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Frontier Airline's customer service failBrands are quickly learning that they ignore social media at their own peril. Customer service should be at the forefront of any brand’s strategy, and Twitter presents an excellent opportunity for to engage with consumers. Instant, helpful responses can do wonders for a brand. But ignoring customer feedback can bury you.

One company that might learn this the hard way is Frontier Airlines. The airline recently changed its standby policy. In so doing, they angered a very vocal customer. But he wasn’t the only one upset by Frontier’s approach.

Late last year, startup enthusiast and blogger Andrew Hyde spent six hours in the Denver airport because of a change to Frontier’s standby policy. An airline employee told Hyde that the flight he wanted to get on was full, but he found out that wasn't true. So over the course of six hours he spent waiting in the airport to get on a flight, Hyde purchased over $1000 in airline tickets with airlines other than Frontier. He also created an aggregation site for complaints about the airline.

Until this point, Hyde had been an ardent enthusiast of the airline, and says that all he was looking for was a simple apology for the way he had been treated. But he didn’t get it. Instead, he started a Twitter feed for the airline on his own (@frontierair) in the hopes that Frontier would take it over as a corporate account. He wrote:

"It was an admitted ‘fan account.’  I didn’t pretend to be the airline, or an employee.  But I did become a cheerleader.  It was fun at first!  Reposting fans tweets about excellent service, great deals and fun experiences was rewarding (even for a humble fan account).  But I’m a bit tired of missing so many opportunities for the same messaging control that I started the account.  I don’t have any info on the flight that landed with one engine malfunctioning.  I can’t do anything to the person that got bumped and is cursing your name.  I’m not empowered to make things right."

10,000 page views later, Frontier has responded. But they didn't take the bait. Frontier’s PR department said that the company has no plans to use Twitter as a customer service platform in the near future:

"We know many companies, including major airlines, have moved on to direct engagement with their customers via blogs, Twitter and other social media.  Those companies have also raised the expectations of Twitter users to a level that can sometimes become unmanageable, even with the best of resources. We don’t want to disappoint our customers by introducing a communications tool we can’t properly support. We also have a lot committed to our more traditional customer service tools.  Any introduction of new programs now would end up taking resources away from existing channels."

Hyde, needless to say, was not satisfied with the response. He wrote today on his blog:

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.

As of today, Hyde is turning the @Frontier account into a space for complaints about the company. He may be a well-known blogger that can draw attention to his issues and complaints, but Hyde's Twitter aggregator is not just his solitary rants. It's a live feed of peopel dissatissfied with a company's product. Today, anyone can go online to voice praise, concern, or criticism about a company. Good customer service is good brand strategy, and corporations that are proactive about it online can increase their brand's reputaiton, as JetBlue has been doing with its human, often funny Twitter feed.

Hyde tells Econsultancy: “Microsharing changes the game, Twitter being the case of thousands of people becoming content creators.”

And while brands like Frontier might be feeling overwhelmed by the constantly changing nature of social media, it is in their interest to sort it out, and quickly. In a world where anyone can have a platform to voice critiques, ignoring customers can be a dangerous policy.

Meghan Keane

Published 5 June, 2009 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

721 more posts from this author

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David Stevens

"He also created an aggregation site for complaints about the airline."

It seems a rather bizarre - and slightly spiteful - over-reaction to me.

If he is a "fan" of the airline, and if all he wanted is an apology, wouldn't it have been easier - and certainly pleasanter - to call Customer Relations?

But each to their own. Always.

almost 7 years ago

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Shelli Johnson

I'm just returning from a terrible experience with American Airlines.

The moral of the story is make sure your company puts people with basic caring instincts in positions that come into contact with your customers.

So often, all we want or need to when we find ourselves in the middle of a crisis is an "I'm sorry." A sincere apology. Respect for my time. These are very un-complicated things I'm talking about... and yet they go a long way to appease and sometimes even win over customers who have been wronged by actions of your company or its employees.

