DENVER (CBS4) – Days after nearly nine inches of snow fell at Denver International Airport and hundreds of flights were canceled, dozens of bags remained unclaimed by Frontier Airlines customers.
By Monday evening, things were starting to get normal for operations for Frontier.
On Monday afternoon, about three dozen passengers remained at the Frontier baggage service center and dozens of bags remained unclaimed at DIA.
“They just said they were overwhelmed with calls and they wouldn’t be able to respond. They put that on social media too, saying that due to the overwhelming issues with whether they wouldn’t be able to respond to our complaints or concerns,” said Frontier passenger Janelle Hatley.
Hatley and her husband were trying to get home to Colorado from Iowa. Their flight was canceled on Saturday and Frontier could not locate their bags. The couple finally re-booked on Southwest.
“When we walked over to Southwest, told them our situation, they said they were going to get us on a flight in an hour for $55. So it was $109 to fly back here, and a $300 flight for this garbage with Frontier,” said Hatley.
A spokesman for Frontier Airlines told CBS4 the delays were due to staff not being able to get to the airport during Friday night’s storm. The storm, and lack of staffing, caused hundreds of delays and cancellations.
“Look at all these bags. It’s insane!” a passenger said.
Frontier said that they were working to get the bags to the owners and have brought in additional staff to deal with the luggage issue.
“The only way we knew it was canceled was that the people at the counter walked away,” a passenger said.
“It was supposed to take of at 8 a.m. and it got canceled at 3 p.m.,” another said.
CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann conducted an interview with Frontier Airlines spokesman Jim Faulkner via email. Here is that exchange:
CBS4: What, if anything, is being done to prevent these issues from happening again?
Faulkner: All areas area looking to see how not to have this happen again. I also address this below in the comment about the forecast.
CBS4: If there are snow storms, should Frontier passengers always plan for five hour delays?
CBS4: When weather is adverse, what plans are in place for staff that have trouble getting to work?
Faulkner: The original forecast called for only about 5 inches of snow, and that’s what we were planning for. When there are large storms, we reserve hotel rooms near the airport.
CBS4: Are there not backup crews or other resources to get passengers their belongings?
Faulkner: As the weather cleared up, we sent employees to the airport to help sort through bags and try to get the right bags to their owners. We also added additional resources to the reservations center and customer relations office to handle all the incoming calls and emails.
CBS4: Also, a question we are hearing a lot from frustrated and stranded passengers — why is it that it’s only Frontier that’s struggling this much or dealing with these issues if weather is the main cause of the problems?
Faulkner: Denver remains are largest operation with the largest number of flight attendants and pilots. Because of the weather on Saturday, this had a ripple effect through the weekend as crew that were scheduled to operate flights out of Denver were stuck in other cities. Also, Flight Aware shows that Southwest canceled about 500 flights on Saturday themselves so we definitely weren’t the only ones working through this.
“They need to do something about this,” another passenger said.
LINKS: Frontier Airlines