Some travelers on Frontier Airlines will now have to pay up to $100 for the right to place a carry-on bag in the overhead compartment, the budget carrier announced Wednesday.
In a press release titled "Frontier Enhances Service for Customers Using FlyFrontier.com," the airline explained the carry-on fee will range from $25-100, and apply to customers who book flights through third party sites, starting this summer.
The price of the fee will depend on whether the customer checks in for the flight at FlyFrontier.com.
This summer, the airline will also begin charging for onboard beverages. Those who cough up the $1.99 will at least get the entire can of soda, and free refills for coffee and tea.
The changes, the airline said, are "part of the transformation into an Ultra Low Cost Carrier," and will allow it to offer its more loyal customers better service.
Those who pay fares at the Classic, Classic Plus, and Summit & Ascent levels (as opposed to the lowest rate, Basic) won't face charges for carry-on bags.
Members of the carrier's EarlyReturns program will also be exempt, and will still get free drinks.
The new fees are part of the general trend in the airline industry to charge more and more for services that were once considered part of the ticket price. In 2012, 14 major American airlines instituted 52 fee changes, nearly all of them designed to take more money out of travelers' pockets.
In October, Spirit Airlines instituted a $100 charge for carry-on bags for some customers. At the time, a spokesperson defended carry-on fees as a way to speed up the boarding process, ensure overhead space for bags, and reduce fuel-consumption.
This method of unbundling service may backfire, Craig LaRosa, a principal at innovation and design consultancy Continuum, warned at the time: "Their growth model is adding fees...they may get a revenue bump," he said, but added, "in two years, what are they going to charge for next?"
Spirit, and now Frontier, run the risk that customers hit with the $100 fee will decide the airline is not as inexpensive as it seems, despite rock bottom ticket prices, and opt for another carrier.
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