Frontier Airlines Ends Coronavirus Ticket Surcharge

Frontier Airlines Ends Coronavirus Ticket Surcharge

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Update: Following widespread criticism of Frontier Airlines’ new practice, the airline has discontinued this fee. As a Frontier Airlines spokesperson explains:

“Frontier Airlines has made the decision to rescind its Covid Recovery Charge of $1.59 per passenger per segment that was implemented in May. The charge, which was included in the airline’s total promoted fare versus an add-on fee, was meant to provide transparency and delineate what portion of the fare was going toward Covid-related business recovery, including repayment of a CARES Act loan from the U.S. Government. However, to avoid misinterpretation, the airline will discontinue the practice of breaking out this category within its overall promoted fares.”

That explanation is bogus, if you ask me, especially somehow connecting this to CARES Act loan repayment. If the airline is breaking down every little cost in its fares, why isn’t there a separate fee associated with labor costs, aircraft financing etc., which are much bigger expenses for the carrier?

Below you can find the original, unedited post, from June 22, 2021.


Is this a new low for airline fees?

Frontier Airlines’ new “Covid Recovery Charge”

Denver-based ultra low cost carrier Frontier Airlines is known for charging a lot of ancillary fees, though a fee recently added to tickets is likely to be more controversial than most. Frontier Airlines has added a “Covid Recovery Charge” to the cost of all tickets.

Here’s how Frontier Airlines describes this new fee:

Covid Recovery Charge: The Covid Recovery Charge offsets added costs to Frontier due to implementing Covid-19 related measures, such as increased sanitation and cleaning onboard the aircraft and in the airport, shields at the ticket counters and gate areas, and personal protective equipment for employees.

You’ll see this new fee reflected in ticket costs. It would appear to me that the “Covid Recovery Charge” is a percentage of the “Carrier Interface Charge” (somewhere around 7%). That’s because when the “Carrier Interface Charge” doubles, so does the “Covid Recovery Charge” (and that’s not linked to the base cost of airfare).

Frontier’s new “Covid Recovery Charge”

Is this fee reasonable, or totally ridiculous?

Ultra low cost carriers earn much of their revenue through ancillary fees. However, in this case we’re not talking about a fee for a voluntary service, but rather something to be tacked onto all tickets.

I have a few thoughts about Frontier Airlines’ new coronavirus surcharge.

First of all, the timing seems odd. Frontier Airlines is now going to start charging customers for shields at ticket counters, and for masks for employees? Shouldn’t those fees have been added over a year ago? Furthermore, this fee applies even for travel well into next year, when these precautions may no longer be necessary.

Clearly Frontier Airlines is charging this now because the domestic airline industry has recovered so much, and Frontier knows it can get away with this, rather than because the airline is actually newly incurring these costs now.

There’s an irony to Frontier Airlines hitting its customers with a coronavirus recovery fee, when taxpayers have funded tens of billions of dollars worth of coronavirus-related bailouts for airlines (including for Frontier Airlines). That’s a nice way for Frontier Airlines to thank taxpayers, eh?

If it’s consolation, I suspect that in many cases airfare on Frontier Airlines hasn’t actually gone up with this fee, but rather the airline has moved pricing around. One motive for having these higher fees is that fees aren’t taxed the same way as airfare, so there’s a tax benefit to the airline.

Frontier is the first airline in the USA to add a coronavirus ticket fee

Bottom line

Frontier Airlines has added a “Covid Recovery Charge” to flights, intended to cover the cost of coronavirus-related precautions, from enhanced cleaning, to plexiglass shields at gates and check-in, to masks for employees.

Clearly this is a money-grab from Frontier Airlines, and the airline is doing this because it knows it can get away with it. This is pretty low, if you ask me, especially after the coronavirus-related support that airlines in the United States received from the government.

What do you make of Frontier Airlines’ new coronavirus fees?

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  1. Anthony Thomas

    I don't see a huge issue with it. Consumers will pick based on the usual factors (overall price, convenience, etc), regardless of how the price is constructed.

