Amira Hamad is pushing back against “fraudulent” baggage fees from budget-advertised airlines. And Frontier Airlines is on her hit list after reportedly charging her $100 for a personal item in May 2023.
Hamad filed a class action lawsuit against the airline in June, per lawsuit docs obtained by Fox 35 Orlando. She’s seeking $100 million in punitive damages, among other payouts and demands regarding Frontier’s baggage policy and advertisements.
Overall, Hamad alleges the airline is not budget-friendly. Instead, she claims the company uses “fraudulent” baggage fees to balance financial losses from offering discounted flights.
“Frontier is not a budget airline. Frontier does not have the lowest fares, Frontier just breaks its fees into tiny little pieces and checkpoints to water down the appearance of what it is actually an average airfare when combined and compares to the industry,” the lawsuit document states.
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Frontier has told multiple outlets, including Fox 35 Orlando and WESH, that the company does not comment on pending litigation. According to WESH, a registered Florida agent for the airline received the lawsuit last week. Frontier has 21 days from when it was received to respond.
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As mentioned, Hamad’s lawsuit resulted from a recent encounter with the airline during a round-trip flight in May. Hamad expected to take her “personal item” on board for “free,” as Frontier allows per ticketed passenger.
However, at the gate, Hamad’s personal item would not fit in Frontier’s bag sizer. The lawsuit includes photos of the failed fitting. Frontier’s website caps personal items at 14 inches in height, 18 inches in width, and 8 inches in depth, including all its parts.
Hamad, insisting her personal item didn’t exceed those dimensions, tried her bag on a Spirit Airlines bag sizer. Her personal item fit the Spirit sizer–despite both airlines advertising the same dimension restrictions for this type of luggage. The lawsuit alleges the measuring instrument at Frontier’s gates is “drastically smaller than those [advertised] dimensions,” adding that they then charge “excessive fees to check” the personal items.
“In some instances, a carry-on piece of luggage costs as much as four times the cost of a checked bag. FRONTIER’s bait-and-switch and “gotcha” tactics are designed to confuse, trick, and trap consumers to the public’s detriment,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit also highlights the airline’s lack of clarity regarding the cost of oversized personal items. On its website, the policy simply states, “Items larger than the allowed dimensions are subject to an additional charge.” It does not reveal that the charge is $100.00
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The suit states Frontier “tricks consumers into paying for personal items already included in the ticket price they paid for.”
The paperwork also cites similar testimony from TikTok users of Frontier allegedly charging for luggage that fits into their measurement bins.
Additionally, Hamad claims the airline keeps this system of “fraudulent and unwarranted charges” by offering their employees bonuses for overcharging customers.
“Frontier incentivized its employees, such as gatekeepers, to enforce the personal item portion of Frontier’s bag sizer, by providing bonuses for each “oversized” personal item that they charged at the gates,” the lawsuit states.
Hamad is coming after the airline for “deceptive or misleading practices” violating Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA), breach of contract, fraudulent misrepresentation, and misleading advertisement.
In addition to $100 million in punitive damages, Hamad wants Frontier to pay $10,000 for each violation of the FDUTPA and reimbursement for her ticket costs, travel, and lodging expenses “incurred as a result of [Frontier’s] fraudulent conduct.” She’s also asking the airline to pay for ’emotional suffering and harm,” along with “statutory fines, costs of suit and attorney’s fees.”
As for their company practices, Hamad wants Frontier to “clearly and conspicuously” disclose its fee structure, personal item dimensions on its bag sizers, and across each level, from online to the airport and gate.
Hamad’s attorney, Michael Mann, told WESH “about 50 people” have contacted him about joining the lawsuit.