A Frontier Airlines passenger was taped to his seat after punching a male flight attendant, inappropriately touching female crewmembers, screaming obscenities, and taking his shirt off mid-flight.
According to Philadelphia’s ABC affiliate, 22-year-old Maxwell Berry was arrested after traveling on a flight from Philadelphia to Miami on Saturday.
Berry, who had two drinks while on the flight, used his empty cup to touch a female flight attendant’s backside. He ordered a third drink which he spilled on his shirt, then went into the plane’s bathroom, emerging shirtless.
After a flight attendant helped him get a new shirt from his carry-on bag, he proceeded to walk around the plane for roughly 15 minutes before groping the chests of multiple female flight attendants. A male flight attendant then came over to Berry’s seat to watch him, and Berry punched him in the face.
He was ultimately duct-taped to his seat for the remainder of the flight and was arrested after the plane landed, according to ABC.
A passenger on the flight captured video of the incident, which was posted on Twitter by ABC reporter Sam Sweeney. In the video, Berry can be heard screaming “You guys f—— suck” and claiming that his parents are worth “more than 2 million g–d— dollars.”
A spokesperson for Frontier Airlines did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, but told ABC that the flight attendants involved will not be flying until the incident is fully investigated.
“During a flight from Philadelphia to Miami on July 31, a passenger made inappropriate physical contact with a flight attendant and subsequently physically assaulted another flight attendant. As a result, the passenger needed to be restrained until the flight landed in Miami and law enforcement arrived,” the spokesperson told ABC. “The flight attendants will be, as required in such circumstances, relieved of flying pending completion of an investigation.”
The altercation follows a similar episode last month where a female passenger was duct-taped to her seat after reportedly trying to open the door mid-flight and assaulting flight attendants. The incident took place on an American Airlines flight from Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, to Charlotte, North Carolina.
Ultra-low-cost airlines are notorious for having no-frills, and Frontier Airlines is no different.
In-flight entertainment, in-seat power, and other perks do not come standard when fares are as low as $11, in some cases. And that’s a trade-off I’m more than fine with making because I can normally plan around it by bringing spare battery packs and pre-loading entertainment onto my phone.
That was until I forgot to bring my spare battery pack on a recent trip to Florida.
I was getting ready to fly from Miami to Newark when I noticed that my phone had around 15% battery. Even if I put it in airplane mode, I knew it wouldn’t last me long as I’d at least be listening to music on the otherwise entertainment-deprived flight.
My two-year-old iPhone 11, to its credit, lasted a good two hours before its inevitable death just before landing. But that meant I wouldn’t have a phone to use when we landed, which I needed to make arrangements to get home.
So, as soon as we landed, I went to the lavatory. I didn’t have to “go to the bathroom;” rather, I noticed during the flight that the lavatory had a standard power outlet and I wanted to see if it could give some juice for my phone.
Since it was in the lavatory, I assumed it might be for an electric shaver or something like that. Nonetheless, I was sitting in the back of the plane and easily made my way to the lavatory while others were deplaning.
I know how long the deplaning process takes so I figured I could get a few percentage points of power. To my surprise, it worked and I left with enough power to get me home.
I first thought that this was specific to Frontier’s Airbus A320neo aircraft, the model on which I was flying since they’re the newest planes in the airline’s fleet. But a Frontier spokesperson told Insider that “many Frontier aircraft have an electrical outlet in the lavatories.”
There’s no specific reason why, and Frontier might have preferred not to have it, but it comes standard from Airbus. “This is not a feature we have expressly sought but rather a standard part of the lavatory design provided by the manufacturer,” a Frontier spokesperson told Insider.
That said, Frontier stressed that passengers should not be spending more time than required in the airplane lavatory as others might be waiting to use it.
“We would not encourage customers to use the outlet to charge a mobile device, which could potentially result in a lavatory being occupied for an unnecessary amount of time and cause inconvenience to others,” the spokesperson said.
But for those that desperately need a charge, the outlet can work in a pinch. Just be mindful of others trying to use the lavatories as there is only a handful on any given plane.
Frontier Airlines has abandoned yet another plan to increase revenues by charging flyers extra fees under the guise of the pandemic.
Travelers who had booked flights with the carrier from May until June 23 have been paying an extra fee, called the “Covid recovery charge,” as first reported by ABC News. Embedded in the total fare was an extra $1.59 surcharge levied to each passenger and each flight segment in a new booking.
“The charge, which was included in the airline’s total promoted fare versus an add-on fee, was meant to provide transparency and delineate what portion of the fare was going toward Covid-related business recovery, including repayment of a CARES Act loan from the U.S. Government,” Frontier said in a statement to Insider.