Here's a long-winded post I wrote after returning from a trip where American Airlines lost my luggage. (The moral of the story is at the end of the blog post, if you don't want to read entire post): http://adjix.com/nnta

Thanks for listening and sharing this article about Hyde's blog and twitter participation with respect to Frontier Airlines.

almost 7 years ago

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George

David is right. The whole thing does seem rather childish.

As far as I know, most of the airlines have a "no free standby" policy if you have discounted tickets. There's nothing special that Frontier Airlines didn't allow him to use his ticket six hours early. Policies change all the times with airlines; why didn't Mr. Hyde call the airline to see if he could get on the flight? Why didn't he google on

frontier airlines standby policy

to find what the policy was? I was able to find the policy in about 30 seconds.

The only reason that Mr. Hyde spent six hours waiting at the airport is because he didn't do his homework.

In short, I'm having a really hard time figuring out what the exact customer service failure was. Andrew is fond of saying it was the "lie", but he's not telling the truth: his real upset was not being able to fly standby for free. That is clearly the Frontier policy.

Both your article and the frontierfail.com website implies that Frontier is one of the few airlines that doesn't allow free standby flight. Is that really true? Some airlines do; some do not. Southwest Airlines does not; you must upgrade your ticket to fly standby.

One last note about thorough reporting and accurate reporting: this is not a recent change. Andrew's six-hour delay happened over a half-year ago. This is not a "fan" of the airline; for some reason, he's continuing to fan the flames of his bitterness.

You flag Jetblue as an airline with a great twitter-feed. But go look at their standby policy at help.jetblue.com. For destinations that have multiple flights a day:

You are allowed to travel on the flight PRIOR TO YOUR ORIGINAL FLIGHT ONLY, regardless of whether it is a non-stop or a connecting flight.

Now, go back of the details of Andrew Hyde's six-hour delay. If the airline had been Jetblue but all other details the same, Andrew STILL would have been unable to get on the original plane. His delay would have been at least 2 hours. It might have been 4 hours or more. And he might have spent more time flying, because the flight prior to his original flight might have been a connecting flight.

...but, golly jeepers, he could have spent those hours twittering with some really swell folks at Jetblue.

Somehow, I doubt if Andrew Hyde would have been happy with that customer service, either. What do you think?

almost 7 years ago

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David Stevens

I should also say that I take great exception to the photo at the head of this article, of an aircraft crashing.

I understand the metaphor, a brand crashing, but only after reading the article.

The first clear implicaton is that a Frontier aircraft has crashed, which simply is not true.

The aircraft in the photo isn't even a Frontier aircraft, although they do fly that type.

almost 7 years ago

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George

The more I think about this, the more fishy it sounds. What exactly is the upset about, and has the complainer been fully honest in his story?

Andrew Hyde works at a startup incubator. He's very smart and highly technically competent. He builds websites from scratch. He has almost 9,000 followers on Twitter (99.5 percentile). His generation scorns e-mail as a communicaiton medium; they vastly prefer tweets or IM chats for messages -- or using a search engine to quickly find the facts they're looking for.

He's upset that he can't find a notification in e-mails from Frontier telling him of the change in policy on standby tickets?? Is that really the source of the upset?

Did he contact the airline that morning to see the status of the flight he wanted to get on? Did he ask them what his chances would be to fly standby on the earliest flight? Doing that would have eliminated his harrowing 6-hour ordeal on Concourse A.

Frontier Airlines had a tough year in 2008; they went into Chapter 11 earlier in the year. Even very healthy airlines like Southwest have adopted similar restrictions on their standby policy. Andrew has a 3G phone with a web browser. Why didn't he do the obvious check and google on Frontier's standby policy? Doing that quick check would have eliminated his 6-hour wait.

