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  • Sam Darling

Frontier Airlines is terrible

This is a public shaming. My friend has a genetic disorder and experienced the worst possible customer service when she flew Frontier Airlines. Consider this your warning to never fly with Frontier. Tell your friends: Frontier Airlines is the worst.

Frontier logo

My friend has EhlersDanlos Syndrome which causes all sorts of problems, including fainting, blood pressure, and hydration issues. She has tremors similar to a Parkinson’s or MS patient. She’s thankfully strong enough to travel with her partner and their young child, and while she has that window of opportunity, she travels a lot. She’s a seasoned flyer and knows exactly how to take care of her needs. She’s worked with many airlines to accommodate her basic need for a wheelchair and some assistance at the gates.

frontier airlines

Saturday, Jan 3

Attempting to travel from Mexico to Denver with Hawai’i as their final destination.

Delayed due to weather

Delayed due to mechanical issue

Canceled due to mechanical issue

Each time, she was expected to wheel herself to the gate, her husband carrying bags and assisting their child. The armrest chair was broken and the wheels were sticking. She asked for a different chair but was denied despite seeing other chairs available within view. By the end of the long day her hands were bleeding from the screw sticking out of the armrest. They were given no food, water, or vouchers. In fact, they learned that Frontier was lying to them about putting them on other flights once the original flight was cancelled. They missed a connection, their flights nullified, and Frontier made no effort to put them on a new flight. They were stranded in Mexico until they paid for their own return.

Sunday, 4 Jan

On their newly booked flight they were again given a wheelchair and subsequently ignored. They were even fobbed off on the copilot rather than the airline supervisor when they asked to speak with someone in charge. The copilot listened to their experience and suggested they pursue legal action.

Unfortunately, due to further delays, they had to rush to the gate once their new flight was finally ready to depart Mexico. Even here they were stymied by a lack of wheelchair assistance and no chair lift, despite assurances that they would get assistance boarding. There were two other handicapped people trying to board and they were also struggling to get up the stairs, one with a leg injury and another a lady with a knee-scooter. They were all made to hop up the stairs. Frontier did not offer to help with the handicapped or injured travelers or even assist with luggage. They were told, “Either take the steps or don’t get on.”


airplane stairs

Once on the flight, they were not offered water, instead they were told they could purchase water.

The following flight connection in Denver was cancelled due to crew fatigue and no replacement crew. They had to figure out on their own how to get from Denver to Hawai’i.

At this point, my friend’s fatigue was so severe she had to lie down on the floor of the airport and drifted in and out of consciousness. While her partner rushed from gate-to-gate trying to find them a connecting flight, her six-year old daughter stayed to supervise her medical condition. Frontier staff took notice long enough to offer a blanket, but although she said yes, the blanket never came.

Monday, 5 Jan

They managed to get themselves on a flight connecting via Los Angeles. In Denver, they were given some vouchers for taxi, food, and hotel where they spent the night. They were assured they’d have no trouble making the tight connection from the new flight in Los Angeles to Hawai’i. They were told they would not have to clear security and that the connection gate was across the way. As you can guess, none of this information was accurate. They rushed through security and managed to make their connecting flight by mere moments.

Once home, my friend tried to pursue the matter but was told over and over that since most of the problems stemmed in Mexico it was a local problem and Frontier was not responsible. This is absurd. They spent days on the phone getting passed around. In fact, Frontier Airlines lists no disability representative on their website, which may actually be against the laws that are part of ACA – American Air Carrier Act. Repeated attempts to get help have been met with references to the customer service web page.

My friend needed a full week to recover from this atrocious experience and wants to spread the word so other disabled people don’t endure a flight with Frontier. In fact, it sounds like everyone should avoid this terrible company.

11 March 2015 UPDATE

Journalist David M. Perry has picked up this story and is hoping to write more about it for The Atlantic (online). The Department of Transportation has contacted my friend regarding the legality of the situation and it is under investigation.

Meanwhile, Frontier Airlines took many days to get back to my friend regarding this situation and only after this blog post attracted their attention. Frontier offered her vouchers as recompense so that she could fly with them for free on a future flight. She has refused to take their vouchers as she would never risk traveling with them again.

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