Frontier’s Dumb Excuse For Raising Checked Bag Fees

Frontier’s Dumb Excuse For Raising Checked Bag Fees

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Ultra low cost carrier Frontier Airlines is raising checked bag fees. That’s not that surprising for an airline that generates most of its profits through ancillary fees. The part that is surprising is the explanation for doing so… or perhaps it’s exactly what we should have expected?

Frontier lowers checked bag allowance to 40 pounds

Frontier Airlines already charges for checked bags, as you’d expect. However, for flights as of March 1, 2022, the airline will reduce the standard checked baggage allowance by 20%, from 50 pounds to 40 pounds. The standard checked bag fee won’t be changing, but the overweight bag fee will.

This policy applies for tickets purchased as of January 18, 2022, and for travel as of March 1, 2022. Here’s how the overweight bag fees will be changing:

  • Under the old system, a checked bag weighing 50-100 pounds incurs an extra $75 fee
  • Under the new system, a checked bag weighing 40-50 pounds incurs an extra $50 fee, while a checked bag weighing 51-100 pounds incurs an extra $100 fee
  • In other words, a checked bag weighing 40-50 pounds will cost you twice as much as before

The industry standard is generally that checked bags can weigh up 50 pounds. However, fellow ultra low cost carriers Allegiant and Spirit limit standard checked bags to 40 pounds, so Frontier is following in the footsteps of competitors here.

I wouldn’t find this so ridiculous, except…

Frontier is introducing new restrictions on checked bags

Frontier uses environment to justify this change

Environmentalism has become an increasingly important topic in the airline industry. Understandably a lot of people are skeptical of airlines’ motives, and this move by Frontier is a perfect example of why. When marketing this change, Frontier tells customers to “keep carbon emissions low by keeping your bag weight in check.”

Frontier spinning this change as being about the environment

Frontier has long marketed how green it is. When the airline introduced uncomfortable new seats, the decision was described as the “latest action to reduce the company’s environmental footprint.” Nope, it wasn’t about cramming more seats onto planes, it was about the environment. Heck, the airline even gave the seat a green background in media images to show how environmentally friendly the airline is.

Frontier’s “green” new seat

Maybe someone in Frontier’s green department could help me understand the logic here?

  • A bag of up to 40 pounds will cost you $50
  • A bag of 41-50 pounds will cost you $100
  • A bag of 51-100 pounds will cost you $200

Just so I understand this, do the extra 10 pounds in a checked bag produce the same emissions as the first 40 pounds? And if you check a 51 pound bag, is that four times as bad for the environment as a 40 pound bag?

C’mon Frontier, you’re an ultra low cost carrier. You can absolutely raise fees to match competitors. That’s what airlines do. But to suggest that this is about “keeping carbon emissions low” is going a bit too far.

Bottom line

Frontier Airlines is lowering the standard weight allowance for checked bags by 20%, from 50 pounds to 40 pounds. If you want to check a 50 pound bag, it’ll now cost you twice as much as before.

I suppose it’s fair enough that Frontier wants to raise fees, since that’s the policy at competitors Allegiant and Spirit as well. What isn’t fair, however, is how the airline is justifying this by claiming this reduces carbon emissions. Frontier consistently loves to use the environment to justify negative changes, and I think this is exactly why the public has distrust in airlines’ environmental initiatives.

What do you make of Frontier’s new checked bag policy?

Conversations (30)
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  1. GM Guest

    weekend get a way? put on 3 pairs of underwear, then shorts, then slacks, jeans, t-shirt, t-shirt polo-style shirt, button down, flip flops if beach bound and a hat for drinking in the sun....carry nothing and fuck frontier :)

  2. Victor Rios Guest

    We bought "Frontier Airline" tickets for family of 4, plus purchase of four extra check-in luggage's!... Eight in total, & were email details/itinerary & from off their own Website its 50 pounds allowance per check-in luggage. I printed all of this!. Called them for something & happen to ask & was told they changed the check-in luggage allowance from 50 pounds to now 40 pounds, I said I didn't care whatever changes they made, I...

    We bought "Frontier Airline" tickets for family of 4, plus purchase of four extra check-in luggage's!... Eight in total, & were email details/itinerary & from off their own Website its 50 pounds allowance per check-in luggage. I printed all of this!. Called them for something & happen to ask & was told they changed the check-in luggage allowance from 50 pounds to now 40 pounds, I said I didn't care whatever changes they made, I printed it off their own website & it says 50 pounds each, & they would have to honor that!.

  3. Jeffrey Schmidt Guest

    Just had to pay the overweight charge on my one checked bag (5 pounds over). The standard fee is already more than twice that of many other airlines. Their green argument is bogus as they told me the weight overage could be transferred to my carry on bag...same total weight for the given flight. Are overweight passengers also paying for their weight overage? Finally, it cost more for my bag to fly than it cost...

