HOUSTON – Summer air travel is already bustling and flyers are looking for deals to get away. We’ve got a consumer warning. Changing flights and routes could complicate your plans. Investigator Amy Davis had to step in when one man’s great deal turned into a great big waste of money.
Frequent flyer, travel clubs, and rewards points can save you a lot of money, but Orlando Rodriguez discovered they can also cost you if you’re not careful. Rodriguez saw a deal from Frontier Airlines online. The “Go-Wild Summer all-you-can-fly” summer pass was $399 and said you can fly anywhere Frontier flies and as often as you want between April and September (we noticed the pass is now $499).
“This is a good idea. We could save some money. We can travel unlimited back and forth to New York over the summer,” said Rodriguez.
It’s a flight he takes frequently on Frontier to his hometown of Rochester, New York, where his two kids still live. Rodriguez purchased two passes in February for himself and his girlfriend.
“I told them the dates, you know. In this month, I’m going to come during this time, this month that time. So, my son, he’s 8 years old. He’s like, ‘Yay!’ He’s excited. I’m excited!” he said.
Weeks later, before the unlimited summer flights were available, Frontier canceled all of its flights to Rochester. It no longer flies in or out of the city. When Rodriguez tried to cancel his summer pass, he was out of luck.
“They said, ‘Well, you don’t qualify for a refund because you didn’t do it within 24 hours,’” Rodriguez said. “You didn’t change the rules until three weeks after I bought the ticket.”
Frontier makes customer service changes
To complicate matters more, Rodriguez couldn’t speak to a person directly. In November, Frontier stopped offering customer service by phone. You can now chat, email, or reach out through WhatsApp. By the time Rodriguez called KPRC 2 Investigates, he wasn’t going wild -- he was going crazy trying to get someone at Frontier to listen.
“There’s no customer service. You know, you can’t talk to nobody live. It’s always with a robo-computer thing,” Rodriguez said.
With $800 tied up in passes he couldn’t use, he had no money to buy tickets on another airline to visit his children. When we reached out to Frontier, the airline refunded Rodriguez’s money in about a week.
What to do if you have an airline complaint?
If you have a similar problem with any airline, you can file a complaint online with the Department of Transportation. The DOT requires airlines to respond to customers’ complaints within 30 days in writing.