Frontier Announces Major Expansion

Low-cost specialist Frontier Airlines has unveiled plans for a huge network expansion, adding 21 cities to its route map by next spring. The carrier will also add service on dozens of new routes between cities it already serves.

Introductory fares are as low as $39 each way but keep in mind that Frontier fares are laden with all sorts of extra fees, which it calls “Optional Services.”

The company said the total number of non-stop routes it serves will nearly double by next summer, to 314. Frontier is due to take delivery of more than a dozen new aircraft by the end of next year, and will also free up more planes by trimming frequencies on some existing routes.

At Mineta San Jose Airport, Frontier will start flying to Denver on October 5 and Las Vegas on November 1, followed sometime next spring by flights to Austin and San Antonio. Some routes seem a little odd, like a new nonstop between Atlanta and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The biggest bump in Frontier’s schedules will come at Denver, its headquarters city. In addition to San Jose, Frontier will add flights from DEN to Ontario, California beginning October 12; Albuquerque on October 24; Oklahoma City November 1; Palm Springs November 10; Reno November 21; and later to Boise, Buffalo, Calgary, Charleston (S.C.), El Paso, Fargo, Fresno, Grand Rapids, Jackson Hole, Little Rock, Louisville, Pensacola, Spokane and Tulsa.

The airline will also bulk up its schedule at Islip, Long Island with new service to Ft. Myers, Miami, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New Orleans, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago O’Hare and Detroit. New routes from Austin in addition to San Jose will include Ontario, Calif. as well as Phoenix, New Orleans, Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte, Cincinnati and Columbus.

Frontier’s announcement did not specify the number of flight frequencies in its new markets (but it’s schedules are notoriously thin, which can mean problems when flights are cancelled).

One interesting feature for business travelers is the bundled fare category called “The Works” that includes refundability, a carry-on bag, a checked bag, priority boarding, a waiver of change fees and the best available seat. These fares (which start as low as $59 each way) appeal to business travelers at small or medium sized companies without clout or budget for these extras.

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