FlyerTalk Forums - View Single Post - If Frontier screws up, you're on your own
Old Dec 8, 17, 11:14 pm
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iahphx
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 15,977
If Frontier screws up, you're on your own

I've had quite an experience flying Frontier this week. My wife and I were enticed by an absurd $38 roundtrip fare to MSY. My outbound flight went off without a hitch. If you keep your expectations modest, comply with their "personal item" bag size, and nothing unusual happens, the experience CAN be decent for what you pay.

The problem with Frontier, however, is if something "unusual" DOES happen.

This morning at MSY, there was a modest amount of sleet falling. Safety protocol called for de-icing. Frontier, however, had "forgot" to order de-icing fluid for the station. Other airlines had de-icing fluid, but Frontier was unable to procure any from these other airlines. After several hours on the aircraft waiting to see if the fluid could be obtained, my flight was cancelled (as, I believe, all other MSY-departing flights were eventually cancelled). For reaccommodation, the best Frontier could offer me was 8 days later! Otherwise, I could take a refund.

With years of travel experience -- and elite frequent flyer status on other airlines -- I was able to find standard award seats without last minute ticketing charges on another airline that did have de-icing fluid at MSY. So the net result of Frontier's screw up was the cost of two one-way standard award tickets and 8 hours of our time. Sucky, but not the end of the world.

The people I felt sorry for were my fellow travellers. I could tell most of them were infrequent travelers, not terribly affluent, and not well equipped to deal with an airline that basically was stranding them far from home with no good options. I tried to help a few of them but, obviously, the solution I had for myself wasn't going to work for them.

This is the fundamental problem with flying Frontier. Are you willing to take the risk of "being completely on your own" if your flight gets cancelled? Would you put friends and family on a Frontier flight knowing they could get stranded without good options? I'm not a huge fan of government regulation, but my experience today begs for some sort of consumer protection. Frontier, of course, will claim the cancellation was due to "weather."

Interestingly, my long hours on the aircraft in adverse conditions did give me some insight into the caliber of Frontier's workforce. I found the pilots to be true professionals; the captain was clearly trying her best to get her plane and passengers safely to their destination. She told me she was "embarrassed" that her airline didn't have the de-icing fluid -- especially since she had been assured by the company that they did have the fluid. The flight attendants seemed significantly less professional; I'm not sure what their pay scale is, but the caliber of the crew seemed significantly lower than what the major US airlines hire. I would not want to put my life in their hands in an emergency situation.

Also interesting was the fact that my Frontier flights in both directions were completely sold out, while other airlines were operating with significant numbers of empty seats (which turned out to be a godsend for me when my Frontier flight got cancelled). All the passengers I spoke to were paying under $50 for their flight. Frontier will obviously sell tickets at fire sale prices to fill their planes, while other airlines won't.

Last edited by iahphx; Dec 8, 17 at 11:19 pm
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