Another Domino Falls – Frontier
It is amazing that they are in a race with Spirit.
In yet another step toward an entirely fee-dependent business model, Frontier Airlines announced last Monday that it will start charging passengers for carry-on bags in the overhead bins and reserving seats in advance.
Frontier was purchased last December by an equity firm called Indigo Partners, the same company that are big investors in low cost carriers Spirit, Tiger Airways and Wizz Air. The company’s new president, Barry Biffle, spent almost nine years as the Chief Marketing Officer of Spirit. That should tell you something.
If Spirit’s fee-ridden track record is any indication, Frontier might just be headed in an all-fee direction.
William Franke of Indigo, new owners of Frontier, believes that there is a very large percentage of potential travellers who feel “disenfranchised” -that air fares are too high and so they choose not to fly.
The changes since the Indigo purchase are brutal. If you think this is as bad as it gets, you’re wrong. Read some of our Spirit horror stories, or give them a try yourself. This is where Frontier is headed.
These two would make powerful merger partners in the future, particularly now that it appears they’ll have basically the exact same business model.
Frontier’s leadership likes to compare itself to Target, by giving customers ‘value’. Except Target doesn’t nickel and dime its clientele.
Change is NOT Good
It’s sad to see these changes. An email was sent out April 28th to Frontier’s frequent flyers, (ironically titled “Change is Good. We’ve lowered our fares”), but then goes on to describe $25 charges for carry-ons. A carbon copy of Spirit right down to the $9 fare club, called Discount Den (a rose by any other name…).
How long before Frontier takes the next step of ripping out stretch seating and reducing the seat pitch from 30-31 down to 28 just like Spirit to cram as many seats in as possible?
Can you believe Frontier is the ancestor of Midwest Express? An airline which distanced itself for so long by providing extras you’d never expect in a coach cabin.
You can’t help but feel bad for Frontier’s customer service employees and flight attendants who will bear the brunt of the negative feedback from long-time loyalists who will likely be leaving in droves. Check out the negative complaints on their Facebook page.
Fare thee well Frontier…you were a good airline.
Feedback of the Week!
(In response to last week’s newsletter: JetBlues)
When I read the Flyers Rights newsletter I just cringe at what some people experience. It seems you lump all airlines into one horrible group. Not all air carriers are the same and I would hope you would recognize that there is at least one good one.
I live in Alaska and have a vacation home in Arizona which I fly to several times a year. I fly Alaska Airlines and on the rare occasion when I have had a problem they have always come through with a remedy that has been more than fair. They give Alaska residents two free bags and for all passengers if your luggage is not at baggage claim within 20 minutes of your plane’s arrival at the gate, you get a $25 Discount to use on a future Alaska Airlines flight or 2,500 Alaska Airlines Miles. They also offer free juice or soft drinks in flight. Apparently they are the last airline still offering customer service.
Besides Alaska Air we have Delta, American, Jet Blue, US Air and United that fly to US cities from Anchorage. Some airlines offer seasonal flights.
I fly Alaska Air because I feel they care about their passengers, I’m a mileage plan member and they have competitive rates. They have direct flights to several Hawaiian cities (gotta get out of here in the winter) and have seasonal direct flights to Phoenix where I have a vacation home. They offer convenient flights to Seattle, (almost hourly) with connections to all over the country. They guarantee your luggage will be at baggage claim in 20 minutes and they almost always beat that. They take care of their Alaskan customers with Club 49 for residents of Alaska; two free bags when flying to from or within Alaska and offers special discounts.
I have had a couple minor problems when flying Alaska Air over the years but their customer service is tops. I email them and get back a response offering a credit or mileage plan miles. I’m impressed with their customer service.
I have no affiliation with Alaska Air. I’m a radio DJ and they rarely advertise with the station I work for. I appreciate what you do at Flyer Rights but occasionally I would like to see you write something positive about a company that is trying to do things right.
Can This Trip Be Saved?
I wanted to follow up regarding flight itinerary changes and how they effect passengers.
I have a job coming up and just found out that Delta has changed the itinerary on me. I am traveling for Hilton Hotels to Myrtle Beach for a photo shoot. When I booked my flight I selected Delta for two reasons: they offer a media baggage rate and their planes could accommodate my equipment.
I found out today, 12 days before my trip, that they have switched the itinerary and we now leave earlier in the day and arrive later. But we are also now on Canadair metal. What does this mean? It means I can not get my camera gear on the plane because the overhead bins are too small. It also now means I’m on a Delta Express flight which means I can not check as many bags. I have to be able to check 12 bags and I have to get my cameras on the plane.
I am utterly frustrated. I paid extra for the metal I booked and to now be switched to a different metal really messes up this job. And at 12 days before the trip I doubt my client will want to pay to change carriers.
Thanks for listening,
Contact them again, mention that you are a FlyersRights.org member and you want compensation for the extra charges you paid originally.
File a complaint with DOT’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division (ACPD). You can call, write or use their web form. Send a copy to FlyersRights.
Or, phone the ACPD 24 hours a day at 202-366-2220 (TTY 202-366-0511) to record your complaint. Calls are returned Monday through Friday, generally between 7:30 am and 5:00 pm Eastern time.
Or, write a letter to:Aviation Consumer Protection Division, C-75
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20590
These complaints are reviewed to determine the extent to which carriers are in compliance with federal aviation consumer protection regulations.
Usually filing a complaint results in a the airline emailing you with an offer of a voucher for future travel.
Dear FlyersRights: We changed our flight to a much earlier flight on Delta which I was able to find on a 727. Thank goodness. I know you like to get this type of info for reference material, so thought I’d share why it was so important to me that airlines not change itineraries once flights are sold.
I know for many travelers, the metal they fly isn’t as important as who tickets the flight. For us, the metal is imperative because of the baggage we check and fees associated plus allowances and bin sizes. We just returned from France. I booked 17 flights on a variety of airlines. We had four six flight itineraries changed by the airline, one flight cancelled altogether with no options offered of an alternate flight (Lufthansa pilot strike where they suggested the train as alternate means of transport from Charleston SC to Lyon France), and ended up paying double for baggage fees on BA because we had a 12 hour layover with a change of airport from Gatwick to Heathrow. When your baggage fees are $2500, paying double is pretty pricey!
Keep up the hard work,
We value your thoughts and opinions! Please send to Kendallc@FlyersRights.org.