CLEVELAND — It’s that time of year when you start thinking about holiday travel. COVID-19 has cut air travel dramatically and customers are still having problems with flights booked months ago. Now, 5 On Your Side Investigators dig into complaints about Frontier Airlines, a call for an investigation, and what the company’s response is today.
We did a story in August about helping a woman get her flier miles back from Frontier Airlines during this pandemic. The response from that one story was huge. We had people from our area and around the country asking for our help.
“If it wasn’t for that story, I would still think my credit was good through September,” said Robyn Marcs from Lyndhurst who saw our report.
She usually meets up in Las Vegas with her friend to check out national parks and maybe see a Cleveland Indians game. Our story made her check her credit from a COVID-related cancellation with Frontier in the spring but was told it expired.
“They were just so uncaring and so unfeeling,” said Marcs. “It’s like, ‘Well, she didn’t want risk getting COVID-19. That’s not our problem!’”
“I have flown Frontier Airlines for years,” said Heather Jenkins from Akron. She had a couple of trips planned last spring. She canceled the flights, got vouchers, but was then told later they had expired.
“They’re just reading from a script,” said Jenkins. “They didn’t care about the situation. They didn’t care about COVID. And when I finally did get to a supervisor, again, she was reading from a script.”
And add Madeline Rodriguez from Brookpark to the complaint list. Because of COVID, she canceled the trip to Florida she planned with her daughter and grandkids. She was out about $1800.
“I see in the news where some other people are going through the same things…and they’re very frustrated also,” said Rodriguez.
In fact, our newsroom was flooded with Frontier complaints from people in states like New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and many more all claiming problems with the company.
Frontier Airlines is based in Colorado. The attorney general there just this month called for a federal Department of Transportation investigation into Frontier. His office received more than 100 complaints from his state and 29 others.
The AG claims Frontier failed to provide refunds and customers were “frequently disconnected mid-call.”
“I was waiting for like 20 minutes on the phone. Click,” said Jenkins. “I kept getting disconnected.”
Plus, the Colorado AG said Frontier “…must be held accountable for deceptive and unfair conduct.”
We contacted Frontier. Here’s the company’s statement:
“Throughout the pandemic, Frontier Airlines has acted in good faith to care for our passengers compassionately and fairly. At all times we have remained in full compliance with DOT rules and regulations governing flight changes, cancellations and refunds. We strongly dispute any suggestion to the contrary.”
A U.S. Department of Transportation spokesperson told us this about the Colorado AG’s claims: “The Department is reviewing this letter and will respond accordingly.”
Meanwhile, during the pandemic, the U.S. Treasury Department reports Frontier Airlines was cleared to accept more than $200 million in taxpayer money. Some customers are not happy about that.
“What really frustrates me is that if they’re getting any government assistance with any bailout money or with loans, how dare they take a dime of that,” said Jenkins.
“They got some money to help them. Why can’t you help me?” asked Rodriguez.
Well, help is one the way. The day we interviewed Jenkins, she was contacted by Frontier. And the company said Rodriguez and Marc are getting extensions on their travel credit.