From the outset, statistics demonstrate that flying is still the safest mode of travel in the world, with the odds of dying in a commercial airline crash estimated to be about one in 11 million, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Put in perspective, you're more likely to die in an auto accident, say researchers at the National Safety Council, stating those odds are one in 106.
As for Frontier Airlines, the hard numbers and international surveys concerning the carrier are quite favorable in comparison to its high-flying competition when it comes to airline safety. That positive accolade aside, though, other concerns plaguing the reputation and even the very existence of Frontier are likely bigger worries among those who run and work for the airline.
Some of the difficulties are internal, others have to do with how a how-frills transporter can compete with the bigger rivals, and still a few are issues affecting the entire industry.
Shares Top 10 Safest No-Frills Status With JetBlue
Among the world's safest economy airlines, only two U.S. companies managed to crack the 2019 top 20 list compiled annually by AirlineRatings.com. Of those, Frontier made it to the podium with a third-place ranking, trailing only Air Arabia and now-bankrupt UK-based Flybe. The other U.S. competitor was JetBlue, which finished sixth.
Neither of them made it to the safest airline overall top 2o, which had Aussie carrier Qantas ruling the list, followed by Air New Zealand and Taiwan's EVA Air. But two other American companies secured berths on that list: Alaska Airlines finished in eighth, with Hawaiian Airlines further down in 11th spot.
Still, making it into the no-frills category would ordinarily spark some cause for celebration. Alas, Frontier had other issues on its mind than partying over a ranking.
One Of Several Airlines Facing Bankruptcy
Facing huge shortfalls in passengers with the World Health Organization declaring a pandemic in March, Frontier Airlines joined several other companies that filed for bankruptcy protection. And despite a $58-billion bailout on behalf of the federal government, that may not be enough to save some of the smaller carriers trying to stay alive in a ravaged market.
Frontier's brush with solvency is nothing new. In 2008, it filed papers for bankruptcy organization before it was bought out by Republic Airways. Four years later, with no improvement in economic performance, Republic unloaded the company to Indigo Partners, which stripped down the airline fleet, downsized its infrastructure and rebranded it as a no-frills carrier.
Technical Booking Issues Galore
Sometimes running a no-frills airline also means not having the right tools at your disposal when it comes to administration. The result is botched flight schedules, systems going offline, a litany of customer complaints and a beleaguered customer service department.
USA Today reported on one embarrassing glitch took place in 2019 just before Thanksgiving, when an email accidentally alerted several ticketholders about sudden flight changes. Calls jammed the center to the point where it took several hours to sort out the mess while the email situation was resolved.
Earlier in March, Marketwatch reported that the pandemic triggered a series of communication issues when Frontier announced it was waiving cancellation fees, despite customers calling in to find out that wasn't the case.
A few days later, The Denver Post reported that Frontier offering 90 percent discounts on airfares to make up for the lack of ticket sales in response to the worldwide pandemic. A flood of consumers went online to book flights, causing the company's computer system to crash.
So, When's That Frontier Flight Gonna Show Up?
Flying on a no-frills airline is never fun if you're sitting in a crowded cabin in the smallest of seats. But that's not the worst of it, according to irate customers.
The biggest issue surrounding Frontier Airlines is its flight delays. A 2018 CNN study revealed that Frontier was among the worst offenders with nearly 30 percent of its flights delayed with the average delays lasting more than 70 minutes.
That's far below that year's national industry average of more than 19 percent of flights reportedly delayed with the average wait time clocking in at slightly more than an hour, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
Sexual Discrimination Plagues Airline Reputation
While most of Frontier's issues haven't exactly been a secret to consumers, one internal issue was something the airline had hoped would fly under the radar.
In December, a group of female pilots and flight attendants filed lawsuits against Frontier for discriminating against women who were either pregnant or nursing their babies. The airline apparently made them take lengthy unpaid leave during their pregnancies and wouldn't facilitate their need to nurse their babies while on the job.
The airline refused to provide breastfeeding stations on flights and wouldn't provide other work options to the women plaintiffs while pregnant, even though the due date was months away. On attendant said she was off the job for 34 weeks without getting paid.