What happened at the check-in counter? Why would they have told him "the plane is full" rather than ask him to pay the fee to fly standby? One way could get the airline a fee; the other way would get them nothing. Why would the airline insist that they were “sold out” of something he needed if they still had it available? Andrew has repeated this claim that "the airline lied to me" over and over. It adds a nice emotional zinger to the story. But it makes absolutely no sense for the ticket agent to have said that!


Think about this from Frontier's point of view. You have a customer who didn't call to see if he could fly standby on the early flight. He also didn’t check to see the upgrade policy online: something this highly-connected individual could have done in a few seconds. But he takes no responsibility for failing to do those things.

Andrew could have gotten on the early flight if he’d paid the Frontier standby fee. It makes no sense that Frontier would have said the flight was full — they would have lost the opportunity to collect that fee! His claim that “the airline lied to me” that the flight was full is highly suspect.

SInce that day, the customer has spent numerous hours trying to spread ill will about Frontier. He spent money to register the name for a website to do that. He continues to repeat the nonsensical claim of a “lie” many times. And he includes dubious innuendo on the website:

"Frontier Airlines, my previous favorite airline is in a downward spiral, limiting features such as flying standby. It doesn’t seem like they are listening to customers… are they? Knock, knock, anyone here?"

Even healthy airlines have exaclty the same restrictions on flying standby! If "listening to customers" means having no restrictions on same-day standby, then there are many airlines that are equally deaf to their customers.

If I were Frontier, I'd view this [ex-]customer as somewhat irrational and do my best to avoid him.

What sort of fact-checking did you do before repeating Andrew’s claims? Do you see the disconnect in “the airline lied to me” claim?

almost 7 years ago

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The Joker

I'm calling BS on this guy too. Did anyone notice that he's censored comments on his blog post because he thinks they're "moronic"?

The irony is amusing. Here's a guy who talks about being "open and honest" yet he's deleting comments on his blog that basically told him, in hilarious fashion, to grow up and move on (I saw them before they were removed).

Par for the course. Most of these social media types love to criticize companies that they don't like but can't take any criticism themselves.

almost 7 years ago

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tom craddock

Agree with David. It would be interesting to know more about Andrew Hyde, the companies he has run, the scale of enterprises he has created, numbers of employees etc. He seems like a troll, his aim seems to be destructive, as does the author of this article I regret to say, some background on companies the author has run, numbers of employees her enterprises have employed etc. would be useful.

almost 7 years ago

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selina howells

According to Wikipedia which may be inaccurate, Frontier's average fleet age was 4.1 years in September 2008. It has been awarded the FAA Diamond award for ten years straight, from 1999 through 2009. The Diamond award recognizes carriers whose mechanics and maintenance staff complete additional training and certifications beyond that required for normal FAA certification. In order to receive this award, a minimum of 25 percent of an airline's mechanics and maintenance staff must complete this additional training. Frontier is the only airline to have consecutively received this award for the last seven years, as well as the only airline to ever receive this award with 100% participation from its maintenance staff. Frontier's staff has maintained 100% participation for the last seven consecutive years during which it has earned this award.

If Twitter is a tool that can destroy this airline as the author suggests, I agree the airline should ignore it and continue investing in sfaety, training and fleet.

almost 7 years ago

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David Stevens

"According to Wikipedia which may be inaccurate, Frontier's average fleet age was 4.1 years in September 2008. It has been awarded the FAA Diamond award for ten years straight, from 1999 through 2009."

Wikipedia is accurate in this case.

Frontier is also one of the very few US airlines to have been profitable for the past two quarters.

almost 7 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

@David - given the unfortunate events of the previous week we've replaced the picture with something slightly less dramatic.