Ultra-low-cost carriers like Frontier rely on additional fees for services, known as ancillary fees, that are non-taxable by the government. It’s unclear whether the surcharge would have been tax-free and Frontier did not confirm to Insider whether or not the fee was taxable.
But travelers looking to make new bookings will notice that fares are slightly lower now that the surcharge has been discontinued. “Frontier Airlines has made the decision to rescind its Covid Recovery Charge of $1.59 per passenger per segment that was implemented in May,” a Frontier spokesperson confirmed to Insider.
Frontier tried a similar move to raise revenue around this time in 2020 when flyers were just returning to the skies after a crippling March and April. Flyers could pay extra to book seats in rows that had a guaranteed empty middle while the rest of the aircraft could be filled.
Airlines were divided between those filling planes and those blocking middle seats and Frontier Chief Executive Barry Biffle publicly spoke in favor of filling planes, even while offering the buy up for the rows with an empty middle seat.
“We don’t believe this is what you need to be safe but it’s one more thing that we can do to put people’s minds at ease,” Biffle told CNBC at the time, citing the effectiveness of aircraft filtration systems, mask mandates, and Frontier’s expanded cleaning practices.
The product was quickly abandoned by Frontier after backlash from federal lawmakers. Other carriers like Alaska Airlines debuted similar products that offered guaranteed empty middle seats, but those also offered extra amenities like complimentary alcohol and extra legroom.
“I find it outrageous that an airline sees the imperative for social distancing as an opportunity to make a buck,” Rep. Peter DeFazio, chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, said in a statement at the time, as Insider reported. “Frontier’s decision to charge passengers to keep middle seats empty is capitalizing on fear and passengers’ well-founded concerns for their health and safety.”
Frontier, alternatively, was an early adopter of a mask mandate for all passengers and crew and it was the only US airline to require temperature checks before boarding, which ended earlier in June.
But Avelo is going up against tough and established competitors in the ultra-low-cost realm, which CEO Andrew Levy knows quite well as the cofounder of Allegiant Air. Rivals in the field include Spirit Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and Sun Country Airlines, as well as Levy’s own Allegiant.
These are, however, introductory fares and there’s no saying just how high they’ll go after Avelo gets its footing. But CEO Andrew Levy did tell Insider that he wants the airline to be known as the go-to for low fares.
“We really want to build a brand that is about everyday low fares,” Levy said. “Quite honestly, I’d love to be able to do over many years what Southwest has done, where when people hear ‘Avelo,’ they just associate us with low fares.”
Less nickel-and-diming when it comes to extra fees
Ultra-low-cost carriers rely on charging extra fees, known as ancillary fees, to make up for the low fares they offer, and Avelo is no different. Advance seat assignments, baggage, and bringing pets onboard will all incur an extra fee.
The difference between Avelo and many of its competitors, however, is that Avelo’s fees are much lower. Checking a bag, for example, will only incur a $10 fee on Avelo and seat assignments start at $5 for an aisle or window seat.
Bringing a carry-on bag is still $35 but passengers at least have the option to check a bag for cheaper. There are some caveats, such as an additional $10 fee if customers don’t pre-purchase baggage allowance online.
But there are some services for which Avelo doesn’t even charge a fee. Booking a flight through a call center, making changes, or even canceling a ticket will not incur a fee.
“As far as change fees are concerned. I think that’s one of the biggest pain points in the airline industry,” Levy said. “It’s been that way for years. Airlines for years have used that as a money grab, and it has no relationship to what it truly costs to manage a change.”
A limited network
Avelo’s strategy focuses on serving secondary airports across the US to provide a more convenient and cheaper experience for customers. Hollywood Burbank Airport is the airline’s only current operating base, from where all of its routes originate.
“We’re a low-cost carrier we’ve built to offer low fares but at the same time, we’re going to offer a great level of convenience by utilizing Burbank, which we think is probably the best secondary airport in the country,” Levy said.
But beyond the West Coast, Mountain West, and Southwest, you won’t find Avelo at the local airport and for the most part, the airline doesn’t fly between big cities. A limited route network so early into the airline’s life is not something the airline can be faulted for but it doesn’t hold a candle to the established route networks of Spirit, Frontier, Allegiant, and Sun Country.
Avelo is offering a modified in-flight snack and drink service during the pandemic. The “convenience package,” as the airline calls it, is a sealed package containing a bottle of water, a sanitary wipe, and a package of shortbread cookies.
