Frontier Airlines adds — then drops — mandatory ‘Covid Recovery Charge,’ ends temperature checks

Jun 23, 2021

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated to show that Frontier has decided to rescind its Covid Recovery Charge.

There are few surer signs that travel is back than all-new travel fees.

During the height of the pandemic, we saw the suspension of some ubiquitous and much-maligned travel fees. Some examples included the suspension of pricey parking fees at casinos in Las Vegas and the even more expensive U.S. airline change fees. But as leisure travel demand has returned, we’ve recently seen some return — such as parking fees reappear on the Las Vegas Strip. The latest by an airline had come from ultra low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines, which had quietly — and briefly, it turns out — introduced what it calls a Covid Recovery Charge (CRC).

As first reported by Miles to Memories, this charge of $1.59 per flight or $3.18 per round-trip, had been a mandatory fee being added to new bookings.

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The Covid Recovery Charge (CRC) was first introduced in May, but only recently had been picked up by media outlets. Now — perhaps because of the media coverage — Frontier announced on Wednesday (June 23) that it would end the charge.

Originally, a spokesperson from Frontier Airlines told TPG: “The Covid Recovery Charge (CRC) was implemented in May and is applied to bookings on a per passenger, per segment basis. The CRC offsets added business costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which include enhanced onboard sanitation and cleaning, and personal protective equipment for employees.”

Frontier noted that the CRC fee was included in the promoted fare on the website and was never a surprise additional fee collected later in the booking process.

But, on Wednesday, the carrier backtracked.

“Frontier Airlines has made the decision to rescind its Covid Recovery Charge of $1.59 per passenger per segment that was implemented in May,” a Frontier spokesperson said in an update to TPG.

The spokesperson added: “The charge, which was included in the airline’s total promoted fare versus an add-on fee, was meant to provide transparency and delineate what portion of the fare was going toward Covid-related business recovery, including repayment of a CARES Act loan from the U.S. Government. However, to avoid misinterpretation, the airline will discontinue the practice of breaking out this category within its overall promoted fares.”

But before the CRC breakout was rescinded, TPG’s test bookings showed where it was applied.

(Screenshot courtesy of Frontier Airlines)

In test searches, TPG did not discover a similar fee being charged by Frontier’s fee-friendly competitor Spirit Airlines.

Some of the fees tacked on by ultra-low-cost carriers, such as Frontier and its competitor Spirit, can actually be avoided if you book your ticket at the airport. However, Frontier Airlines has confirmed to TPG that this is not an optional fee that can be avoided based on how you book.

The new fee wasn’t the only recent pandemic-related change made by Frontier.

The airline also confirms that it discontinued preboarding temperature screens effective June 15, a move first reported by USA Today. A spokesperson for the airline states, “Given the easing of CDC guidelines with respect to COVID-19, as well as falling infection rates among the U.S. population, we made the decision to discontinue customer and crew temperature screenings prior to boarding, effective last Tuesday, June 15.”

Frontier was the only U.S. airline that routinely utilized preboarding temperature checks.

If your upcoming travel has you on Frontier Airlines, know that you can skip the temperature screening, but be ready for the new COVID surcharge. Travel — and travel fees — are back.

Featured image by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

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