Frontier Airlines Promises a Better Year Ahead for Customers

A spokesman for Frontier Airlines says that the airline is still investigating the root causes of the carrier's “meltdown” that led to thousands of passengers experiencing delays or canceled flights over the weekend of December 16.

“First, we would like to apologize to our customers whose travel plans were impacted by this operational disruption,” says spokesman Richard Oliver. “We are sorry for the delays and inconvenience it caused for many travelers.”

Oliver added that, through the investigation, the airline hopes to identify opportunities to prevent the same level of disruption from occurring again, including ways that it can reduce gate congestion.

“In addition, we continue to focus on improved customer-service training for our airport business deal with and handle irregular service situations at the airport,” Oliver says.

And yet, two weeks after Winter Storm Decima, which the airline says was larger than it had anticipated, Frontier continues to face fallout from the problems it caused — including the ire of customers on social media.

In a letter sent last Wednesday, the head of Frontier's Pilot Union, Brian Ketchum, compared the airline to a “house of cards.”

“Our airline was painfully exposed as an ultra-low-cost carrier whose business model might be compared to a ‘house of cards,’ incurring an operational meltdown and virtual collapse in the face of weather conditions that other airlines were able to overcome and that are par for the course this time of year,” Ketchum wrote.

In response, Frontier's Oliver said, “We continue to be disappointed the union took this opportunity to make these statements. Comments from the pilots' union comparing the airline to a 'house of cards' are unfounded in nature and untrue. However, this rhetoric is commonplace in airlines which are going through contract negotiations with their pilot group.”

But Frontier hit another snag when Frontier's vice president of customer experience, Deborah Price, resigned unexpectedly, leading some to speculate that her departure had to do with Frontier's meltdown.

Oliver says that Price's decision to leave Frontier was personal in nature. “[It] came before the operational issues that were experienced in Denver. Her departure is unrelated to these issues.”

The focus right now, he says, is improving training and service so that the airline can "better respond to future events if they arise while being able to better serve our passengers on a day-to-day basis."
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Chris Walker is a freelancer and former staff writer at Westword. Before moving to the Mile High City he spent two years bicycling across Eurasia, during which he wrote feature stories for VICE, NPR, Forbes, and The Atlantic. Read more of Chris's feature work and view his portfolio here.
Contact: Chris Walker