    But they probably should have just quietly increased fares a little.

  2. Carolyn

    Frontier has lost their mind. Traveled recently it was awful. There not offering no in flight services except 3.00 for a bottle of water and increased prices.

  3. Maureen Urban

    I won’t be flying Frontier any more. They charge for a carry on now and a seat, excuse me but is there a choice to sit or stand. Ridiculous

    1. Bryan

      Umm what?? You don't stand if you don't pay for a seat. You can get a free seat on Frontier. You just don't get to pick what seat that is. For the love of...

  4. Trey

    They wanted to show a "breakdown" of fees for COVID? Well in that spirit, how about a breakdown of the fare for CEO compensation?

  5. Chase

    The faux outrage about this is hilarious. It literally changes NOTHING as all taxes and fees are required to be disclosed upfront. Look at the fare yesterday...then look at the same fare today. Wow, they're identical! The breakdown has simply shifted to other parts, ULCCs have been doing this ever since they stared flying... Give us all a break and stay in your lane.

  6. shoeguy

    It was egregious. What a lousy, greedy company.

  7. GBOAC

    @Ben, Tiffany

    I appreciated the way you clearly posted the updated content at the top and then followed by the orignal post. Kudos of this new format to deal with updated posts

  8. Constance Thompson

    For one thing those planes are NOT sanitized after each passengers get off the plane. It should be sanitized
    The windows, seatbelts and arm rests should be wiped down after each flight. I fly often and I have NOT seen indication of this and I am very observant. Show your COVID-19 shot card

  9. Dolly

    I will never fly Frontier. Never have and definitely won’t now. This is ridiculous to say the least. The government is giving people stimulus. We’re getting free Covid related medical treatment and testing, food has been provided free rents and on top of that big and small business handouts and here they come along with wanting to charge for something they have undoubtedly already been paid for???? They should be ashamed

  10. Wendy

    Ridiculous. I will never book a flight on frontier.

  11. Diane Colato

    This is the worst airline their is, my grandkids luggage was given to me 5 days after they arrived here for a vacation of 7 days and some items were missing and 5 day delay is $50 dollars compensation and no credit for lost items. Never again

  12. Diana

    Thank God I got my ticket months ago ..because they had a good deal ...I have never flown them and probably never well

  13. RC

    i dont plan on flying frontier ever but wow

  14. RC

    Spirit Airlines announces a new charge to "fly". I can't wait for next. What a slap in the face, but in reality nobody will give $0.02 and they will keep paying thee charges to be treated like crap and stuffed into a sardine can.

  15. Lisa Miller

    I hate Frontier and have not even flown them yet. Will in a few weeks because of flight credits they had from cancelling flights- moving times and changing direct flights to connecting. They suck- the customer service is beyond horrible and this will probably be my first and last time flying them. They have unscrupulous business practices and their CEO could use some training on ethical business practices. This does not surprise me and there...

    I hate Frontier and have not even flown them yet. Will in a few weeks because of flight credits they had from cancelling flights- moving times and changing direct flights to connecting. They suck- the customer service is beyond horrible and this will probably be my first and last time flying them. They have unscrupulous business practices and their CEO could use some training on ethical business practices. This does not surprise me and there should be more people screaming about the bailouts given to these crooks on our dime. Boycott Frontier- make your voices heard.

  16. Bambi Lopez

    Not cool, Frontier. We all have had to implement procedures and absorb the costs. This type of petty charge will only buy them a bad reputation of not appreciating their customers for choosing to fly Frontier Airlines. That is why they received Stimulus $$ from the Taxpayers.... You're Welcome for that.
    Frontier Airlines isn't very smart to think they can just stick it to the little guy..... I will be giving up my seat on any future flight with them.

  17. Eskimo

    I'm going to bet that almost everybody who complains here don't even fly with Frontier.

