Frontier Airlines Customer Service: “The PR Department Would Like You to Shut Up”

Frontier Airlines:  oh hi!  Thanks for monitoring this social media space. I recently wrote that I wanted you to take over the Frontier Airlines twitter account, and you responded (online, without sending me a message).

Interesting read.

I wasn’t sure how to break it to you, and please appreciate the blunt honesty, but your out of touch and doing it wrong (and on the cover of both magazines).

So the problem is that your brand is getting its ass kicked by people like myself that have had a bad experience, and received no response.  In my case, an employee lied to me as I tried to travel with a colleague causing me to leave six hours after I planed to.  I blogged about it, and only after 10,000 page views was contacted by the company.  By the PR department.

This is a problem.

Your PR department shouldn’t respond, your customer service department should. By the PR department responding, you are sending this message:

Dear Mr. Hyde:

Please shut the fuck up.

<3 Frontier.

Yeah, that doesn’t solve the problem.  My original experience has yet to be addressed by anyone outside the PR department.

No amount of social monitoring or PR response can get around that major flaw.

So now your company is coming out of bankruptcy, and you must make a choice: be open and honest about your customer service or don’t.  This has nothing to do with your PR department (which I think is understaffed and does a fine job).  Are you creating passionate users or getting passive and lazy?

Yes, I call not monitoring and responding to social media lazy.  I’ve personally spent over $5000 on plane tickets since the incident, with $0 going to Frontier.  The cost benefit is far in your favor, but you refuse to participate.  That is lazy.  Look at the comments in the original post I wrote.  Tens of thousands of $ is going to Southwest because their customer service has embraced social media, with their PR department.

When I wrote the post, I thought with about 99% odds that someone would say ‘sure, please transfer it over.’  They could have just pointed it at their automated feeds and been done with it.  Everyone is happy.

But that didn’t happen.  It didn’t fit into the PR plan.

So starting today the account will be used to repost people complaining about their bad experiences. Frontier has a serious problem, and that is they think social media monitoring is solely about brand control.

You don’t own your brand, your fans do.

No Frontier, I will not shut up.

  • andrewhyde

    The argument isn't against if the airlines can or cannot do standby.

    The argument is if they should have been honest and open about the changes, in which they were not.

  • andrewhyde

    Do you agree your experience was hardly egregious?
    No, but having policies changed in a hidden manner is.

    Do you agree that you missed the email?
    I never received any notification of the change. Other friends have also checked to find the same thing.

    Do you agree you got upset because Frontier didn't let you on for free?
    There was no option to pay, I tried. Because the ticket I had, I couldn't upgrade.

    Do you agree that Frontier's competitors have identical — or even more restrictive — policies for free standby flight?
    United does not, nor does JetBlue, or most international carriers.

    Do you agree that your personal inconvenience at the airport due to a misunderstanding of a policy is not really deserving of public outcry?
    I think that a major policy change by an airline that effects quite a few people should be done in an open and honest way, especially with the loyal fans.

    Do you agree its hardly an indictment of Frontier Airlines?

    Do you agree there's no evidence that Frontier engaged in some sort of systemic customer abuse?
    I remember having their phone lines busy for six days after the blizzrd of 05

    Do you agree that consumer critics in cases like this should draw the line and not launch a malicious multimonth campaign when it was clearly unwarranted?
    It clearly was. And we found out they have absolutely no customer service outreach online.

    Do you agree you'd be satisfied with an apology or a free beer?
    No. I said that in reference to a comment about me not reaching an agreement with me, my point was their was no outreach.

  • g

    “Why do they allow it then?”

    The fact that some airlines allow free standby on earlier flights doesn't mean that there are no real costs for them to provide that service.
    http://www.wallstreetfighter.com/2008/08/southw… described precisely what it would cost Southwest to provide those services. I also enumerated four real costs for airlines to provide the service in http://econsultancy.com/blog/3987-social-media-

    That's about the seventh time those URLs have been mentioned in the discussion. Do you have any commentary about the facts that are discussed there?

    Your statement that there are no real costs for the airlines in providing free standby to earlier flights was incorrect. Any assumptions/justifications in your argument based on that “fact” are invalid.

    You are very free in throwing out epithets in your comments. If you don't mind, I would prefer to discuss the facts. Do you have any commentary about those two articles?

  • andrewhyde

    Thanks for trolling Phil.

  • g

    The point, Andrew, is that your message is confusing.

    The message on frontierfail.com has always been confusing. Southwest Airlines doesn't offer free standby on earlier flights, either. If dropping that free service is a sign of a “downward spiral”, then why aren't you complaining about all airlines that don't have that service?

    Attacking one airline with a policy you don't like is a #FAIL. Criticizing the policy industry-wide would be a service.

    You can see a stark contrast between what Andrew Hyde has done here and what Jeremiah Oywang did in his blog post about hotels charging for WiFi access: http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2009/06/08/h
    He notes that he personally will avoid in the future the hotel that charged him for WiFi last weekend. But he hasn't launched a campaign against that hotel or the chain that hotel belongs to. Instead, he tells us about the practices of charging for WiFi in all of the hotel chains. He's looking at having a real and positive impact over the entire industry.

  • andrewhyde

    Thanks for trolling Phil!

  • g

    “Questions asked by a troll like yourself, yes I do ignore some of these.”

