The lawsuit, which seeks class action certification, claims that Frontier advertises low fares but makes up the difference in “fraudulent” fees.
A proposed class action lawsuit claims that Frontier Airlines engages in a form of deceptive advertising by promising low fares but charging passengers an assortment of sky-high hidden fees.
According to The Denver Post, the lawsuit was filed on behalf of Florida resident Amira Hamad.
The 21-page lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Florida, seeks a refund of the fees and an estimated $100 million in punitive damages.
“FRONTIER is not a budget airline. FRONTIER does not have the lowest airfares. FRONTIER just breaks its fees into tiny little pieces and checkpoints to water down the appearance of what is actually an average airfare when combined and compared to the industry,” the lawsuit alleges.
A spokesperson for Denver-based Frontier Airlines declined the Post’s request for comment.
In her complaint, though, Hamad voiced a common frustration: after booking a round-trip flight with Frontier, she found that passengers are allowed no complementary baggage other than a single “personal item,” the dimensions for which cannot exceed 14 inches in height, 18 inches in width, and 8 inches in depth.
While Hamad tried to comply with Frontier’s requirements, she found that airline officials were asking passengers to place their bags in sizing devices—sizing devices that Hamad insists have smaller dimensions than those advertised on Frontier’s website.
Hamad’s attorneys have since claimed that Frontier intentionally misleads customers into believing that they are purchasing flight tickets at an attractive price, only for the airline to “[make] up whatever discount it purports to give consumers in fraudulent and unwarranted charges.”
The lawsuit, which has not yet been certified as a class action, further states that the alleged bait-and-switch is intended to coerce passengers into paying higher fees after arriving at the airport.
“FRONTIER’s baggage fee structure is misleading and designed to trick consumers into paying the maximum amount of fees at the airport,” the lawsuit claims.
“FRONTIER charges different amounts for carry-on baggage and checked baggage at different stages. For instance, customers pay the least for baggage fees if they pay for the bag online before they get to the airport,” Hamad’s attorneys wrote in the complaint. “Once a customer arrives at the airport, the baggage fees increase incrementally at different points in the airport, up to a $100 baggage fee for bags paid for at the gate.”
“Consumers, however, are not advised in advances [sic] that they would be paying the said penalty for bags that FRONTIER advertises as “included” in the fares,” the lawsuit says.
The claim alleges that Frontier also pays its “gatekeepers” a commission to charge fees on purportedly over-sized bags.
“FRONTIER incentivized its gatekeepers by providing them bonuses and/or commissions for each passenger that they were able to charge with a hidden baggage fee at the gates,” it says.
Hamad is seeking a trial by jury.