    And they did disclose what that fee is, not just some non-descript fee.
    Bottom line, you know what you are paying for and how much. Just like any other airline, you either fly with them or don't.

    When it comes to Frontier, I would say their most unfriendly thing is all those unused travel credit that they expire in...

    I'm going to bet that almost everybody who complains here don't even fly with Frontier.

    And they did disclose what that fee is, not just some non-descript fee.
    Bottom line, you know what you are paying for and how much. Just like any other airline, you either fly with them or don't.

    When it comes to Frontier, I would say their most unfriendly thing is all those unused travel credit that they expire in a year. If you remember Spring last year, they offered you to convert to expiring miles, or if you didn't convert credit still expires. It's very obvious that even by March this year, not many people are able to travel yet but they don't extend the credits at all.
    If anything, please raise an issue and complain about this to the authorities or attorney general.
    Having no choice in EXPIRED CREDITS is the bigger issue not some fully disclosed COVID charges you can decide.

  18. Betty

    I was just getting ready to book a flight on Frontier, as it's my usual low-budget way to get from North Carolina to New Jersey. At this point in time, I think I'll just go with one of the major airlines. Frontier, you need to rethink this.

  19. HS

    At the end of the day, they can charge whatever fees they want to. If they want to charge yoy for a "protect you from an invasion from Mars" fee, I see nothing wrong with that as long as they are clear about it.
    I stopped flying Frontier back in the days when they stopped giving out the chocolate cookies (remember those?).
    We're supposed to be a free country with choices, so why...

    At the end of the day, they can charge whatever fees they want to. If they want to charge yoy for a "protect you from an invasion from Mars" fee, I see nothing wrong with that as long as they are clear about it.
    I stopped flying Frontier back in the days when they stopped giving out the chocolate cookies (remember those?).
    We're supposed to be a free country with choices, so why make Frontier change?
    As soon as they bring back the cookies, I "might" consider them again, but to be honest, it'll take more than that. Give your business to companies that deserve it.

  20. Elle

    Never have flown them and w this never will. They received government subsidies like the other carriers. Not right in my opinion.

  21. Alex

    What about all the bail out money the airline industry received?...they might as well not be a reasonable cost friendly airlines, what's next, should I bring quarters to use to the toilet??

  22. Zita

    Price gouging refers to when retailers and others take advantage of spikes in demand by charging exorbitant prices for necessities, often after a natural disaster or other state of emergency. ... In most states, price gouging is set as a violation of unfair or deceptive trade practices law.

  23. maaaaama T

    Its bull,don't nobody else charge for extra cleaning anywhere,and that is part of their job duty in the first place anyway,this is my first time flying frontier and I will probably never again while they have a charge for "cleaning" aka doing their job!!!!

  24. Carol Murry

    Why would you do that Frontier? I used to love to fly with you guys, now I'm not so sure...most have been vaccinated so why should have to pay this charge when you should have over a year ago...

  25. Caitlin Rosta

    I flew frontier recently after my entire life of using others airline companies.. let me just sum up in a few words… NEVER AGAIN.. and this fee is absurd.. and definitely solidified it for me !

  26. Liz

    This is ridiculous of them.

    The only ything to do is not fly with them.

  27. Latonya Johnson

    This is sad y charge for covid fee u alreadi charged a arm leg an back for flight tickets I brought round trip for 2 y they highed the price for 1 of air fair 20 more dollars I will Neva use them again to fly to expensive Period

  28. Mark

    Who cares if at the end their price is lower than other airlines?

  29. Patricia Overbey

    Don't use Frontier. If they are afiliated [sp] with the FRONTIER PHONE CO. ? I pay most of my bills over the automated phone system. Frontier is the only one that charges to do this.

  30. Chelsi

    Pretty bad. I flew with frontier twice last year. Once myself (airplane was NOT sanitized) and had to sit knees about touching with a complete stranger. The way back with my daughter was a little cleaner, but still NOT actually cleaned. They've lost my business. Must mention this was closer to the height of the epidemic.

