Reverse Flight Bump
February 20, 2018 8:36 PM   Subscribe

So we booked a flight from San Jose, CA to Washington DC for a friend's wedding this April with Frontier Air. We just got an email from Frontier saying that the first leg of our trip (San Jose to Denver) was rescheduled up by 24 hours. This means we need to take an extra day off work to sit in Denver's airport over night, which is not awesome. They don't seem to be very interested in finding us an alternate or much compensation. What can we do?

The first leg is cancelled and we can either leave a day early and buy extra vacation for the privilege of sitting in Denver overnight or a day later and miss the wedding. They offered a $100 voucher (after much negotiation) but that doesn't really cover our lost time or lodging for a day in Denver.

The travel day is closer now than when we first booked and tickets (last December) and equivalent lights are much more expensive, so re-booking would cost us about double. Some government sites state that we are due compensation (Bumping Section) and some say we are not.

Additional challenge: The way they rescheduled us puts us in DC on time but with a 24+hour earlier departure. Is this still a delay if it is in reverse?
posted by flyingfox to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
You are not legally due compensation as your flight has been rescheduled and you have not yet been involuntarily denied boarding. As your first link indicates, airlines do not guarantee their schedules. You can summarize buying a ticket as, "we will get you to your destination at the time we specify, but if we can't, we'll tell you or else give you a refund". You can request a refund and see if you can book a better flight arrangement. However, otherwise, there isn't much you can do.
posted by saeculorum at 8:48 PM on February 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


Yeah, on further reading, that's probably the case. I kept finding conflicting information but generally it looks like there's no good answers for us.
posted by flyingfox at 9:00 PM on February 20, 2018


You could try contacting Frontier on their facebook page. Most of these pages are run by different divisions than regular ticketing, so they may have more leeway to help you. I do not see any comments from individuals on their page, so you would likely have to message them. Try to phrase your inquiry as a positive in looking for a solution rather than complaining about the situation, and mention if you are flexible on the airports. It looks like they fly into both Reagan and Dulles, and if you are willing to leave out of San Francisco or Oakland there may be some combo that will work with your schedule that they will not charge you extra to change.
It’s that they do not have to help you, but often can help you.
posted by Short End Of A Wishbone at 9:33 PM on February 20, 2018


Frontier is known for this kind of shit. Their tickets are so cheap partially because of the risk.

However, this might be one of those times where raising a stink (politely) up the food chain may help. I've heard of people sometimes having decent results by going to executive offices and pleading their cases. This page appears to have info for Frontier - can't vouch for any of it but it couldn't hurt to try.

Otherwise, definitely tweet and try Facebook.
posted by lunasol at 9:43 PM on February 20, 2018 [5 favorites]


It's not a delay, but it's an change from your originally booked flights. This page suggests they should switch you to another flight with no fees, as long as it's within 72 hours of the original one:

http://faq.flyfrontier.com/help/draft---i-had-a-schedule-change-of-101-300-hours
posted by ktkt at 10:14 PM on February 20, 2018


My answer relies on there being another option, but perhaps there's routing through a different connecting city. They should be treating the trip there as a unified/connected pair of flights, assuming you booked it all at once.

Research what flights you want to switch to before calling.
posted by ktkt at 10:17 PM on February 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


Airlines will typically try to palm you off or give you the least they have to, unless you insist. Like ktkt says, be armed with the Frontier flight you ideally want to be on, and look it up beforehand so you can verify on the spot that there are seats available on it. If this is the case, they can and should put you on that flight. Directly and politely insist they do so until someone agrees.
posted by ryanbryan at 1:56 AM on February 21, 2018


The big old airlines all have cross-carrier deals where they will move you to another airline if they change a flight or can't otherwise get you there. Small airlines like Frontier don't do that. It's part of why the tickets are so cheap.
posted by miyabo at 6:50 AM on February 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


A cross-carrier "interline" agreement will not help you because the cancellation is well in advance. Frontier, as you know, operates flights far less frequently, so this kind of thing is much more likely to happen (though I got stuck in Cleveland for four days on Southwest, so it can happen on any carrier). You will almost always get a much better result by finding an alternate itinerary on Frontier and asking very politely to be placed on that instead. Don't worry about any difference in cost, just have the flight numbers and times handy when you ask. I have yet to hear of anyone being refused when asking for flights that are substantially similar. Have a look at alternate airports; you probably wouldn't choose to fly out of Fresno or into Philly but those are only a few hours drive and are probably worth not spending 24 hours in Denver (though it's a nice city).
posted by wnissen at 10:21 AM on February 21, 2018


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