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Frontier Reverses Course, Rebundles Services

SmarterTravel

The overriding theme of airline pricing in recent years has been unbundling: offering a low fare for basic transportation and selling extra services (meals, seat selection, checked bags, and so on) for a fee. It’s the steakhouse model, where there is no published full-meal price; everything is priced and purchased a-la-carte.

In a clever reversal of the unbundling trend, Frontier is offering a rebundled package of services it calls The Works as an add-on to its fares.

Depending on the route, The Works is priced between $49 and $69 each way. For that, travelers receive the following:

  • One carry-on bag
  • One checked bag
  • Best available seat
  • No change fees
  • Priority boarding
  • Full refund for trips canceled at least 24 hours in advance

Frontier puts the value of the package of fee waivers and services at $125, so the bundled price appears to be a bargain by comparison. But is it really?

For many travelers, the best-available seat promise will be the most compelling piece of the package, since Frontier’s standard seating is super-tight. But there may not be any upgraded seats available at the time of booking. The flexibility afforded by full refundability and no change fees is welcome in theory. But in practice, the great majority of flyers do just fine without paying extra for such allowances. No fee for a carry-on bag? OK, but remember that most other airlines never charge to carry on a bag.

Sometimes you want it all: the steak, an appetizer, multiple side dishes, bread, dessert. For those occasions, ordering The Works may indeed be a bargain. For those who just want a baked potato and creamed corn with their steak, however, The Works is overkill, and therefore overpriced.

Reader Reality Check

Will you be booking The Works when flying Frontier?

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This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

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