There was a time when I hailed Frontier Airlines as an “adorable”, “fun” and “caring” airline. Seriously. That feels like an eternity ago.
Let me preface this post by saying that a few years ago (2009 to be exact), I was delighted by this airline. They used to serve warm cookies to passengers on some flights. They have cute woodland creatures painted on the side of their aircrafts. An all around upstanding airline.
I flew Frontier last week to attend a funeral. Life happens sometimes, and you have to buy tickets two days in advance for something completely out of your hands. When you’re a hard working, self employed mid-twenties girl, I don’t think it’s completely out of the question to book your last minute flight on a price comparison website like Kayak or Orbitz. I did it, you’d probably do it, and generally, it wouldn’t be a problem.
Except that Frontier has decided to start penalizing customers for not booking on their personal website. First of all, they have a new bag fee policy. For carry-on bags. You heard me right – Frontier now charges for CARRY ON BAGS, unless you book on their website. This means that if you book on a third party website (like most do), you’re either checking that carryon-bag at the front desk for $25, shelling out $50 at check-in to keep it with you, or being charged A HUNDRED BIG ONES if you don’t quite understand what’s going on and show up at the gate with your bag.
Being that this new policy only went into place on August 6th of 2013, I’m not surprised Frontier passengers are being charged $100 left and right for bags they previously were able to simple walk on a flight with. That they still can walk on a flight with, on any other sensible airline.
Can we stop for a moment and talk about how the CEO of Frontier David Siegel claimed, “we could do a lot of things for free, but we want to stay in business” – and this was his answer? Instead of addressing the overhead bin issues by… I don’t know, enforcing your own bag size regulations, you’re just going to charge all passengers an arm and a leg to bring anything with them on the plane? And then charge for drinks as well, while you’re at it? Oh, excuse me, sorry. A glass of room temperature water is still complimentary. My mistake. How kind of you.
I understand the airline business is hard. Fuel prices are exorbitantly high and companies need to find a way to keep up. But if this is the policy you think is going to keep customers coming back for more, then fine. Have at it. I’m not going to try to tell you how to run your business, I just wont patronize it anymore.
Let me be clear here: after all this, my biggest problem with Frontier (and the reason for this blog post) was their attitude.
First of all, they have a 45 minute cutoff for checking in. If you don’t check in 45 minutes before the plane is set to take off, you don’t get on the plane. Harsh, but I understand. But the employees working at the check-in counter openly and loudly MOCKED those of us in line when the minutes counted down to that time. “Next time you should get here a lot earlier,” they jeered. “We don’t even have to let you on this flight,” they continued, high on the power, until one rather uncomfortable employee leaned over and said “the pilot and crew aren’t even here yet. Keep checking people in, it’s not a big deal.”
Not to mention I had been in line for over 40 minutes and the delay was genuinely in how slowly the employees were checking all of us in. When I finally got to the front, a check-in that should have taken less than five minutes took at least ten because the particular employee used half the time to lecture me on how I should have checked in online, and when I told her that A) I was traveling for a funeral so flight check-ins weren’t really at the front of my mind and B) there were plenty of people behind me waiting to get on the same flight so we should maybe hurry the transaction up a bit – she snapped at me about my attitude problem.
I have never been so completely disappointed with a travel experience. My mom works in the travel industry and has since I was a baby, so I pride myself in not being an overly critical passenger – because I understand how this industry works. But I have never felt so condescended, taken advantage of, and thoroughly unappreciated by a company in my whole life.
Clearly I’m not alone, as I came home to find an entire twitter account dedicated to spreading the word about Frontier’s terrible lack of decency when it comes to customer service. Reading through this feed made me realize that I actually got off pretty easy, which is disheartening.
I know everyone has their travel nightmare stories and that it’s a natural part of flying that every once in awhile you have to deal with a delay or a lost bag or something, but this trend with Frontier is unacceptable. We shouldn’t be punished for flying. We should take our business elsewhere. Let me know your experiences down below – and tell your friends/family not to take this airline if you can avoid it at all.