  31. Jay Leno

    I wouldn't take this piece of junk airlines ever again. Why improve your services before putting b.s. fees. Again bum airlines service. If you look at the fees and the purchase upgrades you're better off with top tier bigger airlines. Frontier is front junk low bottom tier.

  32. Jay

    I will never fly that sorry a**airline. They ain nothing but a bunch of thieves!!! It is a trash airline like Spirit.

  33. Tricia

    Shouldn't they have been cleaning and sanitizing before Covid? So now let's charge customers for cleaning. Loathe Frontier

  34. LuPreel

    Recently booked a flight with Frontier. When we read the HORRIBLE reviews that this airline got, we requested a refund within 24 hours. Frontier said it was NOT before the 24 hours, but would not provide us the time stamp of the cancellation. After days of dispute, including disputing the charge with our credit card, they refunded all but 10% of the purchase price (even though we can PROVE that the cancellation was within 24...

    Recently booked a flight with Frontier. When we read the HORRIBLE reviews that this airline got, we requested a refund within 24 hours. Frontier said it was NOT before the 24 hours, but would not provide us the time stamp of the cancellation. After days of dispute, including disputing the charge with our credit card, they refunded all but 10% of the purchase price (even though we can PROVE that the cancellation was within 24 hours!). Now they're adding another fee? Like Poms said, the 101st reason for staying as far away as possible from Frontier. Extra charges + no customer service = Crappy Airline (and hopefully soon to be out of business).

  35. JoAnne M Donahue

    They are charging additional fees for something they should be doing in the first place? Covid or no Covid, the planes should always be cleaned and sanitized.
    I did not like Frontier Airlines prior to the new "Covid" fees, but I will now go out of my way not fly with them. Ever.

  36. Inhisbag

    I knew it was to good to be true, the very affordable pricing, and the fact that what use to be affordable isn’t anymore. The pricing should equate the comfortability, and we all know that the seats on these Jets are hard as a rock! Not to mention not having beverages offered instead of having to apply for their major cc or swiping our own to quench our thirst. I had a strong feeling that...

    I knew it was to good to be true, the very affordable pricing, and the fact that what use to be affordable isn’t anymore. The pricing should equate the comfortability, and we all know that the seats on these Jets are hard as a rock! Not to mention not having beverages offered instead of having to apply for their major cc or swiping our own to quench our thirst. I had a strong feeling that airline ticketing price increase would be implemented especially now that we are entering post pandemic. Smh

  37. carol persin

    I think is is a bogus fee. You should of been cleaning the plain better in the first place. It’s all part of being a open business owner. The government did give extra funding during the pandemic and I personally still flew. I just cleaned my own seat and area with my own supplies. I didn’t get a reduction in rate for cleaning my area.

  38. Jaded platinum

    In the whole race to the bottom amongst the Dollar Store carriers, just wondering which one will be the first to charge for lavatory access....

  39. ChadMC

    What is a "Carrier Interface Charge"? Some other bs fee to avoid taxation?

    1. EX F9

      It's what they charge you for using your computer, to interface with their computer, to book your ticket. Like pointed out, if you go to the Airport Ticket counter to purchase, you avoid the fee.

  40. Chris ( former airline employee)

    The fees being charged and in-flight service cuts are appalling and outrageous.
    The newest fees are to cover things that are more than likely tax deductible.
    In addition, all airlines are getting major aid from the government to recoup much of the losses due to covid.
    Nothing but GREED!!

  41. Kenneth Chapman

    This decision will change my decision to fly Frontier again. Extremely poor decision on their part.

  42. Parveen Cole

    Are they going to give the passengers food or drink for the extra charge? Or a bag checked in at no extra cost to the passenger? Remember when the airlines started to charge extra for bags because the price of fuel had gone up? Fuel prices came down; how come we still have to pay extra to check in bags? And last but not least, will the Airline staff at least speak politely to the...

