Frontier Airlines has confirmed to The Independent that airport gate agents are paid a bonus for charging passengers for oversized luggage during boarding.
Tea budget airline came under fire after a passenger claimed to have been charged $100 (£85) to check a bag which appeared to fit the size requirements.
Dyana Villa shared a video of her experience traveling with the budget airline to social mediain which she and her friends can be seen fitting their bag into the luggage sizer, which dictates what constitutes hand luggage.
The woman alleged that she and her friends were told to pay an additional fee, despite them demonstrating that the bags “clearly fit in the bag sizer”.
In the video, which has been viewed nearly 100,000 times, the agent can be heard saying, “They don’t fit, you’re forcing them down”.
A second airline employee then comes over to inspect the bag in the sizer and is heard saying: “That’s our policy, ma’am.”
Since sharing the footage, Ms Villa uploaded another post in which she claimed to have been contacted by a Frontier Airlines attendant who said staff are eligible for a $10 (£8.50) bonus for every passenger bag they check and collect a fee for.
Ms Villa recounts the email from the airline staff member in which she claims they say, “I’m so tired, we’ve been getting so many complaints and then people complain to us, etc.”
She adds: “I could have just Venmoed them $10.”
A Frontier spokesperson told The Independent that the fee is “simply an incentive for our airport customer service agents to help ensure compliance with our policies and that all customers are treated equally.”
The spokesperson rejected Ms Villa’s baggage complaint, however, claiming that she had brought a second carry-on bag.
“The video fails to show that the customer using the sizer box had an additional carry-on bag,” they said.
“Each customer is allowed one free personal item that must fit within the smaller sizer box. This customer had more than one bag and they were not able to combine them into a single bag that fit in the personal item box.
“The second customer’s bag did not fit into the free personal item sizer box without removing much of its contents. Most customers pay for their bags in advance, in accordance with our policies, and we provide multiple reminders and opportunities to do so at a lower price in advance of departure. Allowing these customers to board without paying would be inequitable to every other customer who was already onboard with paid bags.”
According to Frontier, passengers are entitled to one personal item, measuring 14”HX 18”WX 8”D, including handles, wheels and straps.
“Think purses, totes, computer bags, briefcases, diaper bags and kids backpacks,” it reads.
“Note: the size of your personal item will be checked during boarding,” it states.
“Items larger than the allowed dimensions are subject to an additional charge.”
This story has been amended to include Frontier Airlines’ statement.