Old Jul 19, 2010, 2:03 AM
daveandfaith daveandfaith is offline
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 3
Default Don't fly Frontier Airlines! Read this before you book.

Here’s my horrible experience. It’s been over a week and still no response from Frontier. I intend to post the everywhere. Do not fly Frontier Airlines! You need to read this before you book.

We flew to Telluride, Colorado for my daughter’s wedding. My wife, my youngest son, and myself, were flying home from Montrose, Colorado to Canton/Akron, Ohio. My other two sons and my daughter-in-law had booked a different route from Durango, Colorado to Canton/Akron. We were to both meet in Denver and in the final leg of the flight, fly Frontier Airlines back home.

After we boarded our respective planes, Denver Airport stopped all incoming flights due to weather. We waited on the runway for well over an hour. My other party did the same, at their airport. After being released for takeoff by Denver, we could see the arrival and departure times between flights, was going to be close. When we arrived at Denver, we ran from Concourse C to Concourse B to catch our Frontier flight, all the time staying in contact with my other party by cell phone. They had also landed and were approaching their gate, as we approached the Frontier ticket counter. What happened next is why I will never fly Frontier again. You be the judge and imagine how you would feel.

After waiting for a few remaining passengers to board. We were greeted by two Frontier airline employees. One was an older woman, the other, was younger and appeared to be a trainee. Right from the beginning, I could tell the older woman had an attitude. You probably know the type, someone whose only happiness comes from the misery of others. Anyhow, there we were at the counter, we informed her of our problem and my other parties problem, and asked if we needed to check-in. Snidely, she informed us, “Yes, you do.” Her attitude was so abrasive, my wife actually apologized to her stating, “Sorry, we had tried to log-in twenty-four hours in advance, but the web site wouldn’t allow us too.” The woman snapped back saying, “You are just economy class. You are not allowed to select seats.” I was stunned at her comment. I had never in my life heard an employee label a customer, to their face, as CHEAP. Just for the record, although Frontier was not my only airline, my tickets cost $2,150.00 plus add another $75 for luggage. Also, we HAD selected our seats on the trip out to Telluride, but I am still unsure why but we could not do this on the way back.

Then we were informed, “I can give you three seats but they are not together.” I was still in shock with her attitude, but I informed her that wasn’t a problem. My wife and I are Christians, we believe in the kindness of people. I have seen people trade seats to allow families to sit together. I, myself, have switched seats for that very reason. I knew it wouldn’t be a problem and, in fact, people did switch for us.

Back to the story, I told them that my other party that was coming. The older one asked the younger one to call and see if the supervisor would hold the takeoff for another incoming flight. The younger one did call, and was told “NO”, then hung up. I was a little taken back, but I do now see, that what she told the supervisor was very misleading. She never informed the supervisor the other flight had landed, and was beginning to de-board. Also, being that the scheduled time of departure was still about ten minutes away, I figured they would still make it.

Now with tickets in hand, my wife, youngest son, and I, began to board the plane. As my wife and son continued, I stopped for a second and asked the woman, “Is there anything I can do to speed up the process when my other children get here?” This is when the older employee went from rude to threatening! The following is our conversation.

