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Airline That Received Billions of Taxpayer Dollars in Pandemic Relief Now Charging Customers a 'COVID Recovery' Fee

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Despite taxpayer bailouts to the airline industry, one airline is tacking on a fee to help it recover from the pandemic.

Frontier Airlines has instituted what it calls a COVID recovery surcharge.

Frontier said the $1.59 charge began in May and is applied on a per-passenger, per-segment basis, according to ABC News.

“The Covid Recovery Charge offsets added costs to Frontier due to implementing Covid-19 related measures, such as increased sanitation and cleaning onboard the aircraft and in the airport, shields at the ticket counters and gate areas, and personal protective equipment for employees,” Frontier says on its website.

“The CRC is already added to the promoted total fare at FlyFrontier.com, therefore, it is not an unexpected charge later in the booking process,” a company representative told ABC News.

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Many airlines have dropped fees as they try to lure travelers back to the skies.

“Budget airlines have historically been the most adventurous in testing out new fees,” Scott Keyes, founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights, told ABC News.

“Frontier’s COVID Recovery surcharge is true to form. While this surcharge is unlikely to be replicated by other airlines, the big question is whether yet another fee will push some Frontier customers to book elsewhere,” he said.

The charge remains even though Frontier has begun stepping back from its COVID-19 safety protocols and has ended its program of passenger temperature checks, according to USA Today.

Should Frontier be forced to drop this fee?

“Given the easing of CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) 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,” Frontier spokesman Zach Kramer told the outlet via email.

Many air travelers expressed unhappiness with the fee.

“They say they are charging you money on top of your fare to cover cleaning. And they say they charge the fee because they’re buying personal protective equipment for employees, because that’s your responsibility and not theirs as the employer,” Gary Leff vented on the website ViewFromtheWing.

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“In charging extra for on board cleaning, they’re telling us that clean planes aren’t part of their basic product. And didn’t we all already pay the coronavirus surcharge when taxpayers had their pockets picked for $79 billion in subsidies for U.S. airlines over the past 15 months?” he wrote.

Frontier was among the airlines who received part of a $25 billion bailout package to help a sector of the economy that had been hard hit when COVID-related lockdowns crippled air travel, according to The New York Times.

The airline received a $574 million CARES Act loan from the federal government, according to the Treasury Department.

Last month, Frontier said in a news release that it was recovering quite nicely from the pandemic.

“This is our first quarter reporting as a public company and we couldn’t be more pleased with what we are seeing relative to the recovery in leisure travel,” said Barry Biffle, Frontier’s president and CEO. “We are well poised to take advantage of the recovery and expect to return to profitability in the second half of 2021.”

In May 2020, Frontier wanted to charge customers a fee to ensure the middle seat next to them would be left vacant.

The fee drew extensive negative publicity and political pressure and was dropped.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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