Frontier Airlines may depend upon ancillary revenue to be profitable, but charging a woman twice for a single bag and then refusing to refund the double charge strikes me as a poor way to do business…and perhaps a pattern of practice?
Did Frontier Airlines Double Charge For Carry-On Then Refuse To Make It Right?
Abbey Colville told her story through consumer advocate Christopher Elliot, who syndicated column often tackles travel-related customer service issues. She was traveling on Frontier Airlines from Detroit (DTW) to Denver (DEN) and the incident occurred on her return journey in Denver.
She was traveling with a single article of hand baggage. She thought it was small enough to be classified as a personal item (no charge, as long as it fits under your seat and is within the dimensions 14″H X 18″W X 8″D including handles, wheels and straps). However, during check-in she was told it was slightly too large and she would need to pay for a larger carry-on item.
So she did…for $99…on the Frontier Airlines website.
But at the gate she was stopped again and told she would have to pay for her carry-on. When she told the gate agent that she already had paid for it, the gate agent did not see the charge and forced her to pay the $99 again.
Colville wrote to Frontier after her trip requesting a refund for the second $99 charge (both charges posted). However, Frontier denied the request:
We evaluated this reservation, and our records show that you added one carry-on bag; however, you were also bringing a personal item, and according to our policy, this luggage did not meet the required dimensions for personal items, and airline administrations will implement the enforcement of luggage that does not satisfy the size standards, which in this case was considered a carry-on.
Luggage fees are non-refundable by policy. As a result, the gate representatives proceeded with the accurate application of $99.00, the standard airport price for carry-ons.
Wait just a moment, said Coville. She was only traveling with ONE bag total. In fact, it actually was not too big to fit in the personal item sizer, but was close to the limit. The objection was not over the $99, but over the double charge.
But Frontier insisted:
We regret that the solution provided was not what you expected; however, our records show that you are bringing a carry-on bag and also a personal item, and as you can see from the photo that you sent to us, your personal is greater than the measures established by Frontier and does not meet the required dimensions for a personal item.
We understand that this charge was unsatisfactory and unexpected, so as a one-time exception, we want to offer you a $100 coupon that will be valid for 90 days and can be used towards future flights.
Now I am going to assume that Elliott confirmed that there was no second bag which may have been too big. If she did have two bags, then his story is rot. But the story makes explicitly clear that Coville was traveling with just as single carry-on item.
He reached out to Frontier Airlines on her behalf and they refunded her $99.
But why did she have to the media in order to get a refund if she was only carrying one bag?
I understand her predicament. I certainly would pay up if the threat was that I do not otherwise travel. I’d deal with the $99 later as Coville did.
Still, I have to wonder how often this sort of game happens. Is Frontier’s software not savvy enough to pick up when a passenger pays for a carry-on bag after check-in? Are agents incentivized to squeeze every penny out of passengers? (Yes, they are)
A Frontier Airlines passenger was double-charged for her carry-on bag and Frontier refused to refund her for the double charge…until a consumer advocate got involved. Instead, Frontier claimed she was actually traveling with two bags when she claims she was only traveling with one. This is a disturbing reminder that consumers are often placed at an inherent disadvantage when dealing with an airline and are left to take draconian steps to remedy errors that should not have occurred in the first place.
One other takeaway: when traveling on a so-called “ultra-low-cost-carrier” you should pack as light as possible.
Have any of you had a similar double charge experience on Frontier Airlines?
(image: Reddit // H/T: Troy)