Frontier: “I am closing out the flight. They are not boarding!”
Me: “What? Why not, they are on the way.”
Frontier: “We were told not to hold the plane. Akron/Canton airport will not allow a late flight. If we hold this flight they will divert it somewhere else, then no one will get there.”
Me: “That’s not true. I’ve flown in there many times. Flights have been late numerous times because of weather and unexpected reasons. Never, never has Akron/Canton diverted a flight for being a few minutes late.”
Frontier: “Listen you are just economy and we are NOT holding this plane!”
Me: “I want to speak to your supervisor!”
Frontier: “Listen, you are not going too, and further more, if you don’t get on that plane right NOW, you’re not going either.”
Me: “WHAT? You don’t understand, I’ll trade my seat with one of them. Both my sons have to work Monday and my grandchild will run out of breast milk, if my daughter-in-law can’t get home tonight!”
(Just so you know, my grandchild is only one month old, and at the advice of their doctor, they were told to leave him at her mom’s house. Again at the advice of their doctor and many advocacy groups, my daughter-in-law wants to breast feed the baby. She pumped enough breast milk for the three day trip. Because of Frontier Airlines, the baby had to be put on formula for a day. Not the worst thing for a baby, but pretty devastating for Mom.)
Frontier: “I don’t care! Are you getting on the plane or NOT?” (The two of them begin walking toward the gate door.)
Me: (I begin walking with them.) “I’m going, but I want your names NOW!”
Frontier: “Stephanie and Lori, now get moving!”
(I believe they were not telling their real names. The older one had a tag on her neck, but it was backwards and I couldn’t see it. The younger one was not wearing any visible tag.)
Me: “I am moving, what were your names again?”
Frontier: “We already told you, now get on that plane!”
(I couldn’t believe what was happening. As I walked on the plane with the two of them, I asked the flight crew)
Me:“Are their names Stephanie and Lori? Does anyone know their names?”
(Stephanie and Lori turned and left)
Flight crew: “We don’t know them.”
(I don’t know if the flight crew was telling the truth or not, but the flight crew did not seem to have the attitude of the two counter employees, so I would give them the benefit of doubt.)
Me: “FINE!” (and I turned and took my seat. I was furious. A day later, I am still furious. I hope no one has to experience the feeling, of having your family tore apart from you, like Frontier Airlines did to me.)

By the way, the flight was scheduled to leave at 7:05, my son called me on my cell phone at 7:06 to tell me he looked around for someone but no one was there, and he was at the locked gate door. The counter people probably went home laughing at what they had done to my family, but I don’t think it’s very funny. I do understand it would not be fair to the rest of the passengers to make them wait for thirty minutes, or even fifteen, but Frontier counter people knew they were coming at a full run, and for one minute, they would have made that flight! One more thing, Frontier out of the kindness of their hearts, gave my children a voucher to a Holiday Inn Express that was booked full, so they had to WALK an additional two blocks, in the rain, with luggage, to stay at a dive motel. Thanks, Frontier!

What if that was your connecting flight? What if they cost you a vacation of a lifetime? What if you missed that business meeting? What if your family got separated? Would the $50 or $100 savings be worth it then? I have never had problems like this with other airlines and I will NEVER fly Frontier Airlines again!

-Dave Griffith
Old Jul 19, 2010, 5:53 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

Before you are inundated with replies from "airline sympathizers" explaining why aircraft cannot be "held" for people under these circumstances.... can we just emphasize that the primary focus of your complaint is the nasty, belligerant and totally unnecessary hostility of the employee. It was outrageous and seems to be very prevalent in the airline industry. What is it with these people?
Old Jul 19, 2010, 9:12 AM
daveandfaith daveandfaith is offline
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 3

Thanks. Your absolutely correct! If the owner of the airlines was in our shoes, I wonder how he would feel about his employees. Also, I told them, so they knew, it was less than a minute before the rest of my family arrived at the gate. I was talking to my son on the phone outside the locked gate door, and they hadn't even shut the overhead bin doors yet. Its been over a week, and I'm still furious with Frontier!
Old Jul 19, 2010, 9:47 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

These situations are not always as straightforward as they appear. The manfest, weight and paperwork for a flight can mean that even if the bridge door was still open, the delay in re-doing all this stuff to allow the latecomers to board could cause the flight to lose a take off slot. I have no idea if this would have been the case in your case, but it is possible. Some airlines operate a very strict cut off and do not give their employees any discretion. For me, that is not the issue.

Over and over on these websites, the primary issue raised is in fact the attitude of the employees. This seems to have got much worse since 911, in part because many airline staff now seem to feel empowered to treat customers with utter disrespect and arrogance.

This customer service rep had a terrible attitude from the get go, and to make matters worse was training someone. God only knows what the future holds with trainees being trained like that. I would have no problem if this rep said politely, "I am really sorry, but our airline operates a strict policy on cut off times and we are not able to hold the flight. We will do our best to see that your family is reunited as soon as possible". You may still have been unhappy, but stuff happens.

Where I have the problem is with the attitude. It is disgraceful and I am glad you have publicly exposed them. It is a shame you don't have her real name.. Naming and shaming may be one of the only tools the hapless traveller has left.

