Frontier Airlines Child Seat Policy
I know people love to thumb their nose at low cost carriers like Allegiant, Spirit, Frontier and the like. Hey, I get it, they don't offer the best product, but I will fly them in a pinch when they have the best non-stop option. Surviving the experience is all about knowing their rules and avoiding their extra fees. I'll even drive to the airport to buy my tickets and save some money when I have to, but more on that in a later post. This time around I want to focus on the Frontier airlines child seat policy and beating them at their own game when it comes to seat fees.
Beating Frontier At Their Fees Game: Our Booking
We recently flew to Orlando for a quick weekend away. I find short trips, with non-stop flights, to be the best use of low cost carriers. We packed all of our belongings for the weekend in our backpacks in order to avoid paying for carry-on or checked luggage. Side note, I love flying the low cost carriers because their boarding and deplaning process is so quick. That is because everyone pays to check bags, since it is cheaper to check versus carry-on. That means there is no mad dash at the boarding gates or fighting over bin space. I even throw my backpack up in the bins and they never say anything about it. The drink service is also lightning quick, because they charge for everything on the cart. It is probably best to buy a drink before getting on the plane to save money, or bring an empty water bottle to the airport to fill after security.
Anyways, back to our booking. We had booked flights with Spirit, who was the cheapest option at the time at just under $800 for the four of us. Not a bad price to get to Florida these days. Well, Spirit decided to move our 6PM flight to 5AM and that just wouldn't work. Their replacement options were horrible too. I knew I could now cancel the flight for free so I decided to see what else was available. Wouldn't you know it, Frontier's flight prices dropped by $400 and by buying my tickets at the airport I got the all in price of $387.84 total for the four of us. That is pre-covid pricing right there!
Canceling the Spirit flight was a bit more of a pain than I expected, low cost carriers and portals don't mix, but more on that in a later article too.
Frontier Airlines Child Seat Policy: Pesky Seat Fees
I had our flights booked and now it was time to select seats. The problem was they were $20+ for each seat, everywhere in the cabin. The little hucksters even charge more for a middle seat to penalize parties flying together. I like to occasionally use my Amex airline incidental credits on the big front seat when flying Spirit but Amex recently kicked Frontier out of the airline incidental redemption program. That meant that I was looking at $160+ in additional cost and now way to easily wipe it out. No thanks!
I decided to give the Frontier Airlines child seat policy a test and see if I could beat the system. We decided to go ahead and not select seats for any of us. We have a 9 year old daughter and 11 year old son. My thinking was that it was likely that Frontier would seat the kids with at least one parent. The priority would be my 9 year old daughter, she is a bit more of a worrier and a more needy flyer. My son is pretty solid being on his own and I flew as an unaccompanied minor at his age so figured he would be fine. Even if his was the ticket that ended up next to an adult we could swap that with my daughter etc. We just needed to hit on one of the two essentially, pretty good odds in my opinion.
Here Is What The U.S. DoT Says About The Frontier Airlines Child Seat Policy
You can find all of the details on the U.S. Department of Transportation page. Here is most of it though:
- Book children on the same reservation as adults.
- Frontier’s system will only be able to detect and help families flying together (see below) if all the passengers are on the same reservation record.
- Frontier prioritizes keeping groups together if it must reassign seats due to an equipment change.
- Check-in as early as possible, including online or through the Frontier Airlines mobile app.
- Frontier’s system will try and assign groups seats together at check-in, if seats together are available.
- If your family does not get preassigned seats together, talk to the gate agent who will try to assist you. However, depending on availability, seats together are not guaranteed.
- Frontier blocks a limited number of seats that are released after check-in that may be used for a variety of purposes, including seating families together
Our Experience Skipping Seats With Kids On Frontier
As you can see above, Frontier Airlines will attempt to seat families together, but it isn't guaranteed. I was okay with this risk because of the age of our kids. If we had a two year old etc. then I may pay for one adult and the child. The key, at least in my opinion, is to check in early for your flights. I did it at around the 24 hour mark for both flights. This gives their system time to put families together and means they have more open seats to play with.
Both times we were seated one child and one adult. Frontier did a great job of keeping us together and we saved $180+, beating Frontier at their own game in the process!
The funny thing is that I would be more likely to pay for my seat as a solo traveler. The cost is lower at that point for sure, but you also know you are getting that middle seat as a solo person!
Frontier Airlines Family Seating Policy: ToP Thoughts
As you can see, we were able to avoid Frontier's seat and bag fees and paid an all in cost of under $400 for a family of four to fly to Orlando. That is pretty hard to beat, especially these days! I was willing to take a risk on the seat selection, and avoid the fees, because of the age of our kids. Although, I think if you check in early enough that you will likely be okay.
This is one of the points of contention coming out of Washington on travel fees. They want to ensure kids are with their parents without exercising more fees out of families. I think that is a big part of the reason United made the change they did, to beat them to the punch and win the headlines. It wouldn't surprise me if more followed their lead.
I will say that if it didn't work out I wasn't going to be one of those people that guilted someone else into moving. Maybe they would have offered, not wanting to be snack captain for my daughter, but if you play the game you have to take the licks. Don't be the person that berates someone for not moving to put your family together. If you want that for sure then pay the piper.