Spirit, for its part, still offers an in-flight service. The difference from Avelo is that nothing comes complimentary and everything from snacks to a cup of water will incur an extra fee.
Avelo’s flights are short enough not to notice the lack of a snack and drink service but it’s a nice touch and makes the flight a little bit more welcoming.
Whether or not the offering stays after the pandemic is over, however, remains to be seen. Ultra-low-cost airlines thrive on selling ancillary items and Avelo won’t likely balk at the chance to do so.
Similar onboard products
Avelo’s flagship Boeing 737-800 aircraft are packed with 189 seats in an all-economy configuration. The default legroom on the aircraft is 29 inches of pitch, while extra legroom seats are available at a premium.
That can be tight quarters for some but it’s not uncommon for an ultra-low-cost carrier. And in terms of seat pitch, Avelo is actually better than Spirit, Frontier, and Allegiant, which offer as little as 28 inches of pitch on some of their planes, according to SeatGuru.
Sun Country’s lowest seat pitch is on par with Avelo at 29 inches, according to SeatGuru.
Avelo’s seats also offer minimal cushioning and don’t feature adjustable headrests. The noticeable difference, however, is that Avelo’s seats recline and have full-size tray tables. Frontier, for its part, is upgrading its aircraft to include full-size tray tables, so the airline will soon be on par with Avelo in that regard.
Avelo doesn’t currently offer in-flight entertainment or WiFi but the latter is slated to come later in 2021. Spirit is also in the process of adding WiFi to its fleet and Sun Country currently offers streaming entertainment.
Older aircraft than some competitors
One area where Avelo falls behind some of its competitors is in the age of its aircraft. Avelo’s planes are second-hand Boeing 737 aircraft with an average age of 14.8 years, according to Planespotters.net, with previous owners including Turkish Airlines and TUI Airlines.
The aircraft cabins have all been retrofitted with brand-new seats and the airline’s paint job gives the appearances of a brand-new plane, but the age does show in the interior. It doesn’t take away too much from the experience but flyers won’t be flying on a brand-new plane.
Frontier and Spirit, however, are known for their young fleet of aircraft. The average age of Frontier’s fleet is 4.2 years while Spirit’s is 6.8, according to Planespotters.net, with next-generation Airbus aircraft including the A320 offering lower costs and quieter cabins.
Avelo’s fleet is more on par with Sun Country and Allegiant, both of which have average fleet ages greater than 14 years.
Which airline should travelers choose?
Avelo is undoubtedly the better pick for those that want a low-cost experience while still needing to purchase extras, like a seat assignment or baggage allowance. A $19 ticket with a window seat and a checked bag will only cost $34 in the end, which most of Avelo’s competitors can’t say.
Flexibility is also built into Avelo’s tickets as there are no change or cancellation fees.
But Avelo only serves a handful of routes while its competitors fly across the Western Hemisphere. Choosing Avelo isn’t always an option but when it is, it can definitely be the better pick.
The airline’s strategy is offering flyers cheap non-stop flights to leisure destinations, and that’s in demand now that Americans are raring to get back in the air following an extended pandemic. But while Frontier may fly the same type of aircraft as its full-service competitors like American Airlines and United Airlines, the onboard product couldn’t be any different.
As with any ultra-low-cost carrier, Frontier is built for savings and that’s reflected in every aspect of the flying experience. Seats, for example, are bare-bones with minimal padding, menial tray tables, and as little as 28 inches of legroom on some planes, according to SeatGuru. But that doesn’t mean flights can’t be enjoyable.
Frontier flies from my local airport on Long Island in New York and I’ve had many an opportunity to journey on the ultra-low-cost carrier by taking advantage of its rock-bottom pricing. In my years of flying the airline, I don’t think I’ve paid more than $30 for a round-trip flight when traversing the East Coast as far south as Miami and have had a good experience nearly every time.
Here’s what you need to know when flying Frontier in order to get the best experience.
Know what you’re paying for
Flyers should know that their $15 one-way ticket isn’t going to get them much more than a ticket to ride. Everything from an advanced seat assigned to the drinks onboard the aircraft is going to incur an extra fee.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you know what to pay for and what not to pay for. Personal items like a backpack can fly free of charge and so I avoid the baggage fees by skipping the carry-on and using a backpack for my items if the trip allows.
The seats onboard Frontier are also unlike anything passengers would find on a full-service airline. They’re thin “slimline” seats with no headrests, in-seat power, or even full-size tray tables. Legroom is also significantly reduced, which can make for an uncomfortable ride for taller passengers.
