3 ON YOUR SIDE (3TV) - It seems like there are airline fees for just about everything these days. Want to take luggage? There's a fee. Suitcase too heavy? That's a fee.

Now a Valley man says the airline he used hit him with another fee.

Jason Kowalski wants to visit family out of state and he's been doing his best to make that happen.

“I've been planning on this trip for quite a while to go see my grandchildren in Nebraska,” Kowalski said.

So Kowalski got online, checked some prices and found two round-trip tickets on Frontier Airlines, one for him and another for his wife. The two roundtrip tickets, Kowalski thought, were pretty affordable, only $232 total. But, before the trip, there was bad news.

“My wife ended up getting sick and I had to change the name on the tickets,” Kowalski said.

Instead of taking his wife, Kowalski agreed to pay Frontier Airlines their $75 "name change" fee so he could put the other ticket in his daughter's name. Kowalski says he didn't necessarily agree with the fee but paid it anyway.

“I was just ready, like here we go, we're gonna fly,” Kowalski said.

But Kowalski's travel plans came to a screeching halt when he and his daughter went up to Frontier Airlines' ticket counter and was told he would have to pay more money on top of what he had already paid.

“Look, the money's out. You guys gave me a confirmation. My name was in their computers and everything. Everything was there. The name change was done. Everything was complete but they told me to step aside,” Kowalski said.

Out of options and feeling pressured, Kowalski says he was forced to pay another fee he wasn't aware of, just so he and his daughter could board.

Frontier Airlines calls it the "fare difference fee," meaning there was a difference in what Kowalski paid before and what the new ticket cost at the time.

“They tell you, 'You either pay or you're not flying,' pretty much. I mean, I had no other choice. The money I paid twice with was my rent money,” said Kowalski.

With the $75 "name change" fee coupled with the "fare difference fee," Kowalski says he paid about $560 for those two roundtrip tickets. That's a lot more than the original $232.

So, 3 On Your Side got involved but Frontier Airlines stood by their fees saying it's their policy. Kowalski says he's disappointed in the extra charges and believes all those fees Frontier Airlines passes on really hurts consumers.

“To budget the money for the vacation was a big deal for me and then to have to do that it really broke me and I'm like playing catch up now,” Kowalski said.

Frontier says if Kowalski can provide a doctor's note about the medical condition of his wife then they may be able to reimburse him the $75 name change fee but won't do anything about the fare difference fee.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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(4) comments


Isn't saving money the reason we all shop around and buy the lowest airline ticket? How can they charge a difference in price fee? What a rip off! Your shop early and do your due diligence too get a good fate price! Then they hold you hostage at the counter? Never will I fly Frontier Airlines! Rip off artists! Wow!😱


Unless I absolutely have to, I avoid flying if at all possible. Even though it's ultimately more expensive if at all possible I would rather turn it into an adventure road trip, see the country and drive. Dealing with the airlines anymore reminds me of the old SNL skit with Lily Tomlin about the phone company. "We don't care because we don't have to". Apparently the airlines didn't get the memo that this is supposed to be the customer service age.


Actually nuusmaan, EVERY airline rips you off every chance they get these days. It used to be flying was fun and actually enjoyable, but these days with guaranteed overbooking, surprise fees, and more I avoid flying as much as possible. I just got back from a vacation trip (went only because my wife insisted) and the most miserable time of my life was the 3 hours at each airport and the 5 hour flight each way. I am a small man and my wife upgraded our seats but I still could not even move during the flight. The good old days of flying the seats were closer to today's first class and they actually fed you, AND IT COST YOU MUCH LESS. Face it the CEO's of the airline need their billions of dollars a year bonuses and their victims, er customers, are paying for it.


Thanks for sharing your story. This is very good information to have! I don't and probably never will fly Frontier. Now that decision's definite.

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