Cheers,

c.

almost 7 years ago

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oakhouse13

The photo used without credit is actually a Scandinavian Airlines aircraft skidding off a runway in Aalborg, according to its properties

http://www.cytrap.eu/files/info/2007/image/2007-09-09-Scandinavian%20Airlines%20aircraft%20skidded%20off%20a%20runway%20in%20Aalborg.jpg

almost 7 years ago

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Maneet Puri

This is an excellent example of social media can work against you. To think about it one dissatisfied customer (who was once an ardent fan) created such a ruckus on the internet and the news is only going to spread. This can sure dent the image of the company. I am amazed at the power of social media!

almost 7 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

@oakhouseq3 - that would be another good reason for not using it. We typically use images from the Flickr Creative Commons directory, which is where the current one comes from. Thanks for picking us up on it.

almost 7 years ago

Meghan Keane

Meghan Keane, US Editor at Econsultancy

Hi all. I just wanted to make a note about my point in this post, since I didn't intend to imply that Frontier is a terrible airline, or even that their standby policy is problematic in general. Rather, I was using this example to show how some tiny miscommunication with customer service can be amplified with social media. Especially in a space like the airline industry, where delays, cancellations and malfunctions are a common occurence, it's important for companies to show that they are on the customer's side. Individuals can't expect an airline to change circumstances beyond its control, but a little communication goes a long way, and Twitter provides an easy way to do that.

almost 7 years ago

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David Stevens

"Individuals can't expect an airline to change circumstances beyond its control, but a little communication goes a long way, and Twitter provides an easy way to do that."

It took me nanoseconds on Google to find out that Frontier does use Twitter.

http://m.twitter.com/FrontierSale

It may not be as much as Mr. Hyde wants, but Twitter is still a fairly new phenomenon. Airlines are still coming to terms with WiFi.

So I find Mr. Hyde's action to be even more over-the-top and has me wondering - why?

Did he, for example, hope to make some money by selling the Twitter account he created to Frontier and they declined? Is he trying to make a somewhat spiteful point?

Or does his simply have an over-inflated ego?

Because if he was so angry I can't work out why he simply didn't call customer service and voice his displeasure.

almost 7 years ago

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George

@ChrisLake: No matter what news events happened last week, having a picture of a crashing aircraft at the masthead of an article of an airline is a poor choice. It provides the most negative imagery that one could possibly associate with a particular airline.

By publishing a crashing airplane, you cease to report on a story and start to become a part of the story. Thank you for updating the picture to a neutral one.

Chris/Meghan: What sort of fact-checking went into your report of Andrew's complaints about Frontier Airlines? Did you do any fact-checking at all? Did you attempt to contact Frontier Airlines in your research for this story?

I don't think anyone here disputes the power of social networking. Between Andrew's followers and the followers here over 100 thousand people may have been exposed to this story. The real question is whether Andrew's complaints are justified or of this is some kind of "Fatal Attraction" personal venddetta that he has against Frontier Airlines.

almost 7 years ago

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George

In his article "Frontier Fail Part 3", Andrew Hyde complains on his andrewhyde.net blog about Frontier's charges for standby travel:

"I wouldn’t say “met with a pleasant surprise” when I have to pay 40% of my ticket price to fly out 4 hours earlier. Nice direction, but really, flying standby was a horrible thing to get rid of. Frontier should make this less than 10% of the ticket price if they had to charge. It also shouldn’t have to be done at the airport. If I am paying a hefty fee to fly standby, I shouldn’t have to make the commute to the airport for the chance to pay. Assent members should also be included in the free standby rights, just like Summit members."

Those are all reasonable demands, except for one thing: the airline he claims to have switched to is Southwest Airlines. From his latest blog post "Frontier Airlines Customer Service: 'The PR Department Would Like You to Shut Up'":

"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."

Yet Southwest has exactly the same kind of restrictions on flying standby. They do not allow standby flight for less than 10% of the ticket price; they require that you pay the upgrade to an "Anytime" ticket, which is often more than a 100% increase in the price of a discount ticket. As fr as I can tell, there are no standby freebies for Southwest frequent flier members.

Why isn't Andrew complaining about any of these Southwest Airlines standby fees and restrictions? If they're a problem on Frontier, shouldn't they also be a problem on Southwest? This is the second major disconnect in Andrew's arguments.

