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Frontier Airlines (Frontier Airlines photo)

It’s been about ten years since Frontier Airlines started offering discounted and cheap airfares from Trenton-Mercer County Municipal airport to more than a dozen locations. Despite being the largest airline at the airport, Frontier remains an obscure and near-silent entity when it comes to being an active and vocal participant in local and regional urban community events, according to various sources.

The Denver-based carrier started offering extended daily nonflights out of Trenton in 2012-2013. At the time, representatives from the airline hosted a media event for area business leaders and the press to answer questions and celebrate its fanfare arrival to the capital city. According to some, the hype and assurances by the carrier to become visible and active participants in the community fell short or never materialized. It currently offers more than a dozen flights out of Trenton-Mercer County Airport, New Jersey’s third-largest airport.  For example, requests from local and regional minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBE’s) to develop and form strategic alliances with Frontier were rejected or ignored. Contrarily, similar requests from majority-owned businesses were acknowledged and, in some cases, implemented. The slight raised the ire of some powerful and local M/WBE’s and organizations, including the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ). A protest and boycott of the carrier ensued. https://amsterdamnews.com/news/2013/11/14/frontier-airlines-turns-deaf-ear-request-black-cha/

Fast forward to 2021, customer complaints and federal lawsuits—including allegations of blatant discrimination against the airlines by flight attendants abound. Last year, Frontier Airlines was ranked the 5th worst airline carrier in the country, according to the popular online website, www.bestlifeonline.com. A similar poll in Forbes magazine ranked Frontier as one of the worst airlines in the country in terms of customer service. Calls and e-mails over the past few months to the carrier’s customer service line eventually generated a generic e-mail response from a customer service agent named Ella Grace. It referred all media inquiries to the corporate communications department. A phone call and subsequent e-mails and requests for information to Zachary Kramer, Frontier Airlines corporate communications manager, were not returned.

In Trenton, John Harmon, president of the African-American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, said despite several requests over the years, Frontier had not formed an alliance or partnership with the organization or any of its members. “While we have no formal agreement with Frontier, they have hired some Black individuals (people of color) which is evident in their check in and boarding operations at the Mercer County airport,” Harmon said in a recent interview with NJ Urban News. He added that African Americans are the most significant travelers and contributors to the travel and tourism industry. More than half of Trenton’s population of about 84,000 residents are people of color.

Lastly, despite a seemingly glacial pace adherence to fostering a truly diverse workforce and exceptional customer service, some travelers of Frontier continue to scoff at its overall subpar record. “I traveled to Orlando with three other friends two years ago on Frontier Airlines, and it was a nightmare,” said Lee J in Yardley, Pa. “The outbound flight and the return flight were horrible—delays for hours, no information or explanations for the delays and rude and unprofessional agents and customer service employees made for a terrible trip.” The passenger said the airline did offer a breakfast voucher to passengers later in the afternoon—after more than a 3 to 4-hour flight delay. “I will never fly Frontier again,” she said.

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