On Christmas Eve, Amber Lloyd drove her 14-year-old nephew to the Denver airport to board a Frontier Airlines flight to New Orleans, where he was going to spend Christmas with his parents.
Unfortunately, despite Lloyd’s best efforts, her nephew was not going to leave on Frontier. The resulting odyssey leaves Lloyd, our advocacy team — and probably, you — wondering how much compensation a passenger deserves when something truly goes wrong.
First, Lloyd paid the $100 fee that Frontier requires of unaccompanied minors to travel on board its aircraft. That fee is in addition to the fare, and payment must be made either online or at the airport. Lloyd paid the fee at the airport.
But when Lloyd and her nephew got to security, the TSA screener would not let Lloyd through, because Frontier hadn’t given her the pass which allows an unticketed adult to accompany a minor child to the gate.
Lloyd returned to the ticket counter, while her nephew continued on to the gate.
The Frontier agent gave Lloyd the needed security pass, and when doing so, allegedly called Lloyd “an idiot.”
Lloyd says she ignored the comment and proceeded through the TSA checkpoint to the gate where she watched her nephew board the flight.
Nobody at the gate asked her for information about her nephew. He simply boarded. The flight crew closed the door to the plane, so Lloyd headed back to the ticket counter to address a supervisor about the poor customer service she had already received.
Little did she know that her opinion of the airline was about to go from bad to worse.
When she explained the poor customer service she received earlier at the ticket counter, the Frontier supervisor refunded the $100 fee, and asked the employee involved in the earlier incident to leave.
Moments later, Lloyd received a panicked text from her nephew telling her that he had been removed from the flight. Apparently, the flight crew had no record that Lloyd completed the requisite paperwork for her unaccompanied nephew.
The supervisor assisting Lloyd called the gate and confirmed that the paperwork had been completed. The child was then allowed to board a second time.
When Lloyd asked why her nephew was removed, the supervisor told her she should have remained at the gate. “But the doors were closed,” Lloyd remembers. “She then said I should have provided the gate agent with the paperwork — that I was still holding in my hand.”
Lloyd asked if she should deliver the paperwork to the gate. The supervisor assured her that everything was fine.
A few minutes later, Lloyd received another unhappy text from her nephew, telling her he had once again been removed from the flight.
“I sprinted to the gate for a second time,” Lloyd explains. “My nephew was kicked off the flight and, ironically, standing unaccompanied at the gate.”
The flight left without this young traveler, who unfortunately didn’t get home until the wee hours of Christmas morning on a different airline. Lloyd says Frontier made no efforts to rebook the child on another airline, and the agent told them Frontier has “no sister airlines.”
After spending most of Christmas Eve in the airport waiting for a stand-by seat on Southwest, Lloyd’s nephew arrived home on a United Airlines flight, which Lloyd paid for herself.
Frontier Airlines has already refunded the $100 unaccompanied minor fee, and has promised to refund, in three to six weeks, the $445 she spent to fly her nephew to New Orleans on United Airlines.
Lloyd feels her nephew was embarrassed by being removed from the flight — not once, but twice — and wants the airline to apologize to her nephew.
Does Frontier owe Lloyd and her nephew more than the refunds it has already promised, or is it too late to fix this holiday travel nightmare?