Frontier Airlines Will Charge Up to $89 for Social Distancing Onboard
Frontier Airlines is introducing a new ‘More Room’ seat assignment, in order to help with social distancing on-board. These seats guarantee you that no one will be seating on the middle seat on your row. But to make up for the empty seats mean lost revenue for airlines. To make up for that, Frontier Airlines is charging an additional fee.
‘More Room’ Seats
Frontier Airlines passengers can now reserve a ‘More Room’ seat assignment, which comes with a confirmed empty middle seat next to them. More Room seats have a starting price of $39 per passenger, per flight. But the price can go up to $89 depending on the route.
Flights departing May 8 through August 31, 2020 will have 18 More Room seats available for passengers to select, including Stretch seats in the first three rows of the aircraft, which also provide extra legroom and recline as compared to standard seats. Frontier will announce at a later date whether the More Room program will be extended beyond August 31.
Starting May 8, Frontier Airlines will require that all passengers wear a face covering over their nose and mouth at the airline’s ticket counters, gate areas and onboard Frontier aircraft. Face coverings have been required for Frontier flight crews since April 13.
Frontier has also implemented a program that requires passengers to accept a health acknowledgement prior to completing check-in via the company’s website or mobile app. Passengers are required to certify that:
- Neither they nor anyone in their household has exhibited Covid-19 related symptoms in the last 14 days
- They will check their temperature before heading to the airport and not travel if they have a fever
- They will wash their hands/sanitize before boarding the flight
- Information on the airline’s face covering policy will be added to the health acknowledgement
Social Distancing on a Plane
While some separation onboard could be reassuring, research has shown that just one empty seat between two passengers doesn’t make much of a difference. This particular video is simulated on a Boeing 767 plane, and shows how droplets spread through the aircraft.
Planes in general are not set up for social distancing. Especially in recent years airlines have tried to maximize profits by having as many seats as possible. The CDC also suggests to stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people, which is impossible on a commercial plane, unless there’s a massive reduction in capacity.
In 2019, the average global load factor (percentage of seats on a plane occupied by passengers) was 84%. If you block middle seats, you would have a 66.7% load factor on a 3-3 or 3-3-3 configuration. So it’s unlikely that airlines will continue to offer these social distancing options without increasing ticket prices, or charging extra for those who want them.