Updated for 2022
My family and I road trip a lot. So much so that we’ve chosen to drive when it would be smarter to fly.
Why is this you ask? Because, as I am sure you are aware, flying as a family of 4 can quickly become cost prohibitive. Over the last year or so, we have flown more than normal thanks to some fantastic fares through budget airlines.
However, as you can imagine, with every fantastic deal, there is always a catch.
In the budget airline world, that catch is numerous fees.
Frontier vs. Allegiant
I am not really here to persuade you in one way or the other when it comes to these choices. Our family has flown both airlines and while we tend to lean towards Frontier more than Allegiant, you could end up flying with Allegiant and having a really good experience.
At the end of the day, you have to make the choice that is the best one for your family. Below you will find the break down of the each of the budget airline and what you can expect.
In the effort of full disclosure Frontier is the airline that we have flown the most as a family.
Frontier Airlines is known for their extremely low fares and they often run $18 one way specials. However, if you are lucky enough to snag one of these tickets at a time and date that works with your travel schedule there are some things that you need to keep in mind.
Frontier Airlines Seat Fees
The seat fee is just for your seat, it doesn’t include choosing an assigned seat, that’s an extra $11 for standard seating and $20 for stretch seating. Stretch seating on Frontier claims that these seats offer an extra 5 to 7 inches of room, tray tables that are larger and they recline (news flash, the standard sets do not recline)
Frontier Airlines Baggage Fees
As is standard with all airlines a personal item is included free of charge.
But, any baggage past the personal item is going to incur a fee.
Here is where things get a bit tricky and frankly are different since this article was originally written.
Now, on the Frontier site, there are not standard fees for bags, there are bag prices that are determined by flight. This means either a flight that has already been booked will require a confirmation number to see the bag fees or you can see the fees once you select flight specifics.
Frontier offers their best pricing to members of their My Frontier program. This program is fee based and is $59.99 for a year (based on when you sign up) and the perks can be applied towards 9 people in your party. So those $29 flights you want to book? You’ll have to sign up for Discount Den before you can snag the super deal. Your $29.00 flight has turned into a $79.99 flight which is still a great value but not quite $30.
Additionally, once you’ve become a Discount Den member, you and your family can take advantage of the Kids Fly Free promotion. For every adult Discount Den fare purchased one child (under 15) can fly for free on valid kids fly free flights.
Our family has also flown Allegiant Airlines.
We used Allegiant when we went to Walt Disney World. Something to keep in mind when flying Allegiant is that they often fly into the smaller regional airports. So, if you weren’t planning on renting a car in say, Walt Disney World, you will suddenly need to.
Allegiant Airline Seat Fees
If you are unwilling to chance your seating assignment, there is a fee to choose your own. The fee varies from $0 – $80 depending on the seat selection that you make.
Allegiant Airlines Baggage Fees
Much like Frontier Airlines, or practically any airline these days, there are fees for any bag that you may want to travel with beyond the standard personal item.
The interesting thing about Allegiant Airlines and their baggage fees is that they range based on the route you take.
The fees for baggage are as follows: Carry-On bags range from $10 – $75
Checked Bags (assuming you aren’t over the 40 pound limit) range from: $21 – $45. Note these prices are assuming you reserve your bag at the time of booking and not when you arrive at the airport.
Now that I’ve give you the basics, here are my thoughts: If you are traveling because you have to be some where at a certain time, the budget airline route might not be the best one for you. We flew Allegiant home from Disney, and our flight was delayed hours upon hours. The bigger issue than the delays was that should the flight have been cancelled altogether, which could leave you stranded for days. I say that you could be stranded for days because some of the routes don’t have daily flights. Additionally, the allure of the $29 fare seems appealing but unless you are only traveling with your personal item, don’t care about where your seat is, and aren’t on a tight timeline, then it might not be the best route to take.
On the flip side, when my family flies we fly the budget airlines because it ends up being what works for us the best and except for one bad flight, we’ve not had an issue. We’d love to know, when you fly with your family, who do you fly with?