Frontier Says All Those Checked Baggage Fees Are Good For The Environment

Frontier is currently celebrating their “Green Week.” It’s a promotion that’s pointing out all of the environmentally friendly actions that the airline has made over the years. They even offered to fly anyone with the last name Green(e) for free, and over 1,700 people took them up on the offer.

It’s true that Frontier has the lowest carbon footprint per passenger mile of all the major US airlines.

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There are many things that airlines do to improve efficiency but Frontier’s advantage is the relatively young age of their fleet, which have more fuel-efficient engines and are lighter than their older counterparts.

But you know what Frontier is telling passengers on their planes is the cause for their supergreenness? Charging passengers all those baggage fees.

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What? Charging extra for every bag except for a tiny one that fits under the seat in front you is what’s saving the environment?  Let’s follow that logic.

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More baggage means more weight. More weight means more fuel burned. We charge for bags to encourage travelers to pack thoughtfully and in turn help us to reduce our carbon footprint. In fact, changes like this helped us become 39% more fuel efficient than the other airlines – that means we saves 102 million gallons of fuel last year alone.

I’m not sure, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the $366 million dollars Frontier made in baggage fees in 2018 were as much of a reason for charging those fees as their desire to have people check fewer bags so they can have a smaller carbon footprint.

If you go to Frontier’s website promoting their green initiatives at flygreener.com they list a whole bunch of things they’ve done that are good for the environment. These include:

  • Removing full cabin beverage service
  • Paperless cabin (in English that means no more in-flight magazine)
  • Environmentally friendly seating (less padding, more seats)
  • Removing in-flight entertainment systems

Hmmm. It seems like any change that saves them money can be spun into an environmentally friendly policy.

I’ve read a bunch of corporate PR but this one is nearing the point of me having to call BS. Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad they’re trying to use less fuel and have a greener fleet. However, telling me the reason you charge fees for every sort of bag I bring with me is to get me to change my habits and bring less, and is not just a cash grab, is borderline insulting.

I know what you’re doing. You know what you’re doing. We all know what you’re doing so just say so or don’t say anything at all. We’ll all be happier that way.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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