How exactly should someone respond to a prolific blogger with a huge following that is making irrational arguments?

Meghan: when you wrote your story, did you go back and look to see if Andrew's arguments actually made sense?

almost 7 years ago

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George

@Meghan wrote "Hi all. I just wanted to make a note about my point in this post, since I didn't intend to imply that Frontier is a terrible airline, or even that their standby policy is problematic in general."

Frontier's standby policy is not problematic. It's almost exactly the same policy as Southwest: their primary competitor. But we only see complaints about Frontier's policy.

Maybe what we're seeing is how a powerfully-connected person can abuse social media.

How about blogging about that? You could use a picture of a bull in a china shop.

almost 7 years ago

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selina howells

Twitter on starting up twitter feeds using someone else's name

http://blog.twitter.com/2009/06/not-playing-ball.html

almost 7 years ago

Jonathan Moody

Jonathan Moody, Freelance at Language4Communications

My 5 cents worth. One well-connected individual can and does create a great deal of negative mis/information currents through social media - via Twitter, social networks, blogs forums, discussion threads on high impact online media etc etc.

Those claims may or may not be accurate or even justified but it will do airlines (and other companies) no harm to know what is being said, where and by whom so that they can take appropriate action.

almost 7 years ago

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Steve Snyder

I need to weigh in on this now. When Andrew first wrote his blog posting some six months ago, I personally reached out to him about his problem to see if we could fix it. We indeed did communicate our policy change to him through a monthly email statement, though it could be missed if you weren't looking closely. We agreed to make changes like that more prominent in the future.  I thought we had settled the matter.

I also made it quite clear to Andrew about our approach to social media. I thought that policy was worth discussing publicly when Andrew posted his article there about why he shouldn't have to run a Frontier Twitter account. To summarize, we do monitor what is being said about us in social media circles, and we respond where appropriate (as I did to Andrew in the very beginning). We also have a specific, segmented presence interacting in social media where we feel there is benefit both to our customers as well as to our company. We currently have two Twitter accounts: FrontierStorm to provide updates during major winter snows and FrontierSale to let our customers know about new discounted fare offerings.  That is in addition to the daily monitoring we do of Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other internet postings.

It seems that all this comotion centers around the fact that we don't have a Tiwtter account set up to address customer service issues.  As I explained in the PRSA post, given our current business model and the economic challenges we face, we don't have the resources to successfully support that particular tool at this point, and we have learned by watching other companies that if don't do something right, you are better off waiting until you can.

Contrary to some of the sentiments expressed in the original post here, I want to make it VERY clear that we do understand the impact of social media, that we do listen to the conversations taking place on a daily basis and that we do engage when we feel we can truly make a difference for a customer. In Andrew's case, I have personally reached out to him at least a half dozen different times to better understand where he is coming from. I think that is a perfectly reasonable response. We value every one of our customers and do everything in our power to satisfy them.  However, sometimes you can't completely satisfy everybody.

Steve Snyder-Frontier Airlines

almost 7 years ago

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mike

this seems like a rant rather than an article.  he wants to have revenge.  i do not see this as legitimate, since the article gives no concrete facts.  only as someone who is having a pitty party and trying to use slander as a way to blackmail a company.  i'm pretty sure Hyde regrets this blog attack in the future, it seems childish to complain and not give the factual details.

almost 7 years ago

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Bryan

I am just a lowly 26 year old living in Denver.  My mother's friend is a flight attendant for Frontier and I've flown standby a couple times with them.  Andrew Hyde seems foolish for trying to fly standby when he needs to get somewhere on time.  Does that make sense to you?  Andrew should have probably just gone full fare if he was on a SCHEDULE.  I've never had trouble with anyone at Frontier, or their service.  But on the other hand, I've always treated them respectfully and given them the benefit of the doubt when I did not understand what was going on, whereas I suspect Andrew may have been impatient and even possibly rude.  Thanks for reading my two cents.

almost 7 years ago

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selina howells

If ever I visit Denver I will fly Frontier Air. I wish you success getting through the recession in one piece.

almost 7 years ago

Alec Kinnear

Alec Kinnear, Creative Director at Foliovision

Frankly I'd like to know what David Stevens agenda is here.

