If you’ve ever thought some airlines’ gate agents are overzealous in their quest to determine whether or not oversized bags need to be checked during boarding, a passenger named Dyana Villa may be your new hero.
First, Villa and her friend were told by Frontier Airlines employees that their bags were too large to take on a flight and that they would need to pay $100 oversized luggage fees. After that, Villa posted a video on social media that showed her fitting a bag into the luggage sizer that determines whether or not a bag is small enough to be considered a personal item.
After Villa’s video went viral and was seen more than 100,000 times, a Frontier Airlines spokesperson admitted to British online newspaper The Independent that its airport gate agents are paid a bonus if they charge passengers for oversized baggage during boarding.
How The Incident Unfolded
The incident began when Villa and her friend placed her bag in Frontier’s luggage sizer and claimed it fit.
A Frontier gate agent then told Villa and her friend that they would need to pay an additional fee, despite Villa saying the bag “clearly fit in the bag sizer.”
Villa has posted a TikTok video of the incident.
@dyanavilla.tv Please make this go viral! The frontier front desk and supervisor were not cooperating with their guest. PLEASE HELP US GET THIS TO FRONTIER! #frontier #viral #flying #flight #carryon #personalitem #frontierairlines ♬ original sound – .
In the video, which has been viewed around 100,000 times, the Frontier gate agent can be heard saying, “They don’t fit, you’re forcing them down.”
Since posting that video, Villa posted a second TikTok video, in which she claims to have been contacted by a Frontier Airlines flight attendant who said “I’m so tired, we’ve been getting so many complaints, and then people complain to us, etc.”
In that second video, Villa recounts that the Frontier employee explained that the gate agents are eligible for a $10 commission for each person they charge $100 per bag.
“They aren’t even Frontier employees; they are a third party so they don’t even care what happens to the Frontier guest,” the flight attendant continued, according to Villa. “They do all of this for $10. I could have just Venmo’d them $10.”
While a Frontier spokesperson confirmed that its gate agents are paid a bonus if they charge passengers for oversized luggage, they also said that the fee is “simply an incentive for our airport customer service agents to help ensure compliance with our policies and that all customers are treated equally,” according to The Independent.
However, the spokesperson rejected Villa’s baggage complaint.
“The video fails to show that the customer using the sizer box had an additional carry-on bag,” the spokesperson said, The Independent continues.
“Each customer is allowed one free personal item that must fit within the smaller sizer box,” the Frontier spokesperson continued. “This customer had more than one bag and they were not able to combine them into a single bag that fit in the personal item box.
As for Villa’s friend, the spokesperson noted that “the second customer’s bag did not fit into the free personal item sizer box without removing much of its contents,” The Independent reports.
“Most customers pay for their bags in advance, in accordance with our policies, and we provide multiple reminders and opportunities to do so at a lower price in advance of departure,” the spokesperson told The Independent. “Allowing these customers to board without paying would be inequitable to every other customer who was already onboard with paid bags.”
So What Does Frontier Allow?
Frontier notes that each of its passengers is allowed one personal item as long as it is no larger than 14 inches tall, 18 inches wide, and 8 inches deep — including handles, wheels, and straps.
“Think purses, totes, computer bags, briefcases, diaper bags, and kids backpacks,” the airline explains.
On the other hand, Frontier charges a fee for carry-on bags such as “large backpacks, small duffel bags, and small suitcases/wheeled bags.” And, of course, there is a fee for checked bags that include “large duffel bags, large suitcases, and sporting equipment.”
Here’s where the situation may get a bit confusing: Baggage fees at Frontier are not fixed and they fluctuate depending on when you’re traveling as well as when the airfare is booked.
For example, for a flight in May booked now from O’Hare International Airport in Chicago to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Texas, the fee for a carry-on item will be $54 and there will be a fee of $49 for the first checked bag.
If the passenger waits until check in and registers either online or using Frontier’s app, the fee is $64 for the carry-on item and $59 for the first checked bag. If the passenger waits until they are at the airport and uses either the airport kiosk or pays at the ticket counter, that fee climbs to $79 for the carry on and $79 for the first checked bag.
You can learn more about Frontier’s policy and determine the fees for bags at Frontier’s Bag Price Checker.
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