Low-cost US carrier Frontier Airlines is facing not just a $100 million dollar lawsuit, but backlash from customers over alleged hidden fees and dubious baggage fee regulations.
The lawsuit, filed on June 29, 2023, is being brought by one of Frontier’s customers, Amira Hamad, who stated in court documents that she is filing this individually, and “on behalf of similarly situated others”.
The lawsuit starts by saying that Frontier Airlines, a carrier that refers to itself as the “Home of low fares done right”, does not offer the lowest fares, and is not a budget airline as it claims to be.
“Frontier is not a budget airline. 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,” the lawsuit stated.
The lawsuit further stated the following allegations:
Misleading low fares
According to the lawsuit, Frontier falsely misled, and continues to mislead, customers into believing that they are purchasing low fares when in fact “Frontier makes up whatever discount it purports to give consumers in fraudulent and unwarranted charges.”
Bait and switch tactics
The lawsuit alleges that Frontier uses “bait and switch”, and “gotcha” tactics that are “designed to confuse, trick, and trap consumers to the public’s detriment”.
One example cited by lawsuit is the airline’s carry-on baggage regulation, which states that passengers are allowed one carry-on item on board with no charge, given that it fits the dimensions of 14x18x8 inches.
However, the measuring devices that Frontier has at the gates are “drastically smaller” than those measurements.
The lawsuit also alleges that the airline has an incentive scheme where employees who charge excess fees at the gate are given bonuses.
“The actions and omissions of the Defendant constitute fraud, violate the Florida’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act and Consumer Protections Act, and are in material breach of the understandings between FRONTIER and the Plaintiff and similarly situated consumers,” the lawsuit states.
Social media backlash
The lawsuit allegations are corroborated by a barrage of social media posts written by fellow disgruntled “similarly situated consumers”.
A Tiktok video posted in March 2023 showed a passenger with a carry-on bag that clearly fit inside Frontier’s measuring device. However, the gate agent was adamant that it did not fit.
The video is included in the lawsuit as an example of the airline’s alleged bait and switch tactic.
Another video shows a passenger breaking his skateboard into two pieces after Frontier allegedly told him he needed to pay $80.00 because it was “too big”.
Meanwhile, another Frontier customer posted a video sharing alleged ‘tactics’ used by the low-cost carrier to accumulate as many baggage fees as possible, and its incentive scheme for gate agents for every bag fee charged.
A Frontier spokesperson told various media outlets that the airline does not comment on pending litigation.