It sounds like a pretty hideous story, I would hate to be an evangelist for a commercial organisation and then find out they wouldn't help me get on a plane full of empty seats.

That it took him several months to go negative is witness to Andrew Hyde's forbearance.

Some people just can't help but lick the boots of their teachers in school or their corporate masters later. One of the two fellows mentioned in this comment appears to be just that sort.

Here's looking at you David Stevens.

almost 7 years ago

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David Stevens

"Frankly I'd like to know what David Stevens agenda is here."

Agenda? Let's see. I live In New Zealand. I'm old, I can't fly anymore, for health reasons, so I shall never visit the US (or fly Frontier) again.

However, as a writer, I have some interest in good journalism and it seems to me that this article breaks the most basic rules.

(i) The article assume that the subject - Mr. Hyde - is right. No good journalist would swallow the subject's story hook, line and sinker.

(ii) No contrary view is presented. I do not see, in the article, any comment by Frontier, even if it were a declien to comment.

(iii) As several others have pointed out, there seems to be a serious lack of fact-checking in the article.

I may be "unfashionable" but I also dislike the current trend in communication, which sees no value in the unexpressed thought.

I may be Canute raging against a relentless tide of Tweets - but I thought that was the point of social media, that every voice can be heard?

At least, that seems to be the point of the article.

almost 7 years ago

Alec Kinnear

Alec Kinnear, Creative Director at Foliovision

Hello David,

I understand your frustration with Meghan Keane if you holding the author to the standards of the journalism of 20 years ago (even print journalists don't hold to those standards anymore, printing rumour, hype and gossip mercilessly).

As a past writer for The Economist Group among others, this article would not meet standard. But at the pace which the web devours new stories and the pittance which they earn (the new stories), one trusts the comments and other weblogs to publish the rest of the story.

The story is in motion so to speak.

Frontier is quoted in the article:

We know many companies, including major airlines, have moved on to direct engagement with their customers via blogs, Twitter and other social media.  Those companies have also raised the expectations of Twitter users to a level that can sometimes become unmanageable, even with the best of resources. We don’t want to disappoint our customers by introducing a communications tool we can’t properly support. We also have a lot committed to our more traditional customer service tools.  Any introduction of new programs now would end up taking resources away from existing channels.

But Frontier seems to decline further comment.

I agree with you insofar as short half-baked repostings of existing stories. Tedious. This one goes just deep enough to push the story a little farther though.

Frankly, Frontier messed this one up. They managed to rile one of their most vigorous supporters. In the new age, this is a great mistake. Frontier is repenting it and will repent it further.

almost 7 years ago

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David Stevens

"I understand your frustration with Meghan Keane if you holding the author to the standards of the journalism of 20 years ago (even print journalists don't hold to those standards anymore, printing rumour, hype and gossip mercilessly)."

I agree that standards may be on the decline. Does that mean that I cannot protest that decline?

What is the point of social media, social networking, then?

"But Frontier seems to decline further comment."

How so? Frontier has responded in these responses. 

"This one goes just deep enough to push the story a little farther though."

I disagree, for the reasons given above.

"Frankly, Frontier messed this one up."

Maybe they did. Most airlines do, every now and then. It's life. It happens. I don't see that justifies a relentless vendetta - such as:

"Frontier is repenting it and will repent it further."

It suggests you have some personal axe to grind. So let me throw the question back at you - what is your agenda?

almost 7 years ago

Meghan Keane

Meghan Keane, US Editor at Econsultancy

Well, I for one am enjoying the conversation going on here. As for continuing it, I'm speaking to Frontier's Steve Snyder tomorrow to give him a chance to expand on Hyde's allegations and how the company plans to handle social media and customer complaints going forward. So check in again tomorrow afternoon and add on there if you're so inclined. Or, if you have questions you'd like him to answer, stick them in here.

