Last week, Denver-based Frontier Airlines "improved" the travel experience by announcing a dizzying onslaught of new nickel-and-dime charges on everything from carry-on bags to ordering coffee, tea and soda on board to using third-party websites to book your reservations. "Our customers have told us that finding overhead bin space for carry-on bags has become increasingly difficult, so we will be introducing a fee for carry-on bags for customers who buy Basic fares through third-party websites starting this summer. When these changes have been made, you'll find more space in the overhead bins for your bags," the airline explained in one example of the new charges.
"Onboard beverages will continue to be free for customers who purchase Classic and Classic Plus fares, when you show your boarding pass to a flight attendant. Effective July 1, 2013, customers who purchase Economy or Basic fares will be charged $1.99 for coffee, tea, soda and juice," reads another.
But we think Frontier could go much further. Here are five more customer-service improvements we encourage the homegrown airline to make:
1) Customers who purchase Classic or Classic Plus tickets will be given the option of having free cold air or warm air blown on them from the nozzle above their seats — but not both. Customers who purchase Economy or Basic fares will be charged $2.99 for either. In the event of an emergency, all customers will be charged $1.99 if they want air of any kind to flow through their emergency oxygen masks. (Like the mask, the fee will not inflate — but your money will continue to flow.)
2) All passengers will be allowed to sit during flights that are two hours or longer, but to lower the table tray, open the window shade or activate the seat-reclining button, ticket holders will need to pay $0.99 each. Customers who don't return their tray tables to the upright position when asked will have their air nozzles turned off. This ensures that Frontier Airlines can continue to provide these category-leading amenities to loyal customers and keep its fares at a reasonable level.
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3) Frontier Airlines has listened to its customers who have voiced their concerns about not being able to sit next to their children, spouses or traveling companions, which is why Frontier is pleased to announce that travelers now have the option to do so. Classic or Classic Plus fare holders can be assured of sitting next to their travel companions (ages three and over) for a fee of only $19.99, while Economy or Basic ticket holders may do the same for $29.99 each. If there are two travel companions (ages three and over) whom you would like to sit next to, Frontier has added value by charging only $29.99 for Classic or Classic Plus passengers (a savings of nearly $10) and $54.99 for Economy or Basic ticket holders (a $5 savings).
4) As a corporate citizen, Frontier Airlines has always made its commitment to the Western United States clear on the tails of its Airbus planes. Each aircraft features a "spokesanimal" that is special to the hearts of its customers — and now passengers can support those animals with their pocketbooks. Starting this summer, Frontier will charge a sliding-scale fee based on the cuteness of each animal, and while this charge is mandatory, travelers can rest assured that Frontier is "giving back" by donating a percentage of these fees to preservation and conservation organizations. As an example of how Frontier Airlines has responded to this need, customers flying on a plane with the adorable Trixie the Red Fox Cub on the tail will be charged $7.99, while passengers on a plane showing the much less cute but no less important Woody the Wood Duck will be charged $3.99. To see the entire list of animals to which Frontier is committed, please go to FlyFrontier.com.
5) Frontier Airlines is pleased to announce that, in partnership with Visa and MasterCard, all of the preceding pricing options listed above are available to customers with credit cards only, as flight attendants will no longer accept cash. To utilize these improved and expanded services, Frontier will charge a $1.99 processing fee for your first charge and $0.99 for each charge thereafter.