When Sean Menke left Air Canada and returned to Denver to run Frontier, he evidently brought with him more than just a taste for Molson’s beer. He may have brought home something of Air Canada’s approach to selling airline seats. The Denver airline just unveiled a new three-tiered approach to fares, offering
Economy, Classic, and Classic Plus fares under the rubric, “when you choose for yourself, you get what you want.” Menke says the airline calls the approach AirFares, and that the website offers a tutorial in how to make a booking and choose a fare. The approach is a bundled one, taking various attributes that Frontier had charged for separately, wrapping them together and offering a ‘combo meal’ approach. And it’s simpler than the multiple fare levels that used to dominate the carrier’s offering. In that sense, it is much like Air Canada’s four-levels offering, and simpler.
The lowest tier, Economy, is sort of what Frontier’s now offering: a seat with frequent-flyer points; you can get a seat assignment 24 hours before departure, but only on the Web, and you pay $150 for a change fee or for a confirmed alternate flight; it will cost $25 to buy at the airport or over the phone. You pay for on-board TV, you pay for bags and you pay for food.It gets better with Classic, with free TV, free bags and advance seat assignment; the $150 fees also fall to as little a $50 and you get 125% of the mileage. Fares in the Classic class start at about $20 more than those in Economy.
Classic Plus is the highest and best: you get everything, pay no fees for changes and can get 150% of the mileage points. Or a flight between Washington National and Denver, Frontier’s fares ranged between
a rock-bottom $169.70 and Classic Plus high of $359.69 for the outbound leg and a little less for return next month. It sounds simple, and it is, unless you’re a member of the elite levels of Frontier’s loyalty plan, the EarlyReturns Ascent and Summit levels. These privileged few get points tied to their membership level rather than points determined by their fare category.