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Frontier Airlines Still Recovering from Weekend Weather Delays

Frontier Airlines is still recovering from a winter storm in Denver that had a ripple effect on many of the company’s flights, stranding travelers across the country.

A foot of snow fell in Denver last weekend, forcing hundreds of flight cancellations and delays that stranded travelers. The weekend storm affected the airline more than others because Denver International Airport is Frontier’s hub and its largest operation.

Lines at ticket counters still continue to take longer than normal because agents are handling rebookings, answering questions and dealing with other issues from the irregular operations.

The impact has also been felt at Trenton-Mercer Airport in Ewing, where some flights to and from the airport have been canceled as recently as today.

On Tuesday, a full flight from Trenton-Mercer to Tampa was canceled after it was delayed for several hours. Passengers sat on the plane with the crew waiting for pilots to arrive, but the pilots never did. A flight to Trenton-Mercer from Palm Beach was also canceled Wednesday afternoon.

Passengers on the Tampa flight were told the next flight they could be booked on was the Dec. 27 flight. For many, such a delay meant they would miss the Christmas visit they had planned. Some people were able to book last-minute flights to Tampa on other airlines like Jet Blue, paying more than $300 a ticket for the one-way trip.

Today, 13 Frontier flights have been canceled so far and 84 have been delayed, which is 27 percent of all Frontier flights and the highest percentage of any airline, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware. Over the past 24 hours, the airline has canceled 18 flights, according to FlightAware.

Frontier does not have interline agreements with other domestic airlines, so if you get delayed, you can fly only one of their own later flights. Anyone who wants a refund is being given one if their flight is canceled.

In some cases since Friday, a plane was available but the airline had no crew available to fly it. In one case, a Denver-based crew was scheduled to fly from Las Vegas to Cleveland, but the crew couldn’t get to Las Vegas so the flight was canceled. Airline crews have limits on the amount of time they can fly. Many crews and pilots  timed out and were unable to continue flying. The union for Frontier pilots blamed the situation on poor management, not the weather.

“While weather conditions made operations for all airlines at Denver International Airport more challenging last weekend, this most recent meltdown by Frontier Airlines is due to the same executive mismanagement and misplaced focus on cost-cutting that has placed Frontier near the very bottom of the industry in operational performance and customer satisfaction. Leaving passengers and even their own cockpit and cabin crews stranded for hours without information is outrageous––even more so when this quarter was one of the airline’s most profitable ever financially,” Capt. Brian Ketchum, head of the Frontier unit of the Air Line Pilots Association said in a statement about the cancellations and delays.

“Frontier’s private investors, led by William Franke and Indigo Partners, must decide whether they want to run a reliable airline or loot it. If it’s the former, they must invest in the infrastructure and Frontier employees who are trying to succeed without corporate support,” Ketchum said.

The company has apologized for the delays. Many customers have vented their frustrations on social media, with some using the hashtag #dontflyfrontier.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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