Frontier Airlines Complaint - Worse experience ever
The best way to describe this is to share the letter I sent them!
June 26, 2009
Frontier Airlines, Inc
7001 Tower Road
Denver, CO 80249-7312
Attn: Customer Relations
Today I had the absolute worst experience I have ever encountered in over 40 years of flying. THE WORST.
A group of four of us were scheduled to fly from Oklahoma City, OK to Denver, CO on Frontier Flight 188 at 7:00 am on Friday, June 26. We had planned this trip for quite some time and were headed to a family reunion (probably my last chance to see some of my aunts that are still living as they were traveling from other states).
I checked us in online the night prior with no problems.
We arrived at the airport before 6:00 am and, having no checked baggage, headed straight to security. We checked the terminal monitors and the flight was showing on time. We waited at the gate and never saw a Frontier employee. When the plane was not being boarded by 6:45, we simply assumed the gate crew was running late. We again checked the monitor and it showed the flight on time. When 7:00 arrived, we started asking other passengers if they were waiting for the Denver flight. They said no, they were on the Houston flight and they had heard the Denver flight was cancelled. Let me reiterate - WE ONLY HEARD OF THE CANCELLATION FROM OTHER PASSENGERS. The terminal monitors, the gate signage etc all still showed our flight on-time.
So, I immediately headed to the ticket counter. What awaited me there was chaos. I got in a line with approximately 20-25 people at about 7:10 am. Now, keep in mind that had proper notice been given, I would have been at the ticket counter by 6:00 am. Through word of mouth of passengers we learned that apparently a flight destined for Houston was diverted and our plane was given to that group of passengers. I still don’t know if that’s correct as your Oklahoma City employees never informed us of the reason for the cancellation.
The gentleman working our line was extremely slow. Keep in mind there were only 20-25 people in line, but it took him over FOUR HOURS to get to us. That’s correct - FOUR HOURS. So, I’m sure it was obvious we weren’t happy. While waiting in line, he was helping another group of passengers (I think he was helping them) and was on the phone. He took the phone receiver and pounded it on the counter several times in obvious anger. I have never seen anything like that in my life. I’m not sure what made him so angry on the phone, but to throw a tantrum like that in front of passengers is beyond belief.
At the two hour point of waiting, I decided I might have better luck just contacting customer service. So, I called your toll-free number. I had over a ten minute wait time on the phone (which is understandable. I’m sure many people were calling with the way we were being treated). When your representative answered, I explained to her what was going on. She said “I can’t help you. You’ll have to wait until the ticket agent at the counter gets to you.” So, I asked her could she at least check to see what flight alternatives there might be so I had an idea of what I was facing when I finally did get to the counter. She told me Frontier’s flights were booked the rest of the day, but couldn’t’ tell me if there were options on other flights. She again stated I would have to wait for the ticket agent. So, nothing gained there. She wasn’t especially rude, just not much help! But, I understand there are protocols and she was merely following them. But, it would make sense to me in the sprit of customer service that your phone reps be given the authority to handle these situations. But, I admit there may be limitations to this of which I’m not aware.
When we finally got to the counter after 11:00, the employee basically snatched my boarding passes out of my hand. No apology. No explanation as to why my flight was cancelled - nothing. I asked him why the cancellation wasn’t posted on the terminals or at the gate. His response, or rather his angry snapping, was “I’ve been here since 5:00 yesterday and didn’t have time.” Having had our patience worn thin, we made the comment among ourselves that we should call the news station. So, YOUR employee decided he needed to call Homeland Security to stand at the counter. Really? Because we made a comment in passing about calling the local news??? Now, I will have to say that Homeland Security may have had nothing to do with us, as they never said a word, but it did seem like a rather big coincidence. But, still, no apology and no explanation. I understand that flights can be cancelled, but isn’t it logical to post it rather than keeping your customers in the dark? I asked him what my options were. He snapped back “That’s what I’m checking, but you won’t be flying today.” At this same time, a pair of middle aged women were waiting for a hotel voucher since they didn’t live here in Oklahoma City. He basically tossed the voucher at them. They asked him where did they go. He said downstairs to the shuttles. So, they had to ask which shuttle. What was the hotel where they were going to stay. He snapped at them “Crowne Plaza” in a tone that basically was telling them this was a stupid question.
