Empty middle seats, more legroom

Estimated read time 2 min read

A Frontier Airlines plane lands at the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. 

Elizabeth Page Brumley | Tribune News Service | Getty Images

First class on Frontier? Not quite. But the budget airline on Tuesday launched a new add-on to get more room at the front of its tightly-packed planes — with no middle seat neighbor.

On flights starting April 10, Frontier will offer UpFront Plus in the first two rows of its Airbus planes, where it will block the sale of the middle seat. Those seats will also include four to five inches more legroom compared with most of the seats on the planes, an airline spokeswoman said.

Prices start at $49, for bookings made by March 20 for flights between April 10 and April 30, but the spokeswoman said the seat option “is not intended as a limited time offer.”

Airlines from budget carriers like Spirit and Frontier to behemoths like Delta, United and American have looked for ways to segment their cabins, sell higher-priced products to customers, or add fees for advance seat selection.

Fellow budget airline Spirit offers the “Big Front Seat” in its Airbus cabins. The new Frontier option isn’t a new seat, but is instead spaced differently than most of the plane.

Fees are especially key for budget airlines, which charge more for everything from seat selection to carry-on bags on top of the base fare. Frontier brought in $42 per passenger on average last year from airfare, down 22% from 2022, while non-fare revenue rose 1% to almost $74.

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