Frontier admits to controversial carry-on bag policy


Frontier Airlines’ controversial policies are attracting attention once again, this time on TikTok, where customers allege that the budget airline is imposing unexpected and unwarranted baggage fees.

A user with the handle @noahglenncarter recently uploaded a video detailing passengers’ fury over Frontier’s personal item policy. The clip is in response to several TikToks from March in which Dayana Villa, a Univision TV reporter, documented her experience with the airline. In those clips, Villa says that Frontier attempted to make her and another passenger pay $99 for their personal items, allegedly telling them that the bags wouldn’t fit under the seat.

But in Villa’s footage, she displays how their bags fit properly in the bin that represents the plane’s under-the-seat space. 

@noahglenncarter Frontier airlines is being cancelled because of their bag policy #foryou #frontier #frontierairlines #airport ♬ Chill Vibes – Tollan Kim

Frontier Airlines’ policy stipulates personal items be no larger than 14 inches high, 18 inches wide and 8 inches deep. “Think purses, totes, computer bags, briefcases, diaper bags and kids backpacks,” Frontier explains on it website. Customers are “clearly informed” about the bag size rules when booking a ticket and while checking in at the gate, an airline spokesperson wrote SFGATE in an email. 

A comment on Villa’s video suggested that the airline encourages employees to charge for baggage by offering them a commission. Frontier Airlines confirmed that the company does offer a commission for gate agents.

“It is simply designed to incentivize our team members to ensure compliance with the bag size requirements to ensure all customers are treated fairly, including the majority who comply with the rules,” the spokesperson wrote to SFGATE. Frontier admitted that its carry-on bag size requirement was “not consistently applied, which was unfair to the majority of customers who do pay for their carry-on bags in advance and comply with the requirement.”

Villa created a petition that has reached over 500 signatures with a simple ask for Frontier: Stop overcharging passengers for bag fees. Anita Johnnie, who signed the petition, told SFGATE she had a similar experience in January at Philadelphia International Airport. Johnnie regularly flies back and forth to Florida, where she has a second home, so she never packs a large bag. Last January, she said she was asked to size her bag for the first time.

“They started sizing everybody’s bags, and people’s bags were fitting into the personal item bin, but they would send them to pay for it,” Johnnie told SFGATE. “Most people would want to get on the flight so they would [pay for their bag]. Some people would grumble, some people did not.”

Frontier Airlines said it takes these claims seriously and encourages customers to contact customer service, though this may not be as easy to do as it once was. Last year, the airline announced it overhauled its customer support phone line and introduced a new system that is automated and uses a chatbot, in part because it “removes negotiations.”

“We have on a number of occasions investigated specific claims by customers who say they were unfairly charged for a bag at the gate,” a Frontier Airlines spokesperson wrote. “And typically find there is more to the story.”

Johnnie said she has continued to fly with Frontier because the flights are inexpensive, but the baggage policy is “becoming a little bit too ridiculous.” 

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