    Just had to pay the overweight charge on my one checked bag (5 pounds over). The standard fee is already more than twice that of many other airlines. Their green argument is bogus as they told me the weight overage could be transferred to my carry on bag...same total weight for the given flight. Are overweight passengers also paying for their weight overage? Finally, it cost more for my bag to fly than it cost me...my ticket cost 90$, my baggage fee was $120. The actual cost to fly with one bag was 125% more than the advertised fare. This smells like fraud to me and I know most customers have had similar experiences. To add insult to injury, the flight was delayed over an hour because the front tires hadn't been inspected earlier and just prior to departure, they found that both needed to be replaced.
    Is there any recourse against this airline?

  4. Max Summers Guest

    I love rules and feel most other people do too! But, some rules can be stupid, and most people will break them. It just doesn't make sense to add luggage fees and then cut the weight limit by 20% while doubling fees when you go over.
    Our last trip on Frontier was to Cancun and my wife and I always try to use one big suitcase and 2 carry-ons. This trip we actually paid...

    I love rules and feel most other people do too! But, some rules can be stupid, and most people will break them. It just doesn't make sense to add luggage fees and then cut the weight limit by 20% while doubling fees when you go over.
    Our last trip on Frontier was to Cancun and my wife and I always try to use one big suitcase and 2 carry-ons. This trip we actually paid a total of $225.00 to fly that bag back and fourth. It wasn't that long ago, we could have both flown round-trip to Chicago for less.

    Not only is it wrong, but dishonest. Just add a little to the ticket price and keep the 50 lb. limit. Flying somewhere for a week requires more clothes than going for a weekend. How the folks running these airlines can sleep at night is a wonder. Nothing wrong with making a profit, but do it the right way.

  5. askmrlee Guest

    And to think on Southwest just 20 years ago you could check 3 bags each up to 70 pounds.

  6. OPR Member

    People must fall for it, or companies would stop doing it...

  7. Mike Guest

    Couldn’t resist commenting.
    While you may think this is not a valid excuse, and while I may or may not disagree, it’s definitely not dumb from a pure micro economics perspective.
    If research shows that any weight above 40lbs is discretionary (so people can choose not to take it, while not compromising on their enjoyment), then associating those last 10lbs with a heavy cost can convince people to stick to minimum luggage, which...

    Couldn’t resist commenting.
    While you may think this is not a valid excuse, and while I may or may not disagree, it’s definitely not dumb from a pure micro economics perspective.
    If research shows that any weight above 40lbs is discretionary (so people can choose not to take it, while not compromising on their enjoyment), then associating those last 10lbs with a heavy cost can convince people to stick to minimum luggage, which is, we agree, better.
    Not saying that was necessarily the reasoning behind it, but it is definitely not an invalid way to price luggage for emissions minimisation

  8. Paul Guest

    Who's Frontier?? Do they fly somewhere...??

  9. AC Guest

    They did it because they can! Like any other business Frontier can prove their product as they wish.

    BTW don’t tell me the other carriers aren’t watching this. 40 will be the new 50 soon.

    Get over it

  10. Scott Guest

    It's a similar justification that hotel chains, such as Marriott, use for not changing towels daily. Even prior to COVID, when housekeeping was daily, there was always a small sign in the bathroom announcing their "green" initiative in reducing water by asking guests to use their towels for more than one day. The concept is fine (I don't change my towels at home daily), but their motivation is cost savings rather then being "green". There...

    It's a similar justification that hotel chains, such as Marriott, use for not changing towels daily. Even prior to COVID, when housekeeping was daily, there was always a small sign in the bathroom announcing their "green" initiative in reducing water by asking guests to use their towels for more than one day. The concept is fine (I don't change my towels at home daily), but their motivation is cost savings rather then being "green". There are rarely any other "green" initiatives around the hotel. They are just interested in being green as it relates to saving their green dollars. .

    1. Sharon Guest

      I don't change my towels at home daily because thinking of the water+detergent+electricity "wasted" makes me way more uncomfortable than "wasting" less than a couple of dollars paying for those water+detergent+electricity each time, so I guess I'm ok for that initiative being branded as "green initiative" even tho I fully understand their true motive is money.
      However, on the other hand, I wouldn't feel worried about those few extra pounds of items I carry...

      I don't change my towels at home daily because thinking of the water+detergent+electricity "wasted" makes me way more uncomfortable than "wasting" less than a couple of dollars paying for those water+detergent+electricity each time, so I guess I'm ok for that initiative being branded as "green initiative" even tho I fully understand their true motive is money.
      However, on the other hand, I wouldn't feel worried about those few extra pounds of items I carry in my car just because that little extra gasoline burnt for their added weight, let alone the absurdly disproportioned price hike, so i'd say calling this frontier change "green" is simply ridiculous with no room for understanding no matter how hard i try...

  11. James S Guest

    As oil approaches $100 again, don't be shocked if AA is next to lower the check in allowance to 40lbs, while simultaneously issuing a press release about record profits.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Very unlikely. Interline with 40lbs is just asking for disaster.

      Very unlikely AA has record profits.

      Very likely AA will raise bag fees after United whenever it happens.

    2. Clayton Guest

      AHH the trusty old "it's to save the planet" trope to, ineffectively, try and mask something to simply inconvenience or cost the customer more.

