The prospect of an empty middle seat in the post-pandemic era sounds appealing, which is why Frontier was initially considering charging passengers extra to block it off. The plan called for charging passengers $39 to be guaranteed an empty seat next to them. Since the announcement of these “More Room” seats, and the backlash that ensued, however, the airline reversed course.
In a letter to Frontier CEO Barry Biffle, Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen, Illinois Rep. Jesús G. “Chuy” García, and Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey called the policy “unreasonable and disproportional.”
“The flying public should not be charged extra to stay healthy on flights,” the letter said. “At a time when most of the public does not feel comfortable flying, we strongly believe that additional fees such as the ‘More Room’ option will further discourage the flying public from participating in an already wearying endeavor, as well as penalize those who remain forced to travel.”
The plan was considered particularly unreasonable because other airlines have already announced blocking off middle seats at no extra charge. Since Frontier is a budget airline, the “More Room” seats were a solution to offsetting losses sustained from not selling middle seats to passengers. Now that the “More Room” seats won’t be available at a fee, Frontier may be forced to raise its ticket prices.
A version of this article was previously published on May 6, 2020, and was updated on May 7, 2020, with more information.