Frontier gets hammered in latest airline quality study, finishes last in customer complaints

Categories: Business

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Photos and more below.
Despite sales and other changes in recent years, Frontier still likes to portray itself as Denver's hometown airline. But few will feel much hometown pride over the carrier's performance in the annual Airline Quality Rating study.

Frontier tumbled from the top ten (of fifteen total) in overall quality and finished dead last, by quite a margin, when it comes to customer complaints. Details, graphics and the complete document below.

Frontier's drop in the survey, conducted using 2013 data by academics at Wichita State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona, wasn't the most precipitous. That dishonor goes to AirTran, which fell from third to tenth place.

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However, Frontier tied for second-worst with American Eagle. Both airlines sunk by four in the rankings, with Frontier going from seventh place in the previous analysis to eleventh this time around.

Here's the list. Note that the parenthetical numbers show where each carrier finished in 2012.

1. Virgin America (1)
2. JetBlue (2)
3. Hawaiian (5)
4. Delta (4)
5. Alaska (6)
6. Endeavor (new to the rankings this year; formerly Pinnacle)
7. US Airways (9)
8. Southwest (8)
9. American (10)
10. AirTran (3)
11. Frontier (7)
12. United (14)
13. ExpressJet (13)
14. SkyWest (12)
15. American Eagle (11)

Graphically, Frontier's efforts look even less sky-high. The first image below compares 2013 scores to those from 2012....

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Click to enlarge.
...while the second offers a month-by-month contrast that's far from flattering:

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However, the customer complaint rankings are the most distressing.

Continue for more about the Airline Quality Rating and Frontier, including more images and the study itself.


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69 comments
Fred Kaplan
Fred Kaplan

The airlines have conditioned travelers to bad service. So this mean people are really upset.

Colton J Kuddes
Colton J Kuddes

Frontier is 100 times better than Spirit. Don't buy their in flight items and don't bring check bags and you are set!

Keane Stanley
Keane Stanley

Don't care much rather fly frontier than southwest.....I fly a lot, southwest sucks

Rob Jennings
Rob Jennings

I like Frontier. Always enjoy the flight from Denver to Ft. Lauderdale. Always pleasant.

Ron Henderson
Ron Henderson

Hey, My Dad worked for Frontier for 32 years, and we loved that company until Reagan fucked everything up by de-regulating!

Cheri Wyman
Cheri Wyman

Yes but almost all of the airlines are doing it now! I DO love that they are finally nabbing those customers who try to carry on a larger suitcase to avoid paying the $25 baggage fee! They are now charged $100 at the gate if they have to check the bag!

Jeremy Coss
Jeremy Coss

I worked for them and they wouldn't even send people home when there was a gas leak and paramedics were called for at least a dozen people.

Rick D. Bailey
Rick D. Bailey

I recently have had excellent experiences with Frontier. Across the board good service, but particularly two wonderful female pilots who were helpful to my wife regarding her fear of flying.

Robin Shaw
Robin Shaw

The carry-on baggage nazis need to give it a rest!

Phil Sisneros
Phil Sisneros

Frontier is awesome.! That is our issue these days.. People wanting to be catered way!!! Too much.. Come on they had tv and drink and grub.. And I just flew from Alburqueque to denver awesome flight.

Jay Cismaru
Jay Cismaru

Paying $25 per bag each way was the last straw for us

Justin Belmont
Justin Belmont

Yeah, when I learned they didn't offer a free beverage during flight I chose to never fly Frontier again.

Bradford Ashington
Bradford Ashington

with the trend in the industry towards even more mergers, eventually, there won't be another airline....stupid fucking cunt

Steve Paradise
Steve Paradise

these carriers buy old planes/with a lots of hours remember your encased by alm that is as thick as a dime.This is why I dont like to fly.

Alexandra Lesha Reeves Jones
Alexandra Lesha Reeves Jones

Southwest tells jokes and makes you feel like you are a part of the group. Frontier is like a gov experiment. Like there paying y ou to feel miserable. Sad. They have lost my luggage. and always always late. Thank goodness for choices.

Efrain Leal
Efrain Leal

I know! I was reading about that yesterday...

