Tuesday, August 13, 2019

WHY I WON’T FLY FRONTIER AIRLINES

Frontier Airlines is dead to me. From here on, when I’m invited to a convention and send my appearance requirements to the promoters, one of those requirements is that I won’t fly Frontier. The airline has lost my business for all time because of its unwillingness to make right a situation of its own making that could have been happily resolved for just two hundred dollars.

After the San Diego Comic-Con, Saintly Wife Barb, daughter Kelly, Kelly’s roommate Lauren and I were flying back to Cleveland on an early morning non-stop Frontier flight. We all checked our luggage at a cost of roughly $50 per bag. Our luggage was in the custody of the airline, which meant they were responsible for it.

I had an very nice but not terribly expensive American Tourister suitcase that my wife and kids had given me for Christmas. I’d only used it a few times since receiving it. The approximate cost of the luggage was $150.

Frontier is close to the rock bottom of airlines. Its prices are low in comparison to other airlines, but every little thing costs an additional fee. Most airlines allow you one carry-on suitcase. Frontier charges you for the privilege of cramming that into one of their overhead bins. I kept waiting for them to charge me for the briefcase I put underneath the seat in front of me.

Frontier charges for every drink and snack with the exception of a cup of water. I understood “no free stuff” is one of the many ways Frontier improves its bottom line. I even purchased some snacks and water bottles on this flight. I even tipped the flight attendants on account of the bill included copy to the effect that those tips were greatly appreciated. I tip pretty well when I travel and did so in this case. In retrospect, I suspect Frontier takes at least a sizeable cut of those tips. The airline is that cheap.

Our flight was delayed two hours because of maintenance issues. We boarded the aircraft, then we were asked to leave the aircraft but leave our carry-ons behind, then we were asked to get our carry-on luggage after all, then we were told to wait in proximity to our gate, then we waited for the two hours in a small circle of gates, much to the consternation of other airlines and airport people who wanted us to clear the area. It was not a pleasant two hours, but, eventually, the maintenance issues were resolved without Frontier charging us for duct tape. We re-boarded our aircraft and sat down for the long flight back home. Thankfully, that complimentary duct tape held and we landed safely.

When we arrived in Cleveland, over two hours late, we had to wait nearly a half-hour before our luggage came down the baggage claim belt. From the moment I grabbed my suitcase, I could tell something was wrong. Some items were poking their way through what should’ve  been a tightly-zippered bag.

My first thought was that the TSA had rummaged through my bag and left it less than completely zippered. However, there was no notice that they had checked my bag. Unless that notice had slipped out of the suitcase. Then I looked closer.

The zippers on the main part of the bag had been damaged and could not close securely. I didn’t I had lost anything from the suitcase. However, when I got home and emptied the suitcase, I noticed I was missing several issues of Commando (the British war comics digest) that I brought to read in San Diego. I was relieved that was all I had stolen from my suitcase.

I immediately went to the Frontier Airlines baggage claim office to file a complaint and seek restitution. However, between our delayed arrival and the long wait for our luggage to arrive at the baggage claim area, the Frontier office was closed. There was no one there to listen to my complaint and file my claim.

My son Eddie picked us up at the airport. We took Kelly and Lauren to their house, then headed home. It was late when we got home and I was exhausted.

The next morning, I went on the Frontier Airlines website to find  out how to make a claim for the damaged-beyond-repair suitcase. I found the website less than easy to navigate. I had other work to do, so I put this matter aside.

The next day, I had no better luck navigating Frontier’s website. It took a while, but I found a number to call. The person answering my call helped me find the proper form, or what passed for the proper form on account of there was no dedicated form for the problem I’d experienced.

I noticed with alarm the form said all claims must be filed within four hours of landing. Which was impossible given that there was no one at the Frontier baggage office when we landed two hours later than scheduled. Nonetheless, I filed out the form and attached two photos of the damage as required.

The first Frontier e-mail totally rejected my claim because I had not filed within four hours. I complained.

The second Frontier e-mail claimed it wouldn’t be fair to my fellow passengers if I received special treatment. I bet if I could take a poll of those fellow passengers not one of them would object to my getting “special” treatment. I told Frontier I would take this to social media.

The third Frontier e-mail offered me a $50 travel voucher on their airline, an airline I never plan to fly again. I responded this was an absurd offer and suggested the person who wrote the e-mail kick the matter to her superior. I demanded $200 - the cost of replacing the suitcase and a refund of what I paid to check the bag with them - and not in the form of their useless-to-me travel vouchers. By the way, had I accepted the travel voucher, I would have had to do that by the end of the month and sign an waiver protecting Frontier from further action.

The fourth Frontier e-mail was the exact same “not fair to others” e-mail and didn’t even offer the travel voucher. I haven’t answered that one yet. But I am determined to keep after Frontier until they make right what they made wrong.

Today’s blog is part of my “keeping after Frontier” campaign. As I can take a few minutes here and there, I will be contacting pretty much anyone who might be able to legally cause Frontier grief. I’ll be posting negative reviews of their practices on travel websites. I’m open to suggestions.

Barb bought me a new suitcase for our trip to the New Mexico Comic Expo. It’s a little nicer than the one Frontier destroyed. So I’m covered for our trip to Albuquerque in two days. One less thing for me to worry about.

But I’ll be coming after Frontier again and again. Because that’s how pissed off I am at their inability to deal with this customer fairly. I’d consider it a personal favor if, unless you’ve no other choice, you don’t fly Frontier. I also recommend comics conventions not use Frontier when they book flights for their guests.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back tomorrow with one more blog before I leave for Albuquerque. See you then.

© 2019 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. Gosh. I'm a regular reader but am utterly moved to comment about this for the simple fact that I work with Frontier- if you can call it that- on an almost daily basis. And I can attest how bottom of the barrel they are and the contempt they display for almost everyone they interact with on an almost staggering level!

    Granted, I'm not a passenger. I work at a busy airport hotel which gets primarily corporate business traveler guests. But we also have a contract with Frontier- so we put up their flight attendants between flights, shuttle them to the airport, and so on. We also get a vast majority of their passengers. And Mr. Isabella? They ALL have the same complaints that you do. And 70% of the Frontier employees we take care of? All rude, all insulting, all entitled. So believe me, this wasn't an isolated incident.

    I have an e-mail that apparently reaches their HR department if you want it but it's likely something you already have. I'm very sorry you had to deal with that but yeah, Frontier has already shown me never to consider them if I need a flight! And these guests that come to me with horror stories are regular guests at our hotel and are not rude and demanding. It's just a lack of professionalism because they KNOW they're at the bottom of the rung. And who'd have thought a living legend and one of his fans would start the week talking about airline conduct? :D

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