So, now he was back to us. I told him what the reason for our travel was, and the personal implications of not being able to take the trip. He never even looked up and acknowledged my comment. It was obvious he didn’t care. When he FINALLY gave us our options, or really lack thereof, my group and I were discussing what to do. We were deciding whether to just cancel or not. He butted in and said “So, you want me to cancel?” This was the FIRST time he showed any interest in accommodating us - and that was to simply cancel our business. Having had enough of the treatment he was giving us, we asked to see a supervisor. He snapped back “I AM the supervisor”. That’s when I decided my best option was to just cancel and to take his name for reference in this letter. His name is Eric C. Hobbs.
So, now we were going to be refunded. So, I advised him we had a pre-paid rental car, parking costs that were now an unneeded expense etc. I asked him if Frontier would be willing to reimburse any of this since this was not a weather related problem, but rather one of aircraft maintenance (which I still don’t know is true since I’ve yet to be told why my flight was cancelled). He looked at me and said “No.” No explanation. No apology. Nothing yet again. He then ran the refund. He told me “You’ll get the refund in six to seven weeks.” I asked why so long? Our credit card was charged immediately. He said that’s the way it is and there’s nothing we could do. So, I asked for a printed confirmation of the refund. He just looked at me. I told him I needed a printed confirmation in case there were questions about the cancellation later. He basically just huffed and walked away to the back. He was gone over six minutes (yes, I was timing the situation now since I was in line over four hours). While he was gone, I mentioned to the representative at the station next to him that she really needed a different supervisor. She commented “We get that a lot. I’m so sorry.” FINALLY AN APOLOGY!! I was shocked! I’m not sharing her name because I don’t trust your supervisor to not go after her. That’s the attitude he exudes. But, when an employee recognizes that her supervisor is giving inferior service, there’s a problem. When Mr. Hobbs finally came back, he basically tossed the refund confirmation at me and yelled over my shoulder before I had even stepped away “NEXT!” It was obvious he was done with me. So, I left.
Now, let me add here that at no time in our four hours of waiting was any announcement ever made to the crowd of people why the flight was cancelled, what the staff was doing or anything. The only information that was being shared was word of mouth among passengers. They were capable of making announcements because at one point they did come over the loudspeaker and ask if there was anybody else in line for the flight to Houston. But, never an acknowledgement of any kind about the Denver flight. NEVER.
After Mr. Hobbs had basically dismissed us, my group walked away in rather a state of shock at how we had been treated. I was dumbfounded. Now, I understand things happen. I understand that airplanes are a machine that can have mechanical failures no matter how top-notch the routine maintenance may be. I understand there were a lot of people to accommodate. But, I don’t understand the total lack of communication, the failure to notify passengers waiting at the gate that the flight was cancelled, and the absolute rudeness, and actually disdain, with which we were treated by a member of your management.
When I arrived back home, I called your customer relations department and spoke with Erin. I explained all of this to Erin and she did exactly what I would expect. She genuinely apologized. She explained the six to seven weeks for the refund was not Frontier. They would process within 7-10 days, but it may take our credit card one or two billing cycles to post it. A perfectly reasonable explanation. She acknowledged my disappointment that our family plans had to be cancelled. And she offered in way of compensation a $25 voucher for each of us because of the way we were treated. I didn’t expect compensation (because in all honesty I’m not sure I’d be willing to risk travel plans with Frontier again), but she did make me feel like I was a valued customer and that she wanted to provide me with service. I’m thinking perhaps Erin should be a supervisor and Mr. Hobbs should be a person behind the scenes where he never comes in contact with the public.
Again, I want to reiterate to you that my complaint is not in the fact that our flight was cancelled (although it would be nice to know why). I know these things happen and your staff had no control over it. But, the lack of communication, the excessive wait in line and the way we were treated once we reached the counter were ALL within Mr. Hobbs control, and he took no positive action on any of these. In fact, he was more of a hindrance to your airline’s reputation than a help.
Confirmation Number *****
Cc: Mr. Sean E. Menke, CEO Frontier Airlines, Inc.