Frontier Airlines has surprised passengers with a notice on new baggage and beverage fees, but they say you can keep the whole can of soda this time on the plane.
The new carry-on charge is for bags in the overhead bin, so small bags under the seat will still be free. The air carrier will charge $25 if paid in advance, $100 if travelers wait to pay until they’re at the gate.
Frontier spokeswoman Kate O’Malley said the $100 fee is to get travelers to take care of the charge in advance. “We don’t want to charge that,” she said.
Airlines began charging for the first and second checked bags in 2008. Passengers trying to avoid those fees have been stuffing as much as they can into carry-on baggage stashed in overhead bins, meaning those bins often run out of space. Fees are one way to get passengers to bring less on board.
O’Malley said the new charge is not really about raising money. “It’s about Frontier’s most loyal customers making it very clear that finding overhead bin space has become increasingly difficult.”
Passengers who buy their tickets on the airline’s website won’t have to pay. That means one passenger in line at a Frontier gate might get to bring a bag on for free, while the next person in line might owe $100 for a similar bag. O’Malley said Frontier’s website and check-in procedures are being changed to make sure passengers know about the fee before they get to the gate.
Frontier’s new carry-on fee won’t start until summer, though a date hasn’t been set.
Passengers often grumble about baggage charges and other fees, but airlines love them. They argue that luggage costs money to handle, and passengers who want the service should pay for it. Many on Wall Street view the addition of baggage fees as a sign that airlines are charging enough money to cover the cost of air travel after years of losses.