Frontier Airlines Complaint - Unable to get boarding pass 45 minutes prior to flight
AUSTIN, TEXAS -- This is a copy of letter I am sending to Frontier CEO & VP of Customer Relations:
I’m writing to you both to share my recent travel experience with Frontier Airlines. Please let me start by saying I and my family have had incredibly pleasant experiences the several times we have flown with Frontier. My husband’s family is in XX and it has been a joy to fly on your fleet. The customer services reps (the few times we have needed them) have been fantastic, the rewards program is excellent, and the flight crews are stellar. We regularly tell friends, family, colleagues, etc., about our happiness with flying with Frontier.
So, it was without hesitation that my husband and I booked our most recent flight from Austin TX to San Francisco CA with Frontier. The price was right and as I indicated above, we’ve always had nothing but positive transactions. We always start shopping early when planning a trip, so when I purchased our tickets, it was too soon to check-in online. I point this out now, because it will be important later. We also knew we would have luggage to check, so it didn’t seem to be something that would be applicable to our circumstances.
What follows is a step-by-step recounting of our outbound trip:
1) October 26, 2007 - we arrived at Austin-Bergstrom airport Frontier curb 5:35am for 6:25 am departure.
2) Husband checked in with 2 pieces of luggage at Frontier counter @ 5:40am.
3) I, parked car after waiting at curb (trapped by cab and other car for almost 5 minutes).
4) I arrived at Frontier counter to obtain boarding pass – told by counter that it was too late – 5:49am – needed to be at counter by 5:45am. Too late to print boarding pass (terminal had been “locked” by gate agent) and check luggage. At no time was my identification looked at, nor was any data entered into the counter terminal.
5) I advised my luggage had already been checked, and traveling companion Steve Nelson had already checked in and was in security line.
6) Counter agent advised that I would not be able to make it through security screen in time. At this time there were still more than 30 minutes to departure. Austin Bergstrom is not a large airport, and I’ve never had problems making it through security previously, even with long lines.
7) Counter agent advised that agent at boarding gate had closed boarding, and that flight was oversold.
8) Husband left line for security check and returned to Frontier counter to request a boarding pass for me. Request was denied.
9) Husband was still able to make it through security check points even with a CPAP in his carry on which requires a manual check by TSA. Even after all that he was able to make it to the gate and board the plane with 10 minutes left.
10) Counter agent advised me that flight was oversold and that was part of the reason they would not provide a boarding pass. By being 4 minutes late seat had been forfeited.
11) I was put on standby for 2:00 pm flight which was also oversold.
12) After checking in at 9:30am and waiting at gate, I was not able to obtain a seat on the 2 or 5 pm flight. When I inquired at the gate how stand-by passengers were prioritized the gate agent would not provide an answer, and then proceeded to lecture me about the importance of being on time for flights and that I should have checked in online to avoid this in the future. This was totally inappropriate and unexpected behavior.
13) I left the gate area, and returned to the ticket counter. There I had to purchase a ticket for the next day’s 6:25 am flight at an additional cost of $189.00. Because my luggage was already in destination, I was able to check in at that time and avoid the ticket counter the next day.
14) I was advised by counter agent (and this was later confirmed by husband) that flight I missed had 10 open seats that were the direct result of people not being able to obtain boarding passes and or make it through security checks in time.
15) Interestingly, the next day’s flight, while waiting at the gate to board the plane, I made a note of the time the same gate agent closed the flight for boarding it was 6:10 am, a full 25 minutes later than the flight boarding was closed the day before!
You may be heartened to hear that when I shared this story with others they were very surprised and disappointed that this was a Frontier flight that I was talking about. As we suspected, this is not the usual and customary behavior and experience for Frontier.
We’ve all read and heard through the media that this has been a troubled year for both the airline industry and their customers. Fuel costs, more people flying, increased security processes; they all compound and exacerbate the already stretched and stressed system. The customer experience has an average rating of failure, and Congress is looking into the passenger bill of rights.
Compared to the average US citizen, I travel quite frequently by domestic air for pleasure / holiday, sometimes up to 5 trips in a 1 year period. I have had my share of rude, unpleasant and at times downright dishonest airline behavior and treatment, and until this time, Frontier was not in that crowded and undistinguished group. I admit that I am more than a little skeptical regarding the reasoning behind this appearance of random decision regarding the times that boarding is locked, gates closed, etc. If every flight is oversold, and even 1 or 2 seats, let alone 10 as in my case are forfeited and then extorted to repurchase their ticket, I see a fantastic revenue stream there.
I’d also like to add that I and husband have individual Frontier Airline MasterCards, both with excellent credit ratings and large credit limits. Husband is so unhappy with the additional charge for the flight, and the loss of an entire day of our holiday that he contacted the customer service department for the credit cards and requested that they be closed. The customer service rep was abhorred and apologized sincerely and profusely for our unpleasant experience. She also asked to take the information regarding our experience and sent that on to her management to see if there was anything they could do to help make up for this experience. This seems to be more in line with the method of Frontier’s customer care. We agreed to wait a week to see what if anything would be the result of her effort before continuing on with our request to close the accounts.
We are requesting the return of the $189.00 charge.