Frontier Airlines faces a $100 million class action lawsuit that is being brought by Florida resident Amira Hamad who has accused the low-cost airline of using bait and switch and ‘gotcha’ tactics to trick passengers into paying ‘excessive’ baggage fees.
Hamad claims passengers are regularly forced into paying up to four times the cost of a checked bag for their carry-on luggage because the Denver-based budget carrier uses a baggage sizer that is actually smaller than the dimensions advertised on its website.
Frontier claims to be a low-fares airline through its ‘low fares done right’ promise, but Hamad says the airline is actually an ‘average airfare’ airline because it simply breaks its fees into ‘tiny pieces and checkpoints’ that water down the appearance of airfares that are no cheaper than its rivals.
In a 21-page complaint filed in a Florida district court last week, Hamad accuses Frontier of ‘blatant arrogance’ in misleading consumers with ‘fraudulent and unwarranted charges’.
The basis of Hamad’s complaint focuses on Frontier’s promise to allow passengers to travel with one personal item in the cabin fee-free. To qualify, the personal item must measure no more than 14 inches tall, 18 inches wide, and 8 inches deep, and Frontier strictly enforces this policy by measuring all carry-on luggage at the gate.
If an item of luggage exceeds the advertised dimensions, then passengers must pay $100 per item.
Like many airlines, Frontier uses a bag sizer to measure bags but Hamad claims the bag sizer is actually smaller than the advertised permitted dimensions.
Hamad says she couldn’t fit her personal item in the Frontier Airlines sizer at Orlando Airport despite the fact that the bag was sized exactly within the personal item dimensions.
“Notably, Frontier does not identify the dimension of its bag sizer on the actual bag sizer, which, in effect, prevents the consumer from objecting to the bag sizer in-person and allows Frontier to induce the consumer into paying the additional fees under the duress of timely boarding their flight,” the lawsuit alleges.
To prove that her luggage was within Frontier’s dimensions, on her return flight, Hamad used a Spirit Airlines baggage sizer with the same dimensions advertised on the sizer and her easily fitted.
And Hamad isn’t, apparently, alone. On social media, there has been a new trend on TikTok of Frontier passengers trying (and failing) to fit personal items in the airline’s bag sizer despite those items measuring less than the permitted dimensions.
Hamad also claims that Frontier doesn’t properly disclose its fee structure, and passengers aren’t made aware that they could be forced to pay more in luggage fees at the gate rather than at check-in or online.
In fact, Frontier even incentivizes its employees to charge for oversize carry-on luggage by paying a bonus for each oversized personal item that is charged at the gate, according to the lawsuit.
Frontier says it is unable to comment on ongoing litigation. The case has been filed under case number: 6:23-cv-01209.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.