Frontier Airlines Completely Eliminates Telephone Customer Service

Airline call center hold times often got long before the pandemic, one of the more popular features I’ve covered is ways around long hold times – like calling American Airlines foreign call centers, or ringing up Delta’s close-in travel hotline.

But you can always wait – whether it’s an hour, five hours or 40 hours – to reach an agent to help sort out a problem with your ticket, when your flight is cancelled or maybe your reservation just didn’t get ticketed properly. Always, at least, except at Frontier Airlines which has just eliminated telephone customer service.

Their old customer service line – (801) 401-9000 – wasn’t even an 800 number. They weren’t going to pay the cost of your call. That was fair. Perhaps they didn’t think it would go over well to charge for ‘premium support’ to speak with an agent.

Here’s what you get when you dial now:

We offer the lowest fares in the industry by operating our airlines as efficiently as possible. We want our customers to operate efficiently as well, which is why we make it easy to find what you need at FlyFrontier.com or on our mobile app. We also have a chat service.

Spirit Airlines used to proudly declare that their twitter feed was unmonitored – why provide customer service there, it’s expensive, and less investment in the customer experience was how they delivered their cheap, bare bones product. But they never eliminated customer service entirely.

According to the airline,

We have found that most customers prefer communicating via digital channels,” the discount carrier said. “Customers can visit our website and interact initially with a chatbot that provides answers to common questions. If live agent support is needed, we have live chat available 24 hours a day / 7 days a week. Customers may also chat with us via common social media channels and Whatsapp.

This. Is. Insane. There are plenty of things that could be done online, or through the airline’s mobile app. And if you want to fly Frontier it’s not nuts for them to expect the burden to be on the customer to use the least-costly means of interacting with them. They already set up their fees in a way to encourage online check-in, prepayment of bags before getting to the airport, etc.

However they have customers that simply aren’t going to be able to interact that way. Indeed, I wonder whether removing this channel of customer service will comply with the Air Carrier Access Act (though I haven’t tested the accessibility of their website and mobile app).

At a minimum there needs to be a way to escalate problems beyond online chat when the airline itself screws up. Require most customer service to go through their designated channels, but don’t make it a frustrating experience when the reason a passenger seeks help is because of a problem caused by Frontier.

Ultimately the low cost model means paying less for your ticket but paying more in time and potential frustration. At some level, that’s more than fair. Just update your priors about what it means to fly this low cost carrier or really any Bill Franke airline. (Remember this?)

(HT: JonNYC)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Just another reason not to fly Frontier. I wonder if this runs a phone of consumer protection laws in some states. As for the chat bots, I have never, ever gotten the answer I needed from a chat bot.

  2. The most comical thing about this is that if you try to ‘chat’ with a ghost, er I mean agent, the chat session disconnects EVERY TIME your screen goes dark while you wait! Then it tries to reconnect, presumably placing you at the back of the line again. I’ve been sending DOT complaints about every schedule change because it’s the only way to reach a human at Frontier now. Hopefully the skyrocketing complaints forces them to reverse this stupid move.

  3. This airline will not be changing anything. They do not care about their customer. I’ve been trying for 10 months getting a reimbursement for a canceled flight. Email is really the only way now to communicate with them but the biggest problem with that is you get a different agent that asks you for the same info that you thought you had resolved. They assume everyone knows all the tech savy ways to send this or even understand some of the terms they use. It is very frustrating and they simply don’t care. I have asked the agent if I could provide the info they want by some other means and they simply tell me that how they want it done is policy and they are not going to change their stance. I’ve already used the chat and if you cannot get it resolved with the chatbot then you have to wait extremely long wait times before a live agent takes your message. They without a doubt have the worst customer service in the airline industry. The airline itself is not much better. If things go right, they do well BUT that rarely happens. I am 100k elite with free seats, bags and fees but this airline has cost me money in 2022. Their constant schedule changes and cancellations are ridiculous and I will not be trying for elite status again. Anyone who bought their “all you can fly plan” will quickly realize they made a huge mistake. Worst airline in the sky.

  4. Telephone customer support is inefficient, unproductive, and anachronistic. It won’t exist for much longer, and we’ll all be better off from its demise.

    I’ve been in support for twenty years. The people who call instead of emailing or chatting are almost universally lonely elderly folks who want to rent a grandkid or angry folks who will only be fulfilled if they’re able to hear the representative’s feelings being hurt. If you want things solved with minimal effort, you send an email.

  5. Alan – you are completely full of lying shit. You are obviously a liberal who , pre Musk, would have fit in perfectly working for Twitter. Do your ignorant self a favor and refrain from spewing your cry baby “woke” shit – no one with a brain believes anything you say here.

  6. David, the fact that you think customer support philosophy is related to politics is concerning. I don’t even know how to respond.

    What I can say is that the support industry is rapidly moving away from on- demand phone support and that includes upscale companies. This is not an anomaly.

  7. You don’t need it, you can do everything yourself on Company apps now a days … The only thing you cant do is bitch and whine you didn’t get your way … Ahh that’s it for the posters complaining.

  8. You can do most things online up to the point of getting a refund that they may actually owe you. That’s when it gets complicated and they’ve designed that specific part to be difficult on purpose.

    I hate calling places as much as they hate me calling them but when I need to call them it’s because they’ve made it really hard to get something done…like giving me my money back instead of keeping an 18 hour flight change they’ve made.

    Until they make things 100% self-service, there’s going to always been a need for phone agent.

  9. Frontier Airlines made another visionary leadership decision to eliminate customer service phone representatives. Astute C-suite management policies like this should help decrease the considerable passenger criticisms of staying on hold for over 18 hours to talk with a customer service agent regarding receiving a 90-day overdue refund for a canceled Frontier Airlines flight. Since you can not stay on hold because there is no phone number to call, Frontier Airlines may be the new thought leader in exceptional passenger customer service.

  10. I needed to cancel a fight that couldn’t be cancelled online and the website referred me to the phone number. The phone number referred me to chat. I sat on hold with chat for 49 hours before getting a resolution to my problem. I even drove to the airport to talk to a human but they weren’t even able to help me there. I used to think Frontier was worth it but with this change I will never fly with them again.

  11. As screwed up as Frontier is they should be ADDING help to deal with customer issues. This ranks up there with defunding the police as far as being stupid goes. This airline DESERVES to go under.

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