UPDATE: Frontier Airlines has rescinded its Covid Recovery Charge. A spokesperson noted:
“Frontier Airlines has made the decision to rescind its Covid Recovery Charge of $1.59 per passenger per segment that was implemented in May.
“The charge, which was included in the airline’s total promoted fare versus an add-on fee, was meant to provide transparency and delineate what portion of the fare was going toward Covid-related business recovery, including repayment of a CARES Act loan from the U.S. Government.
However, to avoid misinterpretation, the airline will discontinue the practice of breaking out this category within its overall promoted fares.”
A pretty misleading statement, considering the description of the new fee (below) made no mention of repayment of CARES Act loan (most of which is forgivable) and it was indeed an “add-on fee” and not part of the base airfare.
But the surcharge is gone…
When you dig deep enough, you find that the so-called ultra-low-cost carriers are actually not all that ultra-low-cost. In the case of Frontier Airlines, the airline is slapping on a “Covid Recovery Charge” to all tickets despite being the recipient of a huge taxpayer-funded government bailout.
Frontier Airlines Covid Recovery Charge – Is This For Real?
As part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Frontier Airlines has received over $225 million in payroll protection support, direct aid from U.S. taxpayers. While millions of small businesses went under and families struggled to make ends meet, Frontier Airlines received huge subsidies to maintain full employment.
At the same time, it also dragged on refunds for cancelled flights, at first only offering future flight credit and thereby holding hostage millions of dollars.
But in order to say thank you, Frontier Airlines has aded a “Covid Recovery Fee” to all tickets. On its website, it describes the fee as:
Covid Recovery Charge: The Covid Recovery Charge offsets added costs to Frontier due to implementing Covid-19 related measures, such as increased sanitation and cleaning onboard the aircraft and in the airport, shields at the ticket counters and gate areas, and personal protective equipment for employees.
Cleaning and sanitation? That’s called the cost of doing business. To separate that out from the cost of the flight is disingenuous and a further attempt to bait and switch unsuspecting consumers with deceptively low base fares. It’s also a way to minimize taxes, since these “ancillary” charges are taxed at different rates than the “airfare” itself.
The Covid Recovery Charge is not the only fee that Frontier has added. It also charges:
- Carrier Interface Charge
- Service Fee
- Surcharges (during holiday periods)
- High Cost Airport Charge
(you can read all about Frontier’s fee structure here)
So how does it look on a typical flight? It appears the surcharge is about 7% of the carrier interface charge.
Frontier Airlines has added a “Covid Recovery Charge” to tickets, which is simply an insult to travelers and a particular insult to U.S. taxpayers. I’m disgusted by it. But not surprised.
(H/T: Miles To Memories // image: Frontier Airlines)