Lauren Penington | The Denver Post
Frontier Airlines markets itself as having the lowest fares, but a new class-action lawsuit alleges the Denver-based carrier makes up the difference with hidden, inflated fees.
Florida resident Amira Hamad filed the 21-page lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in late June, seeking a refund of the fees and $100 million in punitive damages for herself and others.
A spokesperson for Frontier said the airline doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
Hamad said in the lawsuit that she booked a round-trip flight with Frontier after seeing an “attractive” price online and reading on the company’s website that passengers are allowed one free personal item no larger than 14 inches tall, 18 inches wide and 8 inches deep.
According to the lawsuit, when Hamad arrived at her gate, Frontier’s bag sizer was smaller than the dimensions advertised on the website. When her bag wouldn’t fit into the allegedly shrunken bag sizer, the airline charged Hamad $100 for her “oversized” personal item — nearly four times the price of checking a bag.
Hamad said in the lawsuit that before taking off on her return flight, she measured her personal item using the bag checker at a Spirit Airlines gate — with the same dimensions Frontier claims to have online — and it fit perfectly.
In the lawsuit, Hamad said Frontier is intentionally hiding fees and obscuring fee structures from customers “in order to fraudulently induce sales.”
She also claimed the airline incentives upcharges by giving employees bonuses for charging passengers additional baggage fees at the gate.
“Frontier’s bait-and-switch and ‘gotcha’ tactics are designed to confuse, trick and trap consumers to the public’s detriment,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit alleges Frontier’s claims to “save you money on your flights” and “offer the lowest fairs” are false advertising, since the total cost to consumers with extra fees matches or exceeds other airlines.
The class action claims Frontier is guilty of breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation, under Florida common law, and of violating the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and Florida laws regarding misleading advertising.
Frontier should be required by the court to disclose its fee structure clearly online, correct and post personal item dimensions on the bag sizers and discontinue deceptive practices, the lawsuit stated.
In addition to the refunded fees and $100 million in punitive damages, Hamad’s lawsuit also asks the court to assign a fee of $10,000 for each violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
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