How Frontier Got Me to Pay More for a Connecting Flight Than a Nonstop

I’ve long sung the praises of Air Canada’s efforts to create fare product categories, but really, I’ve never gone through the purchase process for my own ticket. When Frontier adopted a similar structure, I felt the same way, but again, I hadn’t gone through the process myself . . . until now. I love it even more.

I have a trip coming up in a couple of months that will take me to both Chicago for a reunion of sorts and then Indianapolis to see the in-laws. The Chicago decision was an easy one – I’ll be on the JetBlue flight from Long Beach. But coming back, I had my pick of the litter. In fact, there were three appealing options, all within about $10 of each other:

  1. Frontier Lv Indy 645a Arr Long Beach 1015a (1h7m stop in Denver)
  2. Delta Lv Indy 7a Arr LAX 836a (no stops)
  3. Delta Lv Indy 815a Arr Long Beach 1209p (1h7m stop in Salt Lake)

While I normally want to fly nonstop whenever I can, I’ll take Long Beach over LAX if the connection isn’t painfully long every time. The choice of Frontier over Delta was an easy one as well. Frontier is new to town, and I always want to support the new guy. We need to fill those planes if we’re going to keep them around. (Besides, I love LiveTV.) So I went to Frontier’s website to book.

Frontier deserves kudos for actually showing the full fare amount instead of the misleading pre-tax amount that other sites show. I saw the fare I expected to see, but then I saw more. In fact, I saw this (click to enlarge):

Frontier Fare Display

Hmm, I was going to buy an Economy fare, but for only $30 I could get a Classic fare. What was that again? Oh yeah, they have a link. Here’s the comparison:

Frontier AirFairs

It was time to break out the math. What mattered here? Well, I wasn’t checking a bag, but if I was, this became an easy decision to buy up to the higher fare. I was definitely going to pay for LiveTV, though I knew we’d only have it on one of our flights. So that’s a $6 savings. I might think about paying up for Stretch at the time of check-in, but I wasn’t ready to count that yet. Really, it came down to the seat assignment. I wanted that seat assignment in advance. Was it worth $24? Yep, I bought it.

While all this was going on, I had completely blocked the other flights out of my mind. Sure, I could have had an assigned seat on Delta at the cheapest fare level, but I had already made up my mind what I wanted to fly. Frontier was able to get an extra $30 out of me, and I had no problem paying for it. It was completely fair and I expected to get more out of it than the $30 it cost.

I hate when airlines throw fees at you every step of the way, but a product like this allowed me to pay for what I wanted up front and be done with it. I wish everyone would do this.

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