Frontier Drops 'More Room' Fee for Social Distancing After Backlash

"We simply wanted to provide our customers with an option for more space."

Frontier airlines plane
Photo: Jeff Swensen/Stringer via Getty

Frontier Airlines is abandoning its plan to charge passengers who want to sit next to an empty seat to maintain social distance just days after it was announced.

The airline, known for its low fares and added fees, introduced a “More Room” offer earlier this week, allowing guaranteeing passengers an empty seat next to them while flying. The offer was available starting at $39 per person per flight, lead to critics accusing the airline of profiting off of coronavirus fears.

“We recognize the concerns raised that we are profiting from safety and this was never our intent,” Frontier CEO, Barry Biffle wrote in a letter, according to The Associated Press. “We simply wanted to provide our customers with an option for more space.”

The plan also drew criticism from the House Transportation Committee.

While several airlines have introduced blocked seating and necessitated that passengers wear masks onboard, none has copied Frontier’s model to charge for more space.

At the time of their announcement, Biffle told The AP, "We are offering the option, and it is guaranteed. We don’t believe you need it — if everybody is wearing a facial covering — to be safe.”

Earlier this week, Delta announced that it would cap seating on its planes and block some aisle and window seats, in addition to the middle. In first-class, seating will be capped at 50 percent capacity, and in the main cabin, it will be 60 percent through at least June 30.

In addition to airlines taking action, airports around the world have been implementing their own protocols when it comes to combatting coronavirus as well in hopes to ease future travelers.

Vienna International Airport is offering coronavirus testing in the airport for arriving passengers and Hong Kong Airport has introduced a walk-in cleaning device to disinfect passengers.

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