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Frontier Airlines rolls out carry-on bag fees, cuts base fares

04/28/2014 | 06:54pm EST
A Frontier Airlines jet waits at the gate prior to departure at the Denver International Airport in Denver

(Reuters) - Bargain hunters could find themselves paying more to fly after Frontier Airlines, a low-cost carrier, on Monday said it would start charging extra for carry-on bags.

The Denver-based carrier said it simplified its price structure and cut its lowest economy fares by 12 percent. But customers taking advantage of the lower fares will now pay $20 to $50 more for a carry-on bag to store in the overhead bin, depending on whether the traveler books online or pays at the gate. Customers can carry on one personal item at no charge.

Prior to Monday's announcement, Frontier charged a carry-on fee for consumers who purchased on third-party websites.

Those who buy an economy fare will also have to pay additional fees for seats near the front of the plane and with more leg room. Those charges start at $3.

The new fees are "very consumer unfriendly no matter how they try to spin it," said Brian Kelly, founder of ThePointsGuy.com, a website that focuses on frequent-flier issues. "Booking Frontier is likely going to cost you more."

Frontier travelers who buy the fully refundable and higher-cost Classic Plus fares are allowed one free carry-on and one free checked bag and also incur no seat fees.

Frontier, which flies to more than 75 cities in the United States, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Mexico, said in a statement that the "unbundled" economy airfare will allow customers to save by paying only for services they want.

In making the changes, Frontier is taking a page from Spirit Airlines (>> Spirit Airlines Incorporated), the Miramar, Florida-based carrier known for low base fares and extra charges for many other options.

Denver-based Frontier was purchased from Republic Airways Holdings (>> Republic Airways Holdings Inc.) last year by private equity firm Indigo Partners LLC, whose co-founder William Franke is a former Spirit Airlines chairman. Last week, Frontier said Barry Biffle, a former executive vice president of Spirit, had been named its president.

"Spirit is known as an airline that will nickel-and-dime you and they're proud of it," Kelly said. "Frontier is not."

(Reporting by Karen Jacobs in Atlanta; Editing by Diane Craft)

© Reuters 2014
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BASE CO., LTD. -1.36% 5800 End-of-day quote.-5.69%
BASE,INC. -3.96% 10680 End-of-day quote.9.43%
LETS HOLDINGS GROUP CO., LTD. -2.33% 7.53 End-of-day quote.-3.21%
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Managers and Directors
Edward Morgan Christie President, Chief Executive Officer & Director
H. McIntyre Gardner Chairman
John Bendoraitis Chief Operating Officer & Executive Vice President
Scott M. Haralson Chief Financial Officer & Senior Vice President
Rocky B. Wiggins Chief Information Officer & Senior Vice President
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