economy class seats Delta Air Lines
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

One Reason Why You Might Not Want to Upgrade to Frontier Airlines The WORKS

“I  haven’t flown with Frontier Airlines, but I consider them a viable option when I’m looking for an affordable flight. My first Frontier flight will probably be to Denver so I can take advantage of their free lift ticket at Copper Mountain! While researching Frontier’s pricing, I came across the Frontier Airlines the WORKS upgrade package. Basically, the WORKS lets you bundle together a bunch of options to save money compared to if you bought them all individually. So, the question is, should you upgrade to Frontier Airlines the WORKS?”

One Reason Why You Might Not Want to Upgrade to Frontier Airlines The WORKS

I also have not flown as a passenger aboard an airplane operated by Frontier Airlines; but a lift ticket at Copper Mountain costs $150.00 for the day — meaning that Lee Huffman of Bald Thoughts would be taking advantage of a good deal…

…but what if he was not taking advantage of a special deal with Frontier Airlines — and what if the airline ticket had not yet been purchased? Would upgrading to The WORKS package by Frontier Airlines be a good idea?

According to this article, Lee Huffman found airfares of $123.10 each way between Los Angeles and Denver — departing on Friday, March 24, 2017 and returning on Monday, March 27, 2017 — for a total of $246.20 round trip. That airfare excludes taxes and fees.

With The WORKS, you get the following benefits:

  • Your airfare becomes refundable
  • No fees to change your itinerary — subject to any difference in ticket and option prices
  • One checked bag
  • One item to carry aboard the airplane with you
  • Best seat available — including stretch and exit rows

Is The WORKS Worth It?

“But, when I added Frontier Airlines the WORKS upgrade package, the price increased by almost 50%. The WORKS added $64 each way to my ticket price. Is it worth it?”

The answer may be no — for one simple reason:

Los Angeles to Denver itinerary March 2017
Source: Delta Air Lines.

If Lee Huffman purchased the ticket for a flight operated by Frontier Airlines and added The WORKS, the total airfare becomes $373.31…

…but the Comfort+ airfare — which is the version of premium economy class offered by Delta Air Lines — includes all of the benefits of The WORKS for a total cost of $305.40 with two exceptions:

  • The ability to convert your ticket to being refundable
  • No fees when changing your itinerary


This is a classic example of what ultra-low-cost carriers hope to do: profit from passengers who are willing to “upgrade” their tickets, as this is where the money is made.

To pay ridiculously low airfares on ultra-low-cost carriers is indeed possible if you are willing to deal with no frills and bare bones service. That is not necessarily bad; but those airfares are considered “loss leaders” where the ultra-low-cost carrier reels you in — with the hopes that you will pay more for products and services…

…but as shown in this example, adding The WORKS to a Frontier Airlines ticket means that it is suddenly $67.91 more expensive than the Delta Air Lines Comfort+ ticket. Unless you plan on changing your itinerary at least once — which would cost you $200.00 on a ticket issued by Delta Air Lines — the ticket issued by Frontier Airlines is not such a bargain after all.

In the case of Lee Huffman, he actually would still be saving $82.09 when factoring in the ski lift ticket; but with regard to this specific situation, I personally would choose the Comfort+ option with Delta Air Lines versus The WORKS option with Frontier Airlines — leaving out the ski lift ticket option, of course.

If you are steadfast about Frontier Airlines being your only option in terms of airline, then The WORKS package might be of value to you which you might consider — but that depends on your personal preferences.

You can apply an upgrade to the first class cabin on the aforementioned itinerary on Delta Air Lines for $90.00 round trip — but that does not change the restrictions on the airfare; and you would get some snacks and beverages at best in terms of food options. Some people might also not like that an Embraer 175 airplane — which is a regional jet aircraft — is used instead of a mainline aircraft on at least one flight on this route.

Choosing airfares is unfortunately no longer as easy as simply comparing prices. Personal preferences and desired options are only two of a number of factors which you should account into your decision as to which airline and airfare to choose — as well as frequencies and schedules, flexibility, frequent flier loyalty program benefits, elite level status, flight network, promotional offers, and other factors.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

  1. i really don’t understand why people aren’t taking advantage of the weak CAD if you want a nice ski vacation. Copper isn’t even remotely on the same scale as Whistler-Blackcomb if you’re comparing the ski experience alone.

    flying a bad airline to the wrong mountain for the sake of a free day pass is a bit like Cinderella’s sisters cutting their feet to fit the glass slipper.

    1. Well, I cannot say that Frontier Airlines is a bad airline because I have never flown as a passenger on it, henry LAX; but you do bring up a good point about visiting other countries with a favorable currency exchange where you can potentially save money.

      1. They’re horrible once you look at their bottom-tier operational metrics and woefully inadequate IRROPS recovery. In your example, if picking between F9 and DL, I’d pick DL any day of the week (personally I prefer another carrier but that’s irrelevant to this particular comparison).

        When USD-CAD was at parity, visiting Whistler could be nearly as painful as a ski trip at Zermatt. But as of today, it’s a great steal. You’d get the acreage of Vale, the powder quality of Telluride, the apres-ski of Aspen, all for the price of Sun Valley.

        1. I had the pleasure of snowboarding in Whistler in 2000, right after the Olympics. It was a bad snow year, but it was still an amazing experience. Boarding down the Blackcomb Glacier was a unique experience.

          You guys make some great points in favor of skipping Frontier for the “traditional” carriers. It is worth it to investigate your options because what seems like a great deal could end up costing more in the long run.

  2. One tactic that I hadn’t considered until now is… find the cheapest possible ticket into Denver. Book it, but don’t fly, then use that your coupon alternative to get the BOGO lift ticket.

    Then, when you’re done at Copper Mountain, keep driving until you get to Vail or Steamboat Springs for even better snow.

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