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Gate agent ‘incentive’ for baggage fees

Well, well, well. How the turntables.

Frontier Airlines is facing some criticism over a policy that pays gate agents a bonus for catching oversize bags, and it’s getting attention on social media.

A source familiar with the situation tells Nexstar’s KRON that if the policy is being used to charge customers without cause, the airline could be breaking the law.

Flying a budget airline can have its advantages if you need the most affordable ticket or want to get somewhere last-minute for a low price. However, when the “hidden” fees start piling on, you may find yourself with a much bigger bill than you anticipated.

https://thehill.com/homenews/4019832-frontier-airlines-confirms-gate-agent-incentive-for-baggage-fees-after-viral-tiktoks/

Posted by
1422 posts

It’s very simple; if you don’t want to pay high fees for an oversized bag, make sure the size and weight of your luggage complies with the rules of the airline in question.

Posted by
359 posts

Good for Frontier! I wish all airlines would do the same. I'm tired of seeing other travelers lug on their clearly oversized bags, then having trouble finding space for my very modest undersized carry-on.

Posted by
696 posts

I agree wholeheartedly with Linda. Carry on bag requirements should be enforced. I am always amazed at the size and quantity of stuff people carry on board with them and wonder why staff let them get away with it.

Posted by
15702 posts

I think some are missing the point. If a gate agent gets a "commission" to tag wrong size bags, he might also tag "correct" size bags just for the money. Argue all you want, the gate agent wins.

Posted by
8649 posts

Well right now there is a strong counter-incentive, in that gate agents look the other way to avoid slowing down the boarding process and speeding the flight on its way, which is another measure of success for them..

Posted by
3034 posts

Frank II gets it. We all support following the rules, but in this case agents are getting a bonus as a sort of quota system.

But yes, it is frustrating when people bring in oversized bags and clog up the bins. This happened to me and the agent set my bag aside in a few seconds. It didn't seem to hold up the line much.

And of course there is no point in arguing.

Posted by
1625 posts

It's all over TikTok, passengers showing that their bag clearly fits and is easy to take in and out and the gate agent still claiming it does not and charging them, with the claim that the agent wants their $10 bag commission. In one video the claim was that 100 people had this happen to them on one flight and if you argue you are kicked off the flight by the agent for being "Aggressive". This is not one tiktok video, it is dozens that I have seen and I agree that their bag always fits.

We never fly budget airlines, we want to take our carry on and pick our seats. I have found that even inter-Europe it is not worth the cost to take Ryan Air or any other budget carriers as the cost after all the extra fees are added in are the same as a major carrier without all the hassle.

Posted by
194 posts

Not really a hidden fees thing, but the inconsistency of enforcement is what really bugs me. I once made the mistake of being the first one to check in for an Icelandair flight from SEA to Paris. The agent was training someone, and there was nobody in line behind us, so he took his time going through the carry-on rules chapter & verse, resulting in one of my bags (a perfectly normal carry-on that had NEVER been an issue in 10 years of flying) being deemed too big to carry-on. I rolled my eyes and checked it.

Two hours later, I boarded behind a young lady carrying on a full-sized guitar case (about 1.5 times larger than my offending bag). She had arrived in the last-minute rush, and the same agent waived her right through.

Posted by
8649 posts

Two hours later, I boarded behind a young lady carrying on a full-sized guitar case (about 1.5 times larger than my offending bag).

I believe there is a special exemption for musical instruments, courtesy of our "eager-to-pander" congressmen.

Well, maybe its time to start "tipping" gate agents.

Well, it was only a matter of time.

Posted by
18811 posts

The entire discussion only has impact on you if you break the rules. So it means nothing to me. As for denying legal bags, until someone documents it (and no, i dont mean a tiktok video), I dont believe it is an issue or believe the gate agents are so desperate to make $10.

Posted by
1808 posts

> I don't believe it is an issue or believe the gate agents are so desperate to make $10.

I respectfully have to disagree. I worked in the car rental business a long time ago and the company had an incentive for agents to write as much (collision damage insurance) as possible. It was extraordinary how much of an increase took place. $10 a bag with just 3 bags is an extra $30 a flight. Work 3 flights a day and that is $90 a day. Who can't use an extra $90 a day as a gate agent.

I just wish we were back in the day when you bought a ticket and there were no extra fees for anything.

Posted by
3034 posts

Threadware, good point. $90 x 5 days per week is $450. That could fund some upscale vacations that don't include being in economy seats or sharing bathrooms.

Posted by
10358 posts

You can buy a ticket and everything is included. All the budget airlines I've taken offer an upscale Tix that includes bagage check, seat selection, early boarding ... That said, this financial incentive to extort or bump a passenger is immoral, especially if no one is keeping an eye on the executioners of the scheme.

Posted by
194 posts

The entire discussion only has impact on you if you break the rules.

You mean the rules that agents are now incentivized to (mis)interpret against the interests of paying passengers? Those "rules"?

From the original post "...if the policy is being used to charge customers without cause, the airline could be breaking the law."

Posted by
18811 posts

They are incentivised to enforce the rules. The article says, "IF" they abused it, to make it good click but. Well, IF monkeys could fly. I think I am moral and ethical (with the more than ocassional lapse) and tend to believe the majority of others are as well. Follow the rules and 99.99% of the time I think things will be fine unless you believe airline staff are inherently bad people?

Posted by
6666 posts

Two hours later, I boarded behind a young lady carrying on a
full-sized guitar case (about 1.5 times larger than my offending bag).

I believe there is a special exemption for musical instruments,
courtesy of our "eager-to-pander" congressmen.

Yes, musical instruments are usually considered special luggage. Or the young lady could have paid extra for it.

Posted by
194 posts

Folks feeling a need to defend big companies is always fascinating, but citing morals and ethics in that effort is just the chef's kiss... ; )