Last edited by jimworcs; Jul 19, 2010 at 9:49 AM.
Old Jul 19, 2010, 10:08 AM
azstar azstar is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 375

The airline industry is one of the few where employees are simply not held accountable for their behavior. They can be as rude and abusive as they like because no manager wants to deal with them. They are simply ignored, which sends the message that their bad behavior is acceptable. Send your post to [email protected]. He's the VP of Customer Service.
Old Jul 20, 2010, 4:37 AM
daveandfaith daveandfaith is offline
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 3

Thanks for the info. I will send the VP a copy of my complaint. Also, thank you both, your right. The treatment from Frontier's employees was appalling. I hope no one else has to experience the frustration from those two. Traveling is not supposed to be something people hate. I fly once or twice a year and I have had my share of problems, but nothing like what happened to me with Frontier. This was my first and last experience with that airline.
Old Jul 20, 2010, 5:21 AM
Butch Cassidy Slept Here Butch Cassidy Slept Here is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Nearest Airports: COD, BIL, WRL
Posts: 577
Default Meet your gate agent: Herr (Frau) Kommandant!

First, in your letter to Frontier, I would make it clear Frontier provided a hotel voucher to your son. The fact that this was done is, in effect, an admission of sorts that Frontier was (morally) in the wrong. I wouldn’t expect much beyond a “sorry for the inconvenience” and, maybe, a $50 flight voucher you can only use at 5:00 AM, on a Wednesday in February, and for a fee of $100---in other words a worthless piece of paper. The Frontier gate staff may have had a super-crappy personality, but it sounds like they had the rules on their side. The “Friendly Skies” died with deregulation and, while rules may be bent from time to time, you should always assume you will be dealing with an anal retentive rule follower. Connecting flight, or not, you must present yourself at the departure gate not later than the time the airline says. Otherwise you are at the mercy of Herr Kommandant!

Based on your comment about having to change terminals in Denver it looks like this was an inter-line connection, from United Express/Sky West, to Frontier. Frontier has always maintained all its gates, and commuter partners, in a single terminal in Denver (which is, currently, Terminal A). I don’t know how much ground time there was between the two flights as they were originally scheduled. However, if your connection requires a change of terminals, and you’re connecting to the last flight of the day, I would not accept a booking where the ground time is less than two hours. This should apply when you’re connecting at ANY major airport. I think you would agree that having to “overnight” (at your expense) in Denver would have been preferable to the insanity you and your son endured. Usually, if you book the first flight of the day, “overnighting,” en route, can be avoided but may involve an extended (5 hours plus) ground time at the connecting point. The moral: Just because the connection has a “legal” (minimum required) ground time that does NOT mean you have any chance in the world of actually reaching the departure gate, of your onward flight, in time. Airlines apparently have no problem in selling tickets which involve connections their customers can’t possibly make.

Another suggestion: Air travel to or through Denver, or elsewhere in the Rockies, can be prone to bad weather (snow) almost ten months out of the year with July and August being the exception. So it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the airport hotels at Denver and the Amtrak schedule and routes. Really bad snows can stop Amtrak. However, most of the time, Amtrak will run through weather that will ground a plane.

Frontier, and their Great Lakes Air commuter partner, serve two of the three airports closest to my home. So I’m familiar with this airline. I’m not excusing the attitude of the staff in Denver, but still, you could have done a LOT worse with another airline. If you ever travel with Frontier again I would recommend buying a “Classic Plus” (premium) fare. The ticket is fully refundable and, on mainline flights, provides seating with extra legroom (“Stretch Seating”).
[B][I][COLOR=navy][FONT=Arial Narrow]We HATE to fly--and it shows![/FONT][/COLOR][COLOR=navy][FONT=Arial Narrow][/FONT][/COLOR][/I][/B]
Old Jul 20, 2010, 9:54 AM
azstar azstar is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 375

In defense of Frontier, I have to say as a company they usually try to do the right thing; much more so than most airlines. Technically, since it was a weather delay, they owe you nothing, compensation-wise, especially since the delay was on another airline. If they gave you a hotel voucher, you were fortunate. If they gave you a travel voucher, you can always use it. It's a monetary discount, not a "free ticket" like some airlines give you which is never "available". I'm also told that Akron-Canton Airport does have a night curfew so they could not hold the flight if it was going to arrive after the curfew.

However, you still need to address the issue of the obnoxious personalities you dealt with. Of course, you were polite and courteous during the entire process, right??

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