Frontier’s new unlimited summer flight pass is chaotic, but might be worth it
TL;DR: Aspiring jet setters can now score Frontier’s GoWild! all-you-can-fly summer pass for $399(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab). Read on for all of the chaotic caveats and fine print.
Frontier is letting passengers fly as much as they want all summer for a flat rate that matches the average cost of a single round-trip domestic flight(Opens in a new window).
The recently-announced GoWild! all-you-can-fly summer pass(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) is the shorter version of Frontier’s already-existing annual pass. Rather than $1,299 for unlimited flights throughout the entire year, the one-time $399 purchase of a summer pass (plus one cent in fees for each trip) unlocks unlimited flights to both domestic and international Frontier destinations between May 2 and September 30. Frontier serves more than 100 airports across the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, and Latin America, with new locations frequently being introduced to the lineup.
Before you ask, yes, we have the same question: Is Frontier for real right now?
On paper, it sounds like an amazing deal. Many of us have begrudgingly coughed up a similar amount for a single roundtrip flight at least once. That was probably an extra-common experience during the unprecedented airfare spikes in 2022. Bankrate’s assessment of last year’s Bureau of Labor Statistics(Opens in a new window) found that the average price of a “good deal” roundtrip domestic flight was $398 — up $100 from 2021. There’s no question that an ultra-accessible summer pass could be a serious vacation hack at a time when everything, travel-related or not, is more expensive.
But you’d still be right to be skeptical. Frontier’s reputation for arbitrary baggage fees and sketchy customer service — plus the general drama of canceled flights(Opens in a new window) by all airlines that has plagued travel for a while now — makes the premise of unlimited flights sound too good to be true.
If you’re planning on traveling a lot this summer, the GoWild! pass just might save you some money.
Credit: Frontier Airlines
Frontier’s new summer pass is legit, but not without its caveats
The first piece of fine print to consider is the lack of wiggle room the pass affords planning-wise. GoWild! only covers domestic flights booked *checks notes* the day before and international flights booked 10 days or less before. No booking past 24 hours means no booking roundtrip. Instead, you’d technically have to book your flight back on the last day of your trip, and 1. Hope that Frontier has a flight home that works for your schedule and hotel or rental check-out times or 2. Be down to pay for a non-Frontier flight. (Connected itineraries are included granted there are still seats available.)
Not all airports participate, either. For instance, Frontier does not serve LAX. The “unlimited” calendar is also subject to blackout periods, including Memorial Day itself and the Friday before, the Fourth of July and surrounding days, and other random dates that could throw a wrench into plans.
If something goes wrong, don’t count on live customer service
All airlines come with their fair share of cancellation or delay woes. While lower-cost airlines like Frontier and Spirit face the brunt of inconvenience-related airline memes, Frontier actually canceled fewer flights than Southwest, American, and United between the summer of 2021 and 2022(Opens in a new window). It was also one of the airlines with the least mishandled baggage issues.
If something does go awry during your Frontier journey, however, good luck with a timely resolution. Back in November 2022, Frontier decided that a live customer service phone line(Opens in a new window) wasn’t that important. Customers with concerns can either try the ever-helpful live chat tool online or talk to an employee at the airport.
Frontier’s baggage policy has…baggage
Unless you can pack everything you’ll need in a bag that fits under the seat in front of you, you’ll be paying more than “$0.01 in airfare plus applicable taxes” per flight.
While most airlines only make you pay for checked luggage and allow a personal item and a carry-on item for free, Frontier charges for the carry-on. (So does Spirit.)
The policy is stingy yet tolerable if you don’t fly that often. But for the amount of flying that you’ll likely be squeezing in to make the GoWild! pass worth the money, you could end up spending an extra few hundred bucks on top of the $399 over the course of the summer.
Budgeting for a carry-on bag is also more of a rough estimate than a confirmed calculation with Frontier. This is because the airline changes what it charges for non-personal items depending on your flight date, time, distance, etc. A carry-on could cost as low as $30 if you add it at the time of booking, though that number can reach between $50 and $90. It depends on how Frontier’s Bag Price Checker is feeling that day.
Social media(Opens in a new window) is full of Frontier passengers complaining that they were charged for a carry-on that they swear is personal item-sized. While dimension restrictions are listed online and sample compartments to measure your bags should be present at your gate, many people have been hit with surprise fees right before getting on the plane.
Is the GoWild! summer pass worth it?
If you were already planning to do quite a bit of jet-setting this summer or would be on the move if it were more affordable, $399 for all or most of your plane tickets is hard to pass up. The pass is also a no-brainer if you were already researching a big dream destination trip and know that your flight would have been more than $399 anyway.
But you’ll have to be OK with flying by the seat of your pants. Plane pun very intended.
Whether the (lack of) advanced booking notice is enough cushion depends on your specific plans — and your stress levels. For flights within the U.S., not being able to book more than 24 hours in advance means booking a roundtrip flight is off the table — so you’ll need to factor in the possibility of not having solid return plans when you leave. That may not cause as much of a scramble if you’re visiting someone with a flexible schedule. But if you’re dealing with a rental with strict checkout times or a hardcore cancelation policy, a backup plan with backup funds is necessary.
The fine print, annoying baggage fees, and general planning chaos don’t take away from the props Frontier deserves for making travel this accessible — especially during inflation. The GoWild! pass could present serious exploring opportunities for people who weren’t frequent travelers before, or could be someone’s key to traveling abroad for the very first time. Now, get on that passport application.