Those commissions add up: Shurz said Frontier spends about $55 million to 60 million annually on distribution fees. In the first half of 2012, 42 percent of Frontier's $713 million in revenue came through tickets sold directly with the airline. Shurz hopes to increase that figure to 65 percent in a few years, cutting expenses in the process.
Frontier's customers have a big incentive to book directly.
Only those going through the airline's website will get to pick their seats in advance. Travelers booking through third-party websites will only get half the frequent flier miles. Fees for changing itineraries, going standby, traveling as an unaccompanied minor or bringing a pet onboard will be $50 higher for those booking elsewhere.
Frontier is a low-cost carrier based in Denver. It flies to 80 destinations in the United States, many smaller cities, as well as leisure destinations such as Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. Through August, it carried 9.1 million passengers. In that same period, United Continental Holdings Inc. carried 96.1 million passengers.
In a related move to increase loyalty, Frontier is lowering the amount of frequent flier miles needed for a free flight by 5,000. The airline also changed its website URL to flyfrontier.com.
About the only thing not changing are baggage fees: They will remain $20 for each of the first two checked bags regardless of where you buy a ticket.
AP Airlines Writer Samantha Bomkamp contributed to this report.
Scott Mayerowitz can be reached at http://twitter.com/GlobeTrotScott.
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