While there was once a time when one would see more luggage included in even domestic economy tickets, the airline industry has been bringing in big money by lowering weight limits, upping fees and leaving travelers with no choice but to pay them — in 2023, charging customers for baggage brought U.S.-based airlines nearly $7 billion.
One Frontier Airlines (FRON) – Get Free Report passenger became so frustrated with her baggage fee that now she’s trying to sue the airline. As first reported by airline industry website Simply Flying, traveler Amira Hamad had a bag that failed to fit inside the dimension checker at the check-in counter in Orlando International Airport and was subsequently asked to pay $100 to check it.
Fed-Up Passenger Slams Frontier’s Baggage Rules
According to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of Florida, Hamad claims that she had a bag that was within the dimension and weight limits published on the Frontier website but the sizer at check-in was purposefully made smaller.
Hamad is now seeking a refund of the baggage fee, $10,000 for alleged violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and $100 million in punitive damages in a class-action lawsuit.
The wider allegations claim that Frontier positions itself as a low-cost airline but charges prices comparative with full carriers by also tacking on additional fees that should typically be covered.
While this is the standard model for a low-cost airline, Hamad’s lawyer goes on to argue that charging prices similar to a full carrier requires the airline to cover baggage. The cheapest ticket with Frontier gives passengers only a small personal item like a purse and starts its fees at $35 for a carry-on and $50 for a checked bag.
Lawsuit Accuses Frontier Of Breaking Fees Down
“Frontier is not a budget airline,” reads the lawsuit. “Frontier does not have the lowest airfares. Frontier just breaks its fees into tiny little pieces and checkpoints to water down the appearance of what is actually an average airfare when combined and compared to the industry.”
A Frontier representative told TheStreet that it does not comment on pending litigation “as a matter of policy.”
The lawsuit which goes on to call Frontier’s business model as “‘bait-and-switch’ and ‘gotcha’ tactics” that are “designed to confuse, trick, and trap consumers.”
“Not only does Frontier not adequately explain the nature of its baggage fees at the time of ticket purchase, but Frontier also displays a grossly skewed bag sizer at the gate that is smaller than the allowed 14″H x 18″W x 8″D dimension for personal Items,” the lawsuit claims. The lawsuit was filed on June 29 and is expected to move forward in the coming weeks.
If successful, the lawsuit could change how airlines are required to present additional baggage fees
Unexpected fees are one of the most common passenger complaints about low-cost airlines in general — while the all-you-can-fly pass Frontier launched a year ago has seen very strong pickup, the biggest criticism is that the claim of “pay once and fly as much as you want” fails to mention the baggage and airport fees one has to cover on each flight.