Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Soon, they'll charge you for seat cushions. 

And visits to the restroom.

And, who knows, armrests. 

Over recent years, the notion that fees drive airlines has become so prevalent that passengers are almost numb. When they're not angry, that is.

There's no stopping it, of course.

The mere fact that most airlines think it's perfectly fine to charge you $200 for the two-click administrative charge of changing your flight shows that they don't have any scruples in their carry-ons.

Moreover, it's easy to associate budget airlines as being the ones who began the fee frenzy.

Their whole idea was the make fares seem absurdly cheap, until you begin to add up all the other things you have to pay for.

Naturally, the bigger airlines adopted the policy. They saw money in it, after all.

It's always, though, been airlines such as Spirit, Allegiant, WOW Air and Frontier who have been the biggest fee enthusiasts.

Which is why it's odd to see Frontier enjoying a burst of peculiar generosity.

This week, it began to crawl toward Southwest Airlines-level decency -- crawl very slowly, mind you -- by deciding not to charge fees for ticket changes made more than 90 days prior to flying.

Moreover, should you want to make changes to your flight between 14 and 90 days, the fee will now be $49.

It used to be $99, and that still stays if your change comes within the 13-day period.

Daniel Shurz, senior vice president, commercial for Frontier told USA Today that the fee-lowering "should make us more attractive as an airline to fly, simply because we're offering a better value product."

Which is a slightly odd thing to say.

When you're an airline that's endured a reputation for not being quite passenger-friendly reputation over the years, steps like these aren't merely offering value.

They're surely an attempt to create a little more customer loyalty. 

Southwest doesn't charge change fees or baggage fees solely because it wants to be a value airline.

It does it because it wants you to feel it's not an airline run by the sort of feelingless money-grabbers who populate gentlemen's clubs, clutch a whiskey and snigger at the poor.

Of course it's hard to create loyalty in a business where so much is stacked against budget airlines.

It might still be worth it, though. 

Please, I don't expect a sudden scramble where budget airlines lower their fees and make themselves utterly endearing. 

But every little gesture helps. 

Published on: Sep 23, 2018