    By your own logic, that's a bit of a self-serving definition.

    You also ignored the commentary of Patricio Robles in http://econsultancy.com/blog/3987-social-media-…, who noted that your experience with Frontier Airlines was hardly egregious.

    I'd say that you ignore the questions/commentary that call your claims into question — no matter where they come from.

    You tweeted about the “Frontier Fail” blog entry on the exonsultancy.com blog, but you failed to tweet about the “social media and risk management” entry from the same blog: the first place where there was actually a discussion and debate about what happened back in November, and whether or not your response was appropriate. Why not? If your purpose is having your followers understand the issue, you'd be tweeting about all of the blog entries about it.

    Back in http://andrewhyde.net/spec-work-panel-at-sxsw/ , you admitted that some in your claims in your “ponzi scheme” blog entry may have been a bit childish:

    “The panel was organized by the folks at CrowdSpring, which, perhaps childishly, I have called evil and a ponzi scheme.”

    Perhaps it's time to admit the same thing may have happened in your interactions with the Colorado company Frontier Airlines.

  • andrewhyde

    Thanks for trolling Phil!

  • g

    “The argument isn't against if the airlines can or cannot do standby.”

    Then why did you bring it up? In the comments on this thread, you said:

    “There is no cost difference for flying on one plane or the next one. I didn't have a bag, the difference would be that one plane would be heavier by myself and my bag.”

    Airlines can indeed incur a cost difference for flying passengers free on an earlier flight. Both http://www.wallstreetfighter.com/2008/08/southw… and comments in http://econsultancy.com/blog/3987-social-media-… .

    “The argument is if they should have been honest and open about the changes, in which they were not.”

    The user 3G here noted that they did indeed tell customers about the change in their e-statement.

  • g

    “Why do they allow it then?”

    The fact that some airlines allow free standby on earlier flights doesn't mean that there are no real costs for them to provide that service.
    http://www.wallstreetfighter.com/2008/08/southw… described precisely what it would cost Southwest to provide those services. I also enumerated four real costs for airlines to provide the service in http://econsultancy.com/blog/3987-social-media-

    That's about the seventh time those URLs have been mentioned in the discussion. Do you have any commentary about the facts that are discussed there?

    Your statement that there are no real costs for the airlines in providing free standby to earlier flights was incorrect. Any assumptions/justifications in your argument based on that “fact” are invalid.

    You are very free in throwing out epithets in your comments. If you don't mind, I would prefer to discuss the facts. Do you have any commentary about those two articles?

  • andrewhyde

    Thanks for trolling Phil.

  • g

    The point, Andrew, is that your message is confusing.

    The message on frontierfail.com has always been confusing. Southwest Airlines doesn't offer free standby on earlier flights, either. If dropping that free service is a sign of a “downward spiral”, then why aren't you complaining about all airlines that don't have that service?

    Attacking one airline with a policy you don't like is a #FAIL. Criticizing the policy industry-wide would be a service.

    You can see a stark contrast between what Andrew Hyde has done here and what Jeremiah Oywang did in his blog post about hotels charging for WiFi access: http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2009/06/08/h
    He notes that he personally will avoid in the future the hotel that charged him for WiFi last weekend. But he hasn't launched a campaign against that hotel or the chain that hotel belongs to. Instead, he tells us about the practices of charging for WiFi in all of the hotel chains. He's looking at having a real and positive impact over the entire industry.

  • andrewhyde

    Thanks for trolling Phil!

  • g

    “Questions asked by a troll like yourself, yes I do ignore some of these.”

    By your own logic, that's a bit of a self-serving definition.

    You also ignored the commentary of Patricio Robles in http://econsultancy.com/blog/3987-social-media-…, who noted that your experience with Frontier Airlines was hardly egregious.

    I'd say that you ignore the questions/commentary that call your claims into question — no matter where they come from.

    You tweeted about the “Frontier Fail” blog entry on the exonsultancy.com blog, but you failed to tweet about the “social media and risk management” entry from the same blog: the first place where there was actually a discussion and debate about what happened back in November, and whether or not your response was appropriate. Why not? If your purpose is having your followers understand the issue, you'd be tweeting about all of the blog entries about it.

    Back in http://andrewhyde.net/spec-work-panel-at-sxsw/ , you admitted that some in your claims in your “ponzi scheme” blog entry may have been a bit childish:

    “The panel was organized by the folks at CrowdSpring, which, perhaps childishly, I have called evil and a ponzi scheme.”

    Perhaps it's time to admit the same thing may have happened in your interactions with the Colorado company Frontier Airlines.

  • andrewhyde

    Thanks for trolling Phil!

  • g

    “The argument isn't against if the airlines can or cannot do standby.”

    Then why did you bring it up? In the comments on this thread, you said:

    “There is no cost difference for flying on one plane or the next one. I didn't have a bag, the difference would be that one plane would be heavier by myself and my bag.”

    Airlines can indeed incur a cost difference for flying passengers free on an earlier flight. Both http://www.wallstreetfighter.com/2008/08/southw… and comments in http://econsultancy.com/blog/3987-social-media-… .

    “The argument is if they should have been honest and open about the changes, in which they were not.”

    The user 3G here noted that they did indeed tell customers about the change in their e-statement.

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