June 17, 2024

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History is being made in the airline industry this week, especially pertaining to budget travelers.

Most fliers seeking flexibility choose Southwest – one of America’s most traveler-friendly airlines.

And those seeking the biggest savings often choose one of a handful of low-cost carriers, sacrificing most, if not all, amenities. Not even a complimentary Coke.

The shocking news was reported this week by not only one popular budget airline but two.

On May 17th, Frontier dropped a bombshell, completely eliminating change fees and cancelations for all flights.

Female traveler using airport kiosk

You know, the same airline that appoints gate agents to single out passengers to measure oversized Personal Items to squeeze out an extra $100.

In a copycat move, Frontier’s biggest direct competitor said, “hold my $10 lukewarm beer”, and now offers travelers the same flexibility.

Both Frontier and Spirit now offer free cancelations and changes on all flights – here is what you should know:

A New Direction For Frontier

Frontier plane flying in blue skyFrontier plane flying in blue sky

Southwest has been a unicorn in the airline industry for years. Heck, you can’t even buy their tickets on third-party sites like the rest.

With what some would say is a cult-like following, Southwest has been on the cusp of being labeled a “budget airline”, especially when it comes to their famous Wanna Get Away fares.

But what travelers love most is the airline’s flexibility, and while it took years to convince their competitors to change their tune, it seems to have worked.

Let’s face it – Frontier has had a rough go in the press. Whatever they’re paying their PR team isn’t enough.

Woman at AirportWoman at Airport

Between viral travel experiences gone wrong, to flat out rude staff interactions, the airline has consistently had to go on the defensive.

To their credit, it seems they’ve been listening, ultimately deciding to make a major change shifting toward full transparency and ‘worry-free’ flexibility to stand out beyond just cheap airfare.

These are the 4 most notable changes being made by Frontier:

  • Transparent Pricing – upfront pricing for all cabin classes, including more perks like baggage
  • No Change Fees – zero change or cancellation fees for all cabin classes (except Basic)
  • More Time To Book – flight credits are now extended to full year with increased customer support
  • Best Price Guarantee – if you find a lower fare, travelers will receive 2,500 FRONTIER Miles
Frontier plane flying in Washington DCFrontier plane flying in Washington DC

Spirit’s Complete Overhaul

It seems there is such a thing as bad press after all since both of America’s bottom-of-the-barrel airlines are making positive changes for travelers.

Spirit has been the butt of jokes for years, commonly referred to as the ‘Greyhound of the skies’.

But hey, you gotta give credit where credit is due and Rome wasn’t built in a day as they say…

The Florida-based budget carrier has been dealing with a lot lately – failed mergers, bankruptcy rumors, and now their biggest rival swept the rug out from under them with these incredible new policies.

Spirit plane flying over St. MaartenSpirit plane flying over St. Maarten

Whether out of spite, or truly wanting to become more traveler-friendly, the bottom line is Spirit’s sudden change is one for the ages.

Travelers now have so many options to score cheap flights and not worry about plans falling through.

Like a Super Mario game, Spirit is one-upping Frontier by eliminating change and cancelation fees for all ticket fares, according to Simple Flying.

Spirit used to charge as much as $119 for these changes, but those days appear to be over as they now embrace a new image, including being named America’s safest airline.

Female traveler entering international terminalFemale traveler entering international terminal

A New Era For Budget Travelers

Frontier and Spirit may be the most commonly known U.S. low-cost airlines, but they had no choice but to join in on a new era for those of us who stuff our bags to see the world on a budget.

America’s two newest airlines laid the groundwork for better policies, behind Southwest of course, by never charging flight change or cancelation fees.

Both Breeze and Avelo have grown in recent years by becoming some of the most flexible airlines in the nation.

Female tourist with boarding pass at airportFemale tourist with boarding pass at airport

Now that Frontier and Spirit have joined the party, travelers can rejoice and let out a sigh of relief, knowing there won’t be any extra charges for unforeseen circumstances that come up.

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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