Frontier Airlines Boarding Zones & Process — Everything You Need to Know

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Frontier Airlines is a low-cost carrier based in Denver, Colorado. They have an extensive flight network throughout the United States, mostly to smaller cities and airports — but by December 2018, they’ll have added service to several locations in Mexico and the Caribbean.

Being a low-cost carrier, Frontier does as much as they can to save money. As a result, they fly their planes longer each day and don’t have a lot of extra planes sitting around unused.

For passengers, this means that a mechanical problem or weather issue can impact a whole lot of flights later in the day as well. That jet stuck on the ground in St. Louis probably had 4 other flights left before it was supposed to rest for the night — and those are all delayed or canceled now too.

This leads to is a lot of anger toward what is really a pretty good airline. They are straightforward about their pricing (everything costs extra), they have super low fares (think $19 and up), and their flight crews are generally very friendly.

As long as you can accept that things might go wrong and you have a plan for dealing with it if they do, flying with Frontier can be a great way to save some money.

If you do end up booking one of their flights, your best bet is to be prepared. Here’s one way to do that — let’s take a look at the boarding procedures on Frontier Airlines so you’re ready to get up in the air.

Frontier Airlines Boarding Zones

Boarding with Frontier Airlines is actually pretty simple. Of course, you get some people who clog up the boarding area because they don’t know what they are doing — which is amplified by the fact that Frontier caters to less experienced travelers.

However, it really isn’t much worse than with any other airline.

The process begins with boarding the typical passengers who need extra assistance first, followed by myFRONTIER Miles elite members and people who have purchased priority boarding.

Then they allow families to board, and finally the rest of the passengers through general boarding.

One oddity in the process is that general boarding on Frontier Airlines is actually a zone of one or more sub-groups, depending on the number of passengers.

The general boarding sub-groups are boarded in order by rows, starting from the back of the plane and going toward the front.

Here are the details of who is eligible to board with each zone on Frontier Airlines.

Special Services

  • Passengers needing a wheelchair or other boarding assistance
  • Unaccompanied minors

Zone 1 Boarding (Priority Boarding)

  • Passengers who purchase a carry-on bag
  • Passengers who purchase the WORKS
  • Elite members of myFRONTIER Miles

Courtesy Boarding

  • Families traveling with small children (under 3 years old)
  • Other passengers requiring additional time or assistance

General Boarding

  • All other passengers

Boarding Notes

Like most airlines, Frontier begins their boarding process 30 minutes prior to departure, but they shorten the process with fewer zones and have a goal of final boarding at 20 minutes out.

As a result of this abbreviated timing, Frontier plans to close the boarding doors 15 minutes prior to departure.

Most other airlines close the doors at the 10-minute mark, but if you are expecting that and arrive at the gate with 10 minutes to go for a Frontier flight, you very well could be denied boarding. The doors will have closed 5 minutes before you got there!

Hot Tip: Make sure to complete your check-in and print your boarding pass at home before your flight to avoid lines at the airport. Also, if you use the Frontier Airlines free mobile app, you can get your mobile boarding pass on your phone once you are checked in.

How To Build Up Your myFRONTIER Miles Balance

Frontier World Mastercard Bonus Categories
With bonus categories of 5x on Frontier flight purchases and 3x on all dining, you can easily build up enough myFRONTIER Miles to take your first award trip. Photo courtesy of

It’s great to be at the airport and board a flight at any time, but it’s even better to board a flight that you didn’t have to pay for!

Paying for tickets and flying with Frontier Airlines is the most straightforward way to earn miles in their myFRONTIER Miles loyalty program. But if you’re looking to fly free as quickly as possible, this isn’t the fastest way to earn.

Frontier also has a limited network of partners that you can earn miles with. These partners include car rental companies, hotels, cruises, and a few online shopping sites — but again, you won’t earn free flights very quickly with these partners unless you do a lot of business with them.

By far the easiest way to earn miles with Frontier Airlines is with their recently relaunched Frontier Airlines World Mastercard. The card is issued by Barclays, and has some features that make it great for families.

An interesting feature of this card is that you can spend your way to elite status, including all the way up to the top-tier Elite 100K status in the myFRONTIER Miles program. No other airline credit cards let you do that — and if you fly a lot with Frontier, this can be a great value.

Hot Tip: Although it would take a combination of 100,000 miles earned through spending and flying to reach the top tier elite status, the lowest level elite status with myFRONTIER only requires a total of 20,000 miles. Elite 20K gets you a free carry-on, free seat selection, free priority boarding, waived redemption fees, and free stretch seating at check-in. That’s a great value, even if you only fly with Frontier a few times a year (and a fairly easy number of miles to hit).

Final Thoughts

As we mentioned above, boarding a Frontier Airlines flight can be a bit chaotic. This is partially due to the type of customer that Frontier caters to (often inexperienced or less comfortable with air travel), but mostly due to people just not knowing the process.

By following what we’ve outlined and learning how boarding will work before you get to the airport, you’re already a step ahead of the game. If you want to be even more prepared, check out our detailed review of what to expect when you fly with Frontier.

They are definitely a low-cost carrier…but if you know what you’re doing, Frontier Airlines can be a great way to get where you are going and save some money along the way.

Featured Image: Courtesy of


How many boarding groups are there on Frontier?

Frontier Airlines uses three pre-boarding groups, Special Services, Zone 1 Priority Boarding, and Courtesy Boarding, before they board the majority of their passengers through General Boarding. General Boarding contains one or more groups going from the rear to the front of the plane.

Are Frontier flights assigned seating?

Yes, Frontier Airlines uses assigned seating on all of their flights. To select your own seat, you need to pay a fee. Otherwise, a seat will be assigned to you when you check in for your flight.

Who can board with Special Services on Frontier?

On Frontier Airlines, passengers needing a wheelchair or other boarding assistance and unaccompanied minors can board the plane first as a part of  the Special Services group.

Who is in Zone 1 on Frontier?

On Frontier Airlines, Zone 1 and Priority Boarding are the same thing. The Zone includes passengers who purchase a carry-on bag, passengers who purchase the WORKS℠ package for their flight, and Elite members of the myFRONTIER Miles program.

Who has Priority Boarding on Frontier?

Zone 1 and Priority Boarding are two names for the same boarding zone on Frontier Airlines. Passengers who purchase a carry-on, passengers who purchase the WORKS℠ package, and Elite members of myFRONTIER Miles are eligible to board with Zone 1 Priority Boarding.

Who can board with Courtesy Boarding on Frontier?

Courtesy Boarding on Frontier Airlines takes place right before General Boarding. Families traveling with small children (under 3 years old) and other passengers requiring additional time or assistance are eligible to board when Courtesy Boarding is called.

Who is in General Boarding on Frontier?

After myFRONTIER Elite members, passengers who have purchased Priority Boarding, and those passengers who are in need of special assistance are done boarding, all remaining passengers are in the General Boarding zone on Frontier Airlines. General Boarding is split into groups and boards the plane by row, from back to front.

Jeff Brownson

About Jeff Brownson

Since discovering miles and points in 2010, Jeff has traveled to over 35 countries, flying in first class, business class, and sometimes even in coach. Whether he’s staying in a hostel dorm, or in a luxury suite at a 5 star hotel, Jeff is constantly looking for the best deal to make travel as close to free as possible.


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