A disgruntled passenger is suing Frontier Airlines (F9, Denver International), saying the ultra-low-cost carrier engages in deceptive practices and bait-and-switch tactics concerning luggage and associated fees.

Amira Hamad of Florida filed her class action lawsuit on June 29, 2023, at the US District Court for the Middle District of Florida. The matter is Hamad v. Frontier Airlines, Inc (case no: 6:2023cv01209). The court issued a summons to the airline on July 10. Hamad was charged USD100 for an oversized personal carry-on item just before boarding a Frontier Airlines flight in May. She alleges her carry-on item was within the airline's published size and weight limitations and that the big sizer at the gate was smaller than it should have been.

The class action accuses the airline of breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation under Florida common law, of violating Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and breaching Florida's laws regarding misleading advertising. Hamad is seeking a refund of the fee paid, USD10,000 for each alleged violation of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and USD100 million in punitive damages.

"Frontier represented to Hamad that the airfare amount was a clear representation of the total cost of the flight, but, after Hamad purchased a round-trip ticket, she was presented with a plethora of additional unexpected fees that made her flight substantially higher than represented by Frontier at checkout," the filing alleges. "Because of Frontier's representations, the plaintiff believed that the ticket she purchased would get her from points A-to-B and B-to-A for the advertised price. However, Hamad had to pay additional unanticipated fees, such as a high baggage fee. Frontier also represented to Hamad that she would be able to fit a 14" H x 18" W x 8" D personal item in the bag sizer, but when the plaintiff was at the airport, the bag sizer was smaller than advertised."

Frontier's website says passengers can carry onboard one personal item with dimensions not exceeding (14") 35.5cm in height, (18") 45.7cm in length, and (8") 20.3cm wide.

The filing also alleges Frontier Airlines intentionally obscures its fee structure to generate extra revenue, that the airline's claims to offer the lowest fares are false advertising, and that gate employees are financially incentivized to collect additional fees.

"Frontier engages in a pattern and practice of withholding certain material information regarding the total pricing of a flight until consumers have expended resources and are irreversibly committed to taking the flight, or, e.g., carrying on a personal item," adds the filing. "Frontier fails to specifically inform consumers about its hidden fees, and it falsely advertises that it offers “the lowest fares” as a standard product."

"Frontier just breaks its fees into tiny little pieces and checkpoints to water down the appearance of what is actually an average airfare when combined and compared to the industry. Plaintiff brings this action, inter alia, to address misrepresentations and omissions committed by defendant Frontier in connection with defendant’s business operations. Frontier falsely misled the plaintiff and numerous other consumers, and continues to mislead consumers, into believing that they are purchasing a low airfare, when, in fact, Frontier makes up whatever discount it purports to give consumers in fraudulent and unwarranted charges."

The filing states that the affected people in the class represented are "so numerous" that the rejoinder of all is impracticable. However, Hamad says thousands of passengers have been impacted, and continue to be impacted, by the alleged misleading conduct.

Frontier Airlines did not respond to a request for comment.