      Seat leaves you needing your spine stretched - saving the planet

      Lowered allowance and increased costs - saving the planet

      Unresponsive or ineffective CS - Believe it or not. Saving the planet ( to be read in the voice of the head of the parks department of Nicaragua from Park & Rec)

  12. JBM Guest

    Meh, they’re playing the same game as Southwest not serving alcohol or AA reducing first class long haul service, just without the power trip infused flight attendants of AA.

    1. Bob Guest

      Between pandemic and oil price surge there will be many more fees.
      Maybe they'll charge seats by passenger weight.

    2. Luke Guest

      Well Southwest not serving alcohol kinda different, they are giving up revenue doing that.

  13. Duane Guest

    Cramming more seats on planes is environmentally friendly. Transport more passengers with fewer planes.

    1. Paris Parsons Guest

      That premise only works if airlines are actually reducing the number of planes they put in air. Otherwise more people (and luggage) equals heavier planes, and per FA, that means increased emissions.... And revenue.

  14. Dave Guest

    Their seats are the most uncomfortable of any airline by far, so they can charge what they want, I will never fly them again at any cost.

    1. Lisa Marie Williams Guest

      I agree with the comment above. I had to pay $79 for my bag, l asked if l had to do the same on my return flight and the young man at the counter said "No" not at all. That was not true! Worst trip ever!

  15. paul Guest

    I enjoy the discount carriers.

    If you have extra time, hang out checkin in LAS for the show. One Frontier rep encouraged a passenger to move his boots somewhere else (but his carry on was full), which took the bag down to 49.9 pounds.
    He tied them together and boarded the plane wearing his boots around his neck.

    A Spirit rep joked to a passenger that they wouldn't waive the excess fee but...

    I enjoy the discount carriers.

    If you have extra time, hang out checkin in LAS for the show. One Frontier rep encouraged a passenger to move his boots somewhere else (but his carry on was full), which took the bag down to 49.9 pounds.
    He tied them together and boarded the plane wearing his boots around his neck.

    A Spirit rep joked to a passenger that they wouldn't waive the excess fee but they could open and randomly throw stuff away for them.

    The only way this would be more fun would be to leg passengers choose their baggage weight/fee ahead of time. 10lbs $20 20lbs $30 etc. Guess wrong and pay double.

    1. 305 Guest

      Some European discount carriers work this way. I think Vueling charges different prices per 5kg increment.

  16. George Romey Guest

    No different than COVID as an excuse for reducing coach service at AA. Remember fuel costs have gone up so more weight more fuel, bigger fuel bill. Now Frontier should be honest but like many other companies they find all kinds of "noble" reasons for higher prices, lower service, crummy business practices or employment practices.

  17. Alonzo Diamond

    I trust Frontier more than AA/United.

    1. Ray Guest

      Can you try to stay on the subject here? This is the equivalent of saying I like cake more than pie. Help us out, tie it in to the baggage fees. Maybe you trust their marketing more? Maybe their accounting system more? Or maybe the scales at check in.

      SMFH

  18. Never In Doubt Guest

    The Frontier marketing department in action!

  19. Juan Guest

    Frontier is a green airline! But in this case, green refers to their profit margins...

    With this news, now all the US ULCCs (Frontier, Allegiant, Spirit) cap checked bags at 40 pounds, but I do know that Spirit gives you a 50 lb limit if you buy one of their bundles. When I flew Allegiant with my spouse in January, we were going to share one checked bag, but since anything above 40 lbs gets...

    Frontier is a green airline! But in this case, green refers to their profit margins...

    With this news, now all the US ULCCs (Frontier, Allegiant, Spirit) cap checked bags at 40 pounds, but I do know that Spirit gives you a 50 lb limit if you buy one of their bundles. When I flew Allegiant with my spouse in January, we were going to share one checked bag, but since anything above 40 lbs gets hit with a high fee, we opted to spend $15 more and have brought our own separate carry-ons (as our checked bag ended up going over 40 pounds as we planned for the trip). Though Allegiant never charged my card for the snacks I bought on board, and they gave out free pop at the gate because the flight was delayed, so I guess it worked out in the end?

    I don't mind flying ULCCs, but usually, I only opt for them if they offer the only direct flight and/or are cheaper even after seat selection and bag fees.

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Lisa Marie Williams Guest

I agree with the comment above. I had to pay $79 for my bag, l asked if l had to do the same on my return flight and the young man at the counter said "No" not at all. That was not true! Worst trip ever!

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GM Guest

weekend get a way? put on 3 pairs of underwear, then shorts, then slacks, jeans, t-shirt, t-shirt polo-style shirt, button down, flip flops if beach bound and a hat for drinking in the sun....carry nothing and fuck frontier :)

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Victor Rios Guest

We bought "Frontier Airline" tickets for family of 4, plus purchase of four extra check-in luggage's!... Eight in total, & were email details/itinerary & from off their own Website its 50 pounds allowance per check-in luggage. I printed all of this!. Called them for something & happen to ask & was told they changed the check-in luggage allowance from 50 pounds to now 40 pounds, I said I didn't care whatever changes they made, I printed it off their own website & it says 50 pounds each, & they would have to honor that!.

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