Is Frontier Airlines a beneficiary of the pandemic?
Last fall my little brother, who has been battling cancer, was rushed to the hospital by ambulance. His caregiver called the family to tell us that he only had a few days to live. My 83-year-old aunt had been helping support him during his illness and was unable to travel to see him. My other brother also had health problems and was unable to make the trip. I am 63 years old and I was fired a couple of years ago. Finding a high paying job when you are over 60 is difficult. I drive Uber to make ends meet, so my budget is very limited. He’s my brother, so I made an emergency trip to Ohio to see him one last time and represent the family. It took a while and he passed away on November 10, 2020.
My sister in law called in January. I wanted to have a birthday party for my aunt, who would turn 84 on May 1. Although I hadn’t paid for the trip to see my brother, I agreed to fly back to Ohio for his party. At 83, we don’t know how long he will be with us. Life is very uncertain during a pandemic and she belongs to a very high risk group. The reunion would give us the opportunity to celebrate his life and mourn my brother.
I buy a ticket on Frontier Airlines on January 11, 2020.
I was hoping to only stay 1 day for the party, but had to book 3 days to get the least expensive ticket. I couldn’t drive for Uber in those days. It would affect my income a lot that week. My loss of income along with the cost of the trip would be more than $ 1000, but family is important. It would be good to see them again.
Reports began pouring in from China about the Corona virus. They had locked up 500 million people, more than the entire population of the United States. On January 31, President Trump blocked travel from China. The news got progressively worse and I began to worry about traveling on a plane with a highly contagious disease that was ravaging the country.
On February 27, Frontier warned me that they were canceling my original reservation presumably because they didn’t have enough passengers to make the flight. They wanted to reschedule my flights. I called to tell them that I did not want to make the change. I wanted to wait and see if I could schedule a shorter trip so I wouldn’t miss 3 days of work. Frontier said they would issue a voucher valid for 90 days so that you could reschedule it later.
The first American citizen died from the Corona virus on February 29. The infection was spreading rapidly. I thought it would be safe to wait to reschedule. On March 17, the governor of California announced a stay-at-home order. Other states across the country were quick to announce their own stay-at-home requests. Frontier finally stopped flying completely during the month of April. I couldn’t reschedule my flight even if I wanted to.
On April 3, the Department of Transportation ruled that airlines must reimburse customers if their flights were canceled. Many airlines were not in compliance, so the DOT issued another warning on May 12, 2020. This was unprecedented.
I haven’t worked since March 17th. The government has said that workers like me could get $ 600 a week, but that has not happened. I have had no income except the $ 1200 stimulus check for 3 months. I contacted Frontier and asked them to reimburse me for my $ 336. They have not provided any services and were unable to do so because they were not flying when my flight was scheduled.
Frontier has refused. Not only will they not refund my money, I only have until June 2 to schedule a flight with them or I will lose my money. They will be able to keep $ 336 for doing nothing at all.
Is Frontier Profiting From The Pandemic? He would definitely have made the trip if there hadn’t been a highly infectious pandemic. They were closed in April, it was impossible for me to even use their services if I wanted to. I feel like I should be entitled to a refund. Their representative, Lulu Zaldivar, tells me that they will not refund my money. They claim that although they canceled my original flight and attempted to reschedule it, it was I who canceled the flight and I am not eligible for a refund as ordered by the Department of Transportation.
Do you think this is fair?
Frontier Airlines at (801) 401-9000
About the author: David Berger is a 63-year-old Uber driver. He lives in San Diego, California, and has had no income since the California stay-at-home order on March 17.