Frontier Airlines A321 taking off at Charlotte Douglas International Airport


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Frontier Airlines' all-you-can-fly pass gives you unlimited flights this summer for $499 (a jump from its introductory $399 price tag), but like anything else that sounds too good to be true, there are a couple of big catches that kill the deal for a lot of travelers.

The new GoWild! summer pass is similar to Frontier's annual pass but costs less than half of the price, because you can only fly between April 11 and Sept. 30, not year-round. For $499, you can book as many flights as you want, paying only a penny for each segment. Naturally, you have to pay applicable taxes and fees too, which is a predictable, if annoying, catch. 

What's much less predictable is that you can book domestic tickets only the day before you fly. So forget about planning ahead in the slightest, because popular nonstop routes may be booked by the time you can reserve them. You have to be the most spontaneous traveler with the most flexible schedule in the world to take advantage of Frontier's pass. International flights can be booked 10 days ahead, but that time frame is still a challenge for many flyers.

The day-before rule for domestic flights means that you can't book round-trip tickets, either. So maybe you're flexible about when you head to Las Vegas, but being stuck there for a couple of extra days to avoid a 5 a.m. flight or wait for a nonstop to have a seat available could get old — and expensive — fast. If that sounds anxiety-inducing to you thanks to work and school schedules, you're probably not alone.

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Don't forget all the other fine print, too. You'll still have to pay baggage fees, and Frontier notoriously charges even for carry-ons. If you need help with a ticket or something goes wrong, you can't call Frontier for help because the company ditched its customer service phone line in November. And there are blackout dates — lots of them: three days in May, two in June, seven(!) in July, one in August, and two in September.

All of those caveats add up to one big headache for a flight pass that should be fun. Unless you're planning to travel internationally for a week and are fine with booking the flight to and from at the last minute, you may be able to save some money. If you have zero responsibilities, fly with nothing more than a small backpack, and don't care where or when you go, you can probably save money. Just be prepared to fly by the seat of your pants.

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