    Are they going to give the passengers food or drink for the extra charge? Or a bag checked in at no extra cost to the passenger? Remember when the airlines started to charge extra for bags because the price of fuel had gone up? Fuel prices came down; how come we still have to pay extra to check in bags? And last but not least, will the Airline staff at least speak politely to the passengers? They don't have to smile. Or does that require an extra fee? Please, let in the foreign Airlines who know what customer service is and then let us see where these 2nd rate airlines go.

  43. Cheryl Shei

    I think it's ridiculous yo add on this charge. You all should be sanitizing your planes anyway. If you continue to add charges like this, then people will fly other airlines
    You are known for low cost fares. Your airplanes are old. So be aware. There are many other flight options and better ones out there.

    1. EX F9

      They have the newest planes in the industry! They make appear old from the 20 hour a day utilization they drive their planes to. But their entire fleet is 6 years or less.

    2. Bryan

      LMAO. I love people who just blab on the internet to hear themselves talk. Frontier has one of the absolute youngest fleets in the country. Wow.

  44. Diane

    Will not be flying with them. That airline is too small anyway, who would feel safe now. I have flown with them in the pass before covid. They are ridiculous.

  45. Brian

    I will no longer fly Frontier. Been a customer since the get go in 1994. Hello Southwest

  46. Roy Daiell

    Just one more reason to fly a different airline

  47. Commenting Commenter

    Can the government stop them from doing this? I mean… first, a gazillion dollars of bailout and now they do this. They shouldn't be allow to do this if they took money. I've never flown them and never will, but talk about a trash airline going down to plain dumpster.

  48. philelltt

    Ben, perhaps you might reach out to the airline for an explanation of their point of view.

  49. PGrane

    Totally inexcusable!!! Like you mentioned, they received Federal Emergency Funding that the taxpayers are footing. This fee should not be allowed!!

  50. Poms

    OK, so this will be #101 reason for never flying Frontier?

  51. Mike DeMeo

    Time for the feds to step in and take back any and all recovery bailout taxpayer money!!

    This is outrageous!

  52. William

    Oh deer, this does seem squirrelly. When you find out about it during booking, it mustang. Some will see it as robin the passengers, but others will think F9 is just parroting other travel companies. You can complain about it until you’re horse, but I’m not sure what the porpoise would be.

  53. KingBob

    Frontier can add all the fees they want. Under U.S. laws the airfare an airline posts must include all taxes and fees. The consumer will compare each airline's posted fare to make a decision on what to purchase. So the price you see is the price you pay, no matter how many ridiculous fees are jammed in there.

  54. Janet Ditzer

    Frontier is gouging their customers for the very last cent. Their "The Works" pkg DOES NOT GIVE 100% as advertised. Additionally their flights are paired which in some cases involve a 20 hr flight where they refuse to let you book travel involving less time via 2 cities when the layover is far less. By the time you pay all the fees(baggage seat choice boarding) you're better off with carriers charging a higher ticket cost.

  55. A Grumpy Old Man from GA

    I have no problem with an airline covering their expenses, even if they actually call it out instead of baking it into their prices. However, I completely agree the timing is very weird as we emerge from this pandemic. Also, you make a good point about the government COVID funding. I know some of that was to be sure these businesses came out the other side, but I think it would be very pertinent for...

    I have no problem with an airline covering their expenses, even if they actually call it out instead of baking it into their prices. However, I completely agree the timing is very weird as we emerge from this pandemic. Also, you make a good point about the government COVID funding. I know some of that was to be sure these businesses came out the other side, but I think it would be very pertinent for the government to claw back a piece of the funding if the airline is going to essentially double charge for some of their higher expenses.

  56. Mustafa

    I actually emailed Frontier about this a few weeks ago. The reason why they also have this fee is to help push down the cost of the Carrier Interface Charge (CIC), since it is waived for tickets booked at the airport counter. Frontier also tacks on a $5 High Airport Cost charge for tickets leaving out of airports such as LGA, ORD, and LAX. By charging separate fees, they can get away with lower tax...

