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

Jeff Brownson's image
Jeff Brownson
Jeff Brownson's image

Jeff Brownson

Former Content Contributor

24 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 40U.S. States Visited:

Jeff got into the points and miles game in 2010 and since then has visited over 35 countries, flying mostly in first and business class. He’s a contributor to Traveling Dad and has spoken at the Chica...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury


35 Published Articles 3228 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 47U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Frontier Airlines is a low-cost carrier based in Denver, Colorado. It has an extensive flight network throughout the U.S., mostly to smaller cities and airports, with service to several locations in Mexico and the Caribbean. It is straightforward about its pricing (everything costs extra), it has super low fares (think $19 and up), and its 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 a Frontier flight, 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. The process begins with boarding passengers who need extra assistance first, followed by myFRONTIER Miles elite members and people who have purchased priority boarding. Then families are allowed 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 or the PERKS bundle
  • 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 – Zone 2, 3, and 4 (Called in Order)

  • All other passengers

Boarding Notes

Like most airlines, Frontier begins its boarding process 30 minutes prior to departure, but it shortens 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 mobile app (iOS, Android), 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 FRONTIER miles to take your first award trip. Image Credit: Frontier

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 its 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 its 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 card lets 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

By following what we’ve outlined and learning how Frontier’s boarding will work before you get to the airport, you’re already a step ahead of the game.

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

The information regarding the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many boarding groups are there on Frontier?

Frontier Airlines uses 3 pre-boarding groups — Special Services, Zone 1 Priority Boarding, and Courtesy Boarding — before it boards the majority of its passengers through General Boarding. General Boarding contains Zone 2, 3, and 4 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 its 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 or the PERKS package for their flight, and Elite members of the myFRONTIER Miles program.

Who has Priority Boarding on Frontier?

Zone 1 and Priority Boarding are 2  names for the same boarding zone on Frontier Airlines. Passengers who purchase a carry-on, passengers who purchase the WORKS or the PERKS 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 Zone 2, 3, and 4 groups, and boards the plane by row, from back to front.

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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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