Barb Connor Perkins
Barb Connor Perkins

They just need to be nice .... Last time they held up boarding by making everyone put their carry ons in the sizer. Then yelled at us as we got on the plane to sit down quickly because we were causing a late departure. Really??

Melissa Haas
Melissa Haas

Truth. I have tried them repeatedly in hopes that they get better - Nope!

Erica Vaughn
Erica Vaughn

That's that's too bad I've had many good flight experiences with them in the past.

Joseph J. Straka III
Joseph J. Straka III

FA has declined significantly, given my frequent traveling, SINCE the purchase by Republic. That is fundamentally the fulcrum of change. This is highly disappointing to me as I had tendency to prefer FA.

Justin Scharton
Justin Scharton

Agreed, Frontier is garbage anymore. As a once loyal flier (once every two years) I would fly anyone else besides them.

thedawg
thedawg

I wonder how much of this has to do with their carry on bag fee they implemented in late summer of '13. We got dinged with a $100 fee for carry on bags (at the gate) because we booked through a third party travel web site which didn't mention the bag fee at all. Pretty sucky nickel and dime approach...

Ash Taylor
Ash Taylor

I always figured frontier/ spirit were the same, horrible

Sam Smith
Sam Smith

Where is spirit on this list? They suck!

Rosie Morales Pedraza
Rosie Morales Pedraza

I just flew with them over the weekend, and they charge $1.99 for a half a can of soda! They charge $3.99 for up to 2hours worth of television and $5.99 for 2-4 hrs. My flight was 2hrs 4min in which I paid $2.00 more for 4 minutes of television!!!

Dan Ruisi
Dan Ruisi

I would so much rather fly frontier than southwest. No elbows in the face to an aisle seat for me anymore.

Heather Quinby
Heather Quinby

Having just flown on Frontier, I'll agree. WTF is this shite about charging you for a drink. Bottom basement representation ... AND they pay more mind to selling their credit card than they do offering any service in flight. I'll be sticking to Southwest for cheap airfare.

Rebecca Repp
Rebecca Repp

But its cheap! I get great deals and fly with them every time. It does suck that you have to pay for anything but water but price to check a bag is pretty reasonable compared to spirit which charges $50 for your first bag.

Jon Graff
Jon Graff

That's because they SUCK! It's a tie for LAST PLACE with Spirit Airlines if you ask me. I understand they're all scrapping to stay profitable, but Frontier (and Spirit) have lost their way, and lost their understanding of any meaning around customer satisfaction. Someone has a stellar experience with a company, they tell two friends. Someone has the kind of experience(s) I've had with Frontier and Spirit, they tell 10!

Tom Smith
Tom Smith

Agreed. The nickeling and diming, along with how they hide it, is ridiculious.

Clayton Capra
Clayton Capra

I've flown them with little issues. The bag fees are annoying but most airlines have them and it's not that hard to bring your own pop.

A Chris Heismann
A Chris Heismann

Before everyone gets ragging on Frontier too badly, keep these points in mind: 1 - the TSA still generates more complaints per 100k passengers than any airline - and that's just the documented ones. 2 - Frontier is one of the only airlines to still have all inclusive ticket options - and usually at a better price than adding in all the surcharges on a lower fare price. 3 - even in their peak months, Frontiers rate of complaints against them still indicates 99.9% of passengers don't feel the need to complain to the government about them. Even if each of those complaints represents a hundred more people who didn't bother, that still gives Frontier an A grade in the typical grading system. Remember, even straight students generally have a ten percent margin for error.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Thanks for sharing your experiences, Joseph. Much appreciated.

Crankywhor3
Crankywhor3

Errr... once every 2 years??  You gotta fly more than once every 2 years to be considered "loyal", or even to be entitled to an informed opinion.  You have to fly a LOT more than that to get an idea of an airlines overall quality and performance.  It's kind of like eating pizza once every 2 years and then telling telling people my opinion of the current Denver pizza scene.  Sillyness.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@thedawg  Definitely a lot of debate about these kinds of fees. Thanks for posting, Dawg.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

It adds up, doesn't it? Thanks for posting, Rosie.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Very interesting perspective, A Chris. We're going to feature it as an upcoming Comment of the Day. Much appreciated.

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