Why Those $11 Frontier Fares Aren't as Good of a Deal as You Thought

Frontier Airlines A320 Landing at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
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Discount carrier Frontier Airlines is offering deeply discounted airfares, starting as low as $11 one-way, during a two-day sale that ends 11:59 p.m. EST July 29, 2020. But if the deal sounds too good to be true—you're right. The sale is only available to members of Frontier's Discount Den service, and there are quite a few restrictions on when and what routes you can actually fly.

Discount Den is a membership that grants access to members-only deals on Frontier, such as this current sale. The $59.99 annual membership comes with its own host of rules and regulations, including Frontier's "right to cancel, extend, or suspend membership at its sole discretion for any reason." Otherwise, memberships automatically renew, and if you chose to cancel after the renewal date, the fee is non-refundable. On average, Discount Den fares range between $5 to $30 cheaper than regular fares, but there are some significant discounts available. A one-way ticket from Denver (DEN) to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) usually costs $65 but is $11 through Discount Den.

Tickets can be purchased for flights from Aug. 5 through Dec. 17, 2020, but some routes (such as New York's LaGuardia to Chicago's O'Hare airports) don't have availability until as late as October. The sale only applies to nonstop domestic destinations and excludes travel on the following dates: Sept. 3, 4, and 7, 2020; Oct. 8 through 12 and 16 through 18, 2020; and Nov. 19 through Dec. 1, 2020. The fares are also non-refundable after 24 hours. Cancellation fees for a ticket are up to $119, which far outweighs the potential savings. While Frontier does have change fees waived, that policy ends on July 31, 2020, and it's unclear if these Discount Den sales fares are included.

Those much-talked-about $11 flights do indeed exist, but they are mostly available on routes departing from Denver, the airline's hub. For other destinations, Discount Den fares are as high as $129. Even if you do find a deeply discounted fare for your desired travel dates, available seats are limited, and you will have to pay additional fees to select a seat in advance and to bring a carry-on or checked bag. For the hypothetical flight from DEN to EWR, you'll pay a minimum of $27 for a carry-on and $32 for a checked bag. The fee to select a seat in advance ranges from $17 to $55.

If you do decide to take advantage of the offer—which could be worth if it if you already have a Discount Den membership—Frontier requires all passengers to wear masks at all points during the boarding process and flights. They're also doing temperature readings of passengers at boarding. People with temperatures of 100.4 degrees F or higher will not be allowed to board. For more information on Frontier's new sanitation procedures, you can check out their website.