    I actually emailed Frontier about this a few weeks ago. The reason why they also have this fee is to help push down the cost of the Carrier Interface Charge (CIC), since it is waived for tickets booked at the airport counter. Frontier also tacks on a $5 High Airport Cost charge for tickets leaving out of airports such as LGA, ORD, and LAX. By charging separate fees, they can get away with lower tax payments while also making it difficult for other fees to be waived. I asked how can passengers have these fees waived. Their response:

    " Thank you for contacting Frontier Airlines about inquiry regarding the High Cost Airport Charge, the COVID Recovery Charge and the Carrier Interface Charge and if they are imposed by the air carrier or the government. I understand that this is an important matter to you and I would be happy to assist.

    I have researched your inquiry and the fares are not imposed by the government. Also, the Carrier Interface Charge is charged by the third party agency, not by Frontier Airlines.

    Thank you for your patience and we look forward to having you fly with us in the future. "

    They completely ignored the part of the email of how some of these fees can be waived.

  57. Ron

    They compete with others in the "vacation special" arena. The bottom line for many will be just that...the bottom line. If they are higher than Spirit or SW they will lose. If they are lower, they will win. For destinations like Trenton NJ where they are the only choice, they will win. Hidden fees get found out and creates backlash.

  58. Abey

    As far as the markets go this does not bother me the IRS though should kick up a racket and heavy hand airlines for such shenanigans

  59. Yessenia

    Omg , my family went on vacation and it’s the last time I use this aircraft, Why? They don’t give any travelers anything to drink at least, and now the want to charge for a world pandemic COVID 19. That’s not right more charge for this line, I’m not gonna buy another ticket

  60. Scott Meyer

    This seems like a resort fee that hotels have. And you know its b*llshit because they are charging a oercentage of the ticket instead of a flat fee per person.

  61. GBOAC

    Ben, thanks for reporting on this and adding yet another reason why I won't fly F9

  62. Bgriff

    I'm confused how this is legal ... my understanding is that airlines in the US can only charge a surcharge separate from the fare on domestic tickets if there is some way for the passenger to get around it (like Spirit's online booking fee which can be avoided at the airport ticket counter). If it's mandatory for all passengers, I thought any surcharge has to be folded into the base fare (which is one reason...

    I'm confused how this is legal ... my understanding is that airlines in the US can only charge a surcharge separate from the fare on domestic tickets if there is some way for the passenger to get around it (like Spirit's online booking fee which can be avoided at the airport ticket counter). If it's mandatory for all passengers, I thought any surcharge has to be folded into the base fare (which is one reason why "fuel surcharges" from international flights don't appear domestically in the US).

    1. Mustafa

      Frontier has a Carrier Interface Charge, it can be waived if booked at the airport counter.

    2. SubwayNut

      Any word if you avoid the Covid-19 fee if you book your Frontier ticket at the airport?

  63. Andy

    Airlines got billions from the government and they still want to do this crap?

  64. Jonathan

    Don't forget the fee is waived if booked at a ticket counter!

    1. Jeremy

      Only the CIC is waived at the counter, not the Covid surcharge. Noticed this a few weeks ago on a ticket I bought at the counter

    2. Jonathan

      That's gotta be a mistake right? I thought the rule is for all fees that airlines charge, they're required to have a way of waiving it

Featured Comments Load all 74 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Poms

OK, so this will be #101 reason for never flying Frontier?

William

Oh deer, this does seem squirrelly. When you find out about it during booking, it mustang. Some will see it as robin the passengers, but others will think F9 is just parroting other travel companies. You can complain about it until you’re horse, but I’m not sure what the porpoise would be.

KingBob

Frontier can add all the fees they want. Under U.S. laws the airfare an airline posts must include all taxes and fees. The consumer will compare each airline's posted fare to make a decision on what to purchase. So the price you see is the price you pay, no matter how many ridiculous fees are jammed in there.

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