Frontier Airlines is tacking on a new, somewhat unexpected charge to ticket prices.
Frontier’s new “COVID Recovery Charge,” or “CRC,” is intended to offset the airline’s added costs of doing business amid the pandemic.
Specifically, Frontier says, the charge would cover “increased sanitation and cleaning onboard the aircraft and in the airport, shields at the ticket counters and gate areas, and personal protective equipment for employees,” among other health and safety measures.
A representative for the airline further confirmed that the charge amounts to $1.59 per passenger, per every sector (leg) of the flight. Frontier began implementing the charges as of May 12.
According to Frontier’s online Travel Policies, however, all taxes and fees for any given ticket, including the CRC, are quoted in the total fare. In other words, Frontier claims its CRC will not appear as an “unexpected charge” added during the booking process.
Frontier’s spokesperson did not indicate when the need for its new charge would expire.
Frontier, meanwhile, seems to be the only airline implementing a charge to offset its current COVID-prompted health and safety measures. And while it’s new for the airline industry, it’s not exactly unheard of in other customer-facing industries.
As far back as the early months of the pandemic, a number of restaurants, salons and even some dentists’ offices began implementing “COVID surcharges” to offset rising costs and sanitation supplies, among other expenses.
In August, one restaurant operator told KDVR that its “COVID-19” charges were necessary to keep the business from closing.
“It’s a $2 charge. We didn’t want to be extravagant with it, but we hope people understand we had to do it in order to keep the doors open,” said Michael Dire, of the Bonnie Brae Tavern in Denver. “It was either that or charge a percent of each ticket or raise the menu prices.”