The little girl vomited into a crumpled plastic Walmart bag. Her scraggly hair was tucked into a “Happy New Year!” headband, making her look like she had stayed up too late partying and woken up, surprised, in the terminal.
“Poor thing!” I thought as I boarded my flight. “She’s sick and probably just wants to be at home.” I wondered if I had any medication in my travel stash that would help. Nope, just Imodium, which wouldn’t do her much good.
Later I watched the little girl, two sisters and her concerned dad wrestle their bags to the back of the Frontier Airlines plane.
Shortly before take-off, a flight attendant sprinted from the back to the front. Soon, the copilot rushed past to talk to the girl’s father. After a flurry of activity, an anonymous intercom voice announced the Frontier crew was waiting for clearance from a doctor to fly with the sick child on board. After about a half an hour of waiting, we were cleared to go.
Until… they announced a maintenance issue that delayed us further. In all, we left an hour and 35 minutes late. I worried about missing our flight to Tulsa, but the flight attendant assured me we would be rebooked in Denver. I wasn’t too worried, since we were flying into Frontier’s hub city.
It wasn’t as simple as I thought. We waited in the customer service line for more than an hour. When we spoke to the representative, she told us Frontier couldn’t get us to Tulsa for 3 days! Every single flight was full, with long lists of standby passengers.
Frontier told us they could put us on a flight four hours later to Oklahoma City, 150 miles from home, but they would not help pay for a rental car. No meal tickets for the airport either.
The reason Frontier would not take responsibility for the missed connection was because they said the problem was “medical” (remember the sick little girl?) and out of their control. They neglected to remember the maintenance part of the problem. Without that, we might have made our Tulsa flight.
Instead of flying to OKC, we opted to fly to Dallas, where we knew our friends Adam and Emily were driving to our hometown on the next day. We stayed in a hotel, at our own expense, though with a discounted “distressed passenger” rate.
Now, here I sit in a Dallas hotel, 350 miles from home, waiting to catch our ride. In retrospect, we should have taken the flight to OKC and just paid for the rental car. Flying to Dallas was less money out of my pocket, but if I had gone the more expensive route, at least I would have been home today. My time is worth more than the rental car. I was just upset about paying for a flight that wouldn’t even get me home.
I was really disappointed in Frontier. Because they are a small airline, they have no partner agreements with other airline who might have been able to get us to Tulsa.
The icing on the cake was that only two of our pieces of luggage made it with us. The other, a fragile painting from my dad went to Tulsa without me. I have no idea what condition it is in.
**UPDATED: After tweeting the problem last night, I was contacted by a Frontier Airlines representative. We’ll see what happens.**
***Fly Frontier contacted me last night (1/4). “Truly sorry 4 ur experience. Policy doesn’t cover uncontrollable delays (medical, deicing) but will send $25 coupons 2 u & travel companion.”
Pretty darn generous of them, no? Considering the extra day, the hotel, the meals out, the gas for the car… They are using the medical delay as an excuse for the longer maintenance issue.
C’mon, guys. This isn’t the way to get out of bankruptcy! Treat your customers well!
DON’T FLY FRONTIER AIRLINES if you want to get where you are going.