Best, Meghan

almost 7 years ago

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David Stevens

I look forward to it.

almost 7 years ago

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George

@alec wrote: "It sounds like a pretty hideous story"

Someone came to the airport before their flight and they expected to be able to get onto an earlier flight for free. The airline has a policy that prohibits passengers from flying standby without paying a fee. This is almost exactly the same policy that the other airline with a similar business plan (ticket pricing, etc) -- Southwest Airlines.

In fact, Southwest Airlines has a more restrictive policy than Frontier for allowing standby passengers to freely upgrade. I encountered this policy a while back in Las Vegas: Southwest conspicously displays on every single check-in station that you cannot fly standby unless you have or upgrade the difference to the "Anytime" fare. I had no idea of the policy until I arrived four hours early for my flight home.

It hardly sounds like a hideous story.

One reason I mention Southwest: Andrew consipcously notes on his blog how we has now sent thousands of dollars of business to Southwest.

Here's the other part of the story that doesn't add up. What exactly happened at the ticket counter. Did the conversation go like this:

A: I'd like to fly standby for free on my ticket for six hours later.

Frontier: I'm sorry. You can't fly free standby on this ticket.

A: WTF?

Frontier: You must pay XXX to fly standby with this ticket.

A: I'm close to being in your highest frequent flyer program. I demand to fly free!

Frontier: Oops. I didn't notice. There are no seats on that flight. That's the REAL reason we're not allowing you to fly free.

In all of the hours in-between, Andrew could have easily verified that that was in fact Frontier's policy. It's right on their website. The conspiracty that someone "lied" to him really doesn't make sense.

@Meghan: I'm glad you're finally going to do some research on both sides of this story that you published last week. I wish you'd done that before you published the original blog post. Blindly reporting a story without checking the facts dramatically increases the odds that you'll be part of a "mob mentality".

That's the really interesting story here.

almost 7 years ago

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George

An interesting thing happened over the weekend: a blogger more prominent than Andrew Hyde experienced poor customer service at a hotel. Jeremiah Owyang did not receive free internet access at his hotel.

He tweeted about his negative experience:

Stayed at Hilton this weekend, they charge $10 a day for internet access. I'm avoiding staying there in the future, like charging for water
about 7 hours ago from web
(http://twitter.com/jowyang/status/2078117024)

He then answered a question from a follower:

RT @shartley It is a property-by-property basis. Not that I'm defending Hilton, I just know it isn't universal across all Hiltons.
about 7 hours ago from web
(http://twitter.com/jowyang/status/2078157363)

He then wrote a blog entry about his experience:

Blog Post: Hotels: Don't Charge Us For Internet Use http://bit.ly/fCoTB
about 6 hours ago from web
(http://twitter.com/jowyang/status/2078667343)

His blog entry makes a strong case why it would be in the hotel's best interest to provide free Internet service. It seemed a professional and elegant way to deal with his complaint -- the opposite of what Andrew Hyde did. He was constructive rather than confrontational.

A tale of two bloggers.

Which story will get more press coverage in the internet media? Will Megan or someone else pick up on that story? Time will tell.

almost 7 years ago

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George

@alec: What if Andrew had been flying Southwest on that day in early November? What if he had a flight for hours later and insisted on being able to fly standby free?

I expect that exactly the same thing would have happened: the airline would have explained that he had to spend money in order to fly standby. He'd either have to wait or spend the money.

As noted, I encountered this exact situation in Las Vegas. It was no biggie: I just hunkered down and got some work done. I didn't shout at anyone, and nobody got upset.

Why do you characterize Andrew's experience as harrowing? My experience was decidedly ordinary.

almost 7 years ago

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