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Frontier Airlines to Rescind Controversial Empty Middle Seat Fee

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We were the first to report Frontier Airlines controversial “More Room” seat assignments allowing passengers to guarantee an empty middle seat by paying a fee, and now Frontier Airlines is doing away with the program in the wake of intense backlash from travelers, Congress and others.

The option, which was announced Monday, started from $39 per passenger, per flight and was to be offered on flights departing May 8 through August 31, 2020.

Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., chairman of the House Transportation Committee, called it “outrageous” and accused the carrier of “capitalizing on fear and passengers’ well-founded concerns for their health and safety” during the coronavirus-outbreak” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Frontier CEO Barry Biffle said the airline will rescind the extra fee and block the seats from being sold, according to The Associated Press.

“We recognize the concerns raised that we are profiting from safety and this was never our intent,” Biffle wrote in a letter to Reps. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn.; Jesus Garcia, D-Ill. and Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass. on Wednesday. “We simply wanted to provide our customers with an option for more space.”

Biffle had originally said the More Room option was to provide customers with “extra peace of mind or simply additional comfort.”

“We are offering the option, and it is guaranteed. We don’t believe you need it—if everybody is wearing a facial covering—to be safe,” he told the AP earlier this week.”

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