Big changes coming for Denver-based Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines jet pulls into gate at Denver International Airport
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DENVER -- Denver's hometown airline, Frontier, plans a brand new approach in its fight to survive.

It's a fight that is about to heat up as soon as competitor Spirit Airlines starts service in Denver in less than two months.

New Frontier Airlines CEO David Siegel is the man who has the task to overhaul Frontier Airlines into an ultra low-cost carrier. "It's a change in the business. When you think of low-cost carriers, the traditional definition ... those carriers today, Southwest and Jet Blue -- they're not low-cost anymore," Siegel says. "If you look at their fares, their fares aren't low."

Instead, Frontier will take on airlines like Allegiant and Spirit, known as no-frills carriers with dirt-cheap fares that charge extra for everything from carry-ons to cans of soda.

Siegel says Frontier doesn't plan to "nickel-and-dime" its passengers to extremes, but customers who pay the lowest fares will likely sit in the back of the plane, have less leg room, and they might have to pay for things like carry-on luggage, in-flight TV and Internet.

Some of Frontier's planes may have an extra six seats added to get the most money out of full flights.

Siegel says that no matter the challenges Frontier faces, the airline isn't going anywhere. "As long as there is a Frontier Airlines in Denver, there will be low fares in Denver. That's what we're committed to."

Siegel expects Frontier to still be around five years from now.

Things aren't getting any easier. Spirit Airlines announced Monday it just hired a former Frontier executive, no doubt in hopes of gaining a competitive edge.

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