Ultimately, they’re not the most comfortable but I also know my limits when flying an airline like Frontier. I tend to get squirmish when flying Frontier after around three hours, especially if in a crowded row, so I wouldn’t generally book a flight longer than that.
Flyers wanting the extras can pay for them and those wanting seats comparable to a full-service carrier can book “stretch” seats in the first few rows of the cabin. They include full tray tables, extra legroom, and full recline capabilities.
Travelers with too high of expectations will ultimately be disappointed by Frontier but I’ve found that managing those expectations will result in a better experience.
Why I never pay for a seat and how to get a better one for free
I’ve taken 13 flights on Frontier and I’ve only been assigned a middle seat a total of one time. The science isn’t exactly clear on how Frontier randomly assigns leftover seats but my trick is checking in exactly 24 hours in advance and I’m typically given an aisle or window seat.
I prefer a window seat and so I always check with the gate agent to see if any have opened up if I’m assigned an aisle or middle. The gate staff are usually more than willing to help out and will often assign the closest open seat to the front.
Why I subscribe to Discount Den and how to get it for “free”
Discount Den is a paid membership product where customers get discounts on flights in exchange for a $59.99 annual fee. It’s separate from the MyFrontier loyalty program and perks can include discounts, free tickets for children, and buy one, get ones.
The savings are more pronounced on more expensive flights as the cheaper flights in Frontier’s network will only see a modest savings of only a few dollars. A $95 flight I booked from Islip, New York to Phoenix in June, however, was only $77 thanks to the program. The $18 savings was around a third of the annual fee so if I had two more flights with that amount of savings, I’d break even.
But I didn’t outright pay to join the program. I joined in January and discovered that I could use travel credit from a Frontier flight that I had canceled during the pandemic to pay for it, but only if I bought the membership while booking a flight.
Frontier sometimes offers signup bonuses when joining the program to make it an even better value. I signed up and was given a $50 voucher to fly on Frontier so the program basically paid for itself.
The only downside is that there are no perks when actually flying. I still have to pay for a seat, I don’t get to board any earlier, and I don’t receive any baggage allowance. But the discounts I get do help offset the cost of buying extras like a seat assignment or carry-on bag if I absolutely need them.
Frontier’s pandemic safety measures
Like most major US airlines, Frontier flyers must wear masks when flying and acknowledge a health declaration that basically says flyers haven’t contracted COVID-19 recently and haven’t been exposed to the virus. But that’s about where the similarities stop.
All travelers flying Frontier must submit to a temperature screening at boarding. If a flyer shows a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, they’ll be denied boarding.
On the plane, Frontier has not blocked middle seats and does not proactively notify of full flights. Customers are also on their own to social distance, either by asking the gate agent to move to an empty row or asking the flight attendant to be re-seated.
The in-flight service has also been suspended with no snacks or drinks, besides bottles of water, available for purchase. Bottles of water are available on request for $2.99 or flyers can bring their own drinks from the terminal.
Frontier Airlines is facing claims of anti-Semitism after a routine flight from Miami to New York City was canceled on Sunday due to maskless passengers, the New York Times is reporting.
Passengers had boarded flight 2878 from Miami International Airport to LaGuardia Airport and were preparing for the three-hour trip north when a confrontation erupted between a group of Hasidic Jewish passengers and crew members that resulted in the group’s ejection from the flight.
“Multiple people, including several adults, were asked repeatedly to wear their masks and refused to do so,” Frontier spokesperson Jennifer De La Cruz told Insider. “Based on the continued refusal to comply with the federal mask mandate, refusal to disembark the aircraft and aggression towards the flight crew, local law enforcement was engaged. The flight was ultimately canceled.”
Martin Joseph, a member of the 21-person group, denied the airline’s account and claims the issue initially stemmed from his 15-month-old child not wearing a mask while eating, he told the Times. After members of Joseph’s group defended the child, citing the federal government’s exemption for children under two, his family and nearby couples were removed from the flight,
“We understand that the mask has to be worn, and everybody has to wear a mask and that’s the law,” Joseph told the Times.
Frontier’s policy echoes the government policy but the airline is holding firm on its account that the escalation came as a result of adults not wearing masks and not just the 15-month-old child.
“The issue did not stem from a child under two,” Frontier said in a tweet that has since received over 3,000 replies at the time of writing.
Other passengers say that Joseph’s group had been wearing masks during their interactions with the crew, who had reportedly high-fived each other after removing the group from the plane, spurring claims of anti-Semitism. One passenger screamed, “this is Nazi Germany,” as the passengers were deplaning, according to a video posted to Twitter by the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council.
The Anti-Defamation League of New York is calling for an investigation into the incident.