack and buy a smaller bag! New year’s resolution 2016!

    Oh yeah, and here is the weird thing! I like Frontier airline better than southwest! Southwest is the worst and you get 2 free bags! Southwest has lousy seating, flight delays and gate changes that will make a priest want to cuss like a sailor! I dont know, just pack lighter.

    December 14, 2015
  6. Roxan said:

    So Frontier Airlines allows a backpack as a personal item? How many do they allow? And can I put my camera and laptop in the backpack ? Is there a specific weight the personal item must be?Sorry I have alot of questions just I am flying for the first time….. and it’s going rough… Thx so much!!

    March 1, 2016
    • They only allow one item. You can put anything you want in the backpack. Frontier doesn’t have a weight limit listed for personal items, but you should try to keep it under 30 pounds just to be safe.

      March 3, 2016
  7. Bill Johnson said:

    After paying the fees JUST ONCE, I decided that I will NEVER, EVER fly Frontier again. I guess they expect me to fit all of my clothing in my backpack. The baggage costs should be included in the cost of the flight. They won’t get another dollar from me anyway. Cheaper to ship my baggage to the destination.

    July 22, 2016
    • dje3 said:

      Write your congressman and senators..demand that they pass a law, ONE standard carry on and ONE standard size weight stowed luggage per ticket. At he very least one stowed luggage!

      August 3, 2018
  8. dje3 said:

    I am very close to NOT using Frontier any longer. I have been on at least 10 Frontier flights in the last year. If one choses to purchase well in advance then many other airlines are actually cheaper!
    Rather than put up with this nonsense people need to WRITE their congressmen and senators and demand that laws are passed that mandate one carry on and one stowed luggage per person of standard size and weight or that EVERY quote that does NOT include such is clearly labeled as NO LUGGAGE NO CARRY ON etc.
    A $200 round trip ticket with “fees” (many of which are actually not taxes and tariffs but airline initiated fees) and luggage turns into $330 that is a 65% increase in fee fare. Meanwhile one can not even chose their own seat without paying a “fee”.
    I don’t care about not choosing a seat, I care about the fact that people must bring clothing and personal care items even for a day trip and paying to do so makes no sense. What we find is that there is almost NO WAY to compare fares as many times the quote is not clear as to the luggage situation.

    August 3, 2018

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