…So What Exactly Is a High Cost Airport Charge, Anyway?!?

Frontier Airlines was called out by multiple media outlets for slipping in a controversial charge as part of the pricing of its total airfare: a fee which was called a Covid Recovery Charge, which was first implemented in May of 2021 and was approximately $1.60 per passenger per segment of an itinerary.

…So What Exactly Is a High Cost Airport Charge, Anyway?!?

The purported purpose of the funds generated by this fee was primarily meant to repay a loan to the federal government of the United States under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, as airlines received financial aid — many people use the word bailout — to help them weather the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic.

Source: Frontier Airlines.

That fee has since been rescinded almost three weeks ago late in June of 2021 — but another fee had also been added earlier this year and is still being charged to this day: the High Cost Airport Charge.

I had no idea what is the High Cost Airport Charge; so I contacted an agent of Frontier Airlines via the official Twitter account of the airline on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 at 2:26 in the afternoon Eastern Daylight Time to find out and explain it to me: “Hi. I was searching for flights and am wondering exactly what is a High Cost Airport Charge. Could you please tell me?

On Thursday, July 1, 2021 at 6:55 in the evening Eastern Daylight Time — two days later — I received the official response to my question.

Source: The official Twitter account of Frontier Airlines.

Hi! We sincerely apologize for the delayed response as we are still receiving a high volume of contacts at the moment. The High-Cost Airport Charge offsets Frontier’s higher operating costs in select major airports where, for example, landing fees and gate rentals are significantly higher than other major airports where Frontier operates. -Shean


To be fair, the travel industry as a whole suffered substantially during the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic, so companies seeking to increase their revenues in whatever creative ways possible could be understandable — especially as the demand for travel in general has skyrocketed…

…but is that the case with Frontier Airlines — or is the High Cost Airport Charge similar to the nefarious carrier-imposed surcharge, which usually has no explanation and which replaced fuel surcharges which airlines charged several years ago?

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

3 thoughts on “…So What Exactly Is a High Cost Airport Charge, Anyway?!?”

  1. DaninMCI says:

    The majority of the fees they are charging are BS fees. Covid, Carrier Interface Fee (for booking with them online) and such. I’ve never been a big fan of Frontier but this sort of nickel and dime turns me off completely.

  2. AngryFlier says:

    The “High Cost Airport Fee” charge is an incredibly sleazy and dishonest way of removing that $10 from the listed fare and putting it somewhere else. Thus, competitors are compelled to match Frontier’s fare but Frontier gets that sweet, sweet unlisted fee as pure profit. Yet another reason why I would never fly with such an airline.

  3. Why do so many businesses think that they can slip in random charges and fees without us noticing? And the response from Frontier is completely bogus. By that logic, if you fly into or out of an airport whose costs are significantly lower than other airports that they operate out of, then we should be receiving a discount on our flight, right? Sadly, I don’t see that happening.

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