Frontier Airlines Insists Man Who Missed Flight Was On Plane

Matthew is the center of a Hitchcockian mystery over at Frontier Airlines. He missed his flight from New Mexico to Texas with a connection through Denver (there was a total of 4 segments to the flight), and when he tried to rebook the flight and pay the change fee, Frontier told him he’d already flown to Denver. So who took the flight? One of the flight crew’s friends? A woman too pretty for Southwest? A killer? There’s probably a killer roaming the streets of Denver now.
Mary at Frontier keeps promising Matthew she’ll look into it, but “after weeks and several calls,” nothing’s been fixed, and Matthew still can’t rebook the flight he already purchased.

Here’s his full story:

Recently I purchased a ticket from Farmington NM to Houston Texas on Frontier airlines (which connects through Denver for a total of 4 ‘segments’).
I did not make the flight – but when I tried to rebook the flight (and pay the change fee), the airline says I flew to Denver using 1 of the segments. I assured the booking agent that I had not flown and would know if I had done so, but after being put on hold several times for what felt like an eternity, the booking agent insisted that I had actually flown on the flight (and insinuated that I was lying). Upon my persistence, she suggested I call “customer relations” in Denver.
I did so, but now several calls to the airline have not resolved the situation.
“Mary” from Frontier Airlines “customer relations” keeps promising to get the flight logs (to see if I was actually on the plane I suppose) and get back to me – but after weeks and several calls, she never actually gets the logs (she blames this on their ‘subsdiary’) and doesn’t seem to be able to do anything to resolve the situation.
It this day of TSA and “enhanced security,” there is no reason – whatsoever – for the airlines not to know who has flown and who has not. I did not give my ticket to anyone and no one else even knew I wa flying, so I highly doubt someone pretended to me. If they would ever actually check their logs, this would be resolved.
I think they are just “waiting me out.”

(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Toof_75_75 says:

    “I think they are just “waiting me out.””

    But be sure they are taking your case “very seriously.”

  2. homerjay says:

    This reminds me… BRING JOURNEYMAN BACK! That was a great show!

  3. Sportyboard says:

    The creepy thing is… I have a friend named Matthew Campbell, who just came home from school on the weekend.

    I all warned you this would happen – we’re being attacked by an army of replicants!

  4. statnut says:


    Are you a replican or a replicant?

  5. IndyJaws says:

    Surprising you’re having problems with Frontier – they’re one of the better (domestic) airlines around. Hope everything works out.

  6. rolandsherpa says:

    This is not just a Frontier issue. A similar issue happened with my mother on Air Tran (except the opposite…they said she was not on the flight when she was, complete with boarding pass and baggage ticket).

    Did Matthew contact Frontier prior to departure to say that he was not going to be flying?

    Frontier Airlines is one of the best companies for customer service, but they are not perfect. It is a matter of being persistent and asking for a supervisor. They truly “take matters seriously”.

  7. B says:

    It was obviously his evil twin.

  8. Crymson_77 says:

    @statnut: interesing movie reference…Johnny Depp in Once Upon a Time in Mexico, right?

  9. moore850 says:

    That’s some kick ass security, if we can’t prove that someone wasn’t on a plane and that someone else may have taken their seat… maybe my idea of checking id at the gate isn’t so dumb now, eh? If they just scan your boarding pass and you’re on, then this can happen from someone copying the boarding pass of any passenger in the terminal… perhaps over the airport’s free wifi? Think about how easy that would be, I don’t have to spell out all the red-flagging details for it to be pretty obvious.

  10. Black Bellamy says:

    This is what happens when you don’t show your receipt to the greeter right before boarding the plane, goddamnit!

  11. Whitey Fisk says:

    Matthew shouldn’t have booked his ticket under the name “Roger Thornhill.”

  12. ironchef says:

    that’s a bummer for those people with common names.

    I’d would ask them to check the airline manifest list for similar named passengers. It could be a case where the ticketing agent mis-ID’ed a similar named passenger.

  13. kepler11 says:

    Some better explanation is needed regarding what happened.

    What exactly does he mean when he says “I did not make the flight”? Does that mean he checked in for it, and didn’t show up to the airport? Did he cancel his itinerary before the date of travel, or not?

    These factors could lead the airline to declare that his ticket has been “used” despite him not having actually flown.

  14. bukz68 says:

    @ironchef: Exactly right about similar named passengers or the ticketing agent mis-IDing someone. This happened to me while flying to Chicago a month ago. Long story short, I tried checking in and the ticketing agent informed me that I’d already printed my ticket, which I hadn’t. Arguing ensued about whether or not I’d already checked in and whether or not the computer knew better than I did if I was in possession of a boarding pass. Eventually they printed off a receipt and hand wrote “Use in lieu of a ticket.” So I proceeded to fly to Chicago with my pseudo-ticket, a passenger checked in under my name and a number of odd glances from TSA and American Airlines agents.

  15. Adam Hyland says:

    @moore850: “Your” idea of checking IDs at the gate IS dumb. The whole ID scheme is designed to limit resale of airline tickets. While I understand the economic implications (and arguably limiting resale probably helps most of us more than it hurts), the outcome is that we treat a good (a seat on a flight) like a service (the privilege of sitting on a flight) and it tilts the wealth effects in the favor of the companies.

    And in this case, how would a perfunctory check help? Preusmably someone at denver (remember he was flying out of Farmington) had access to the ticket and generated a boarding pass. They then got through security (which is supposed to check boarding passes against ID’s) and on the plane. ORRRRRRR, Frontier fucked up and they listed him as having been on a flight he never took. Either way, gate ID checks would not have fixed a thing.

  16. avsfan123 says:

    Well, he actually flew on Great Lakes Airlines from Farmington to Denver. It is marketed as a Frontier flight, but it’s operated by Great Lakes. That was Great Lakes’ fault that he was shown as “on” that flight but was not actually on it. Additionally, what’s happened in many cases, was that a ticket counter agent has typed in a name for a specific flight, and instead of confirming the name was an exact match, just took the first name off of the similar name list that pops up. TSA, the incompetent bastards that they are, let the person through. If that person actually did not show up, and the mistake was not caught, either by checking ID or the passenger calling to cancel that itinerary segment, it would be as if that passenger took a flight that he didn’t. It literally happens multiple times per week.

  17. Adam Hyland says:

    @avsfan123: OOOOOhhh.

    I misread that. Yeah, I’ve flown Great Lakes before. I’m surprised they marked someone as present who wasn’t there, as their flights rarely have more than 10 people onboard (at least the ones in and out of Phoenix). But since their boarding passes are marked off with highlighters, it doesn’t surprise me THAT much.

    but IIRC, frontier still issues paper tickets for that route, so he ought to have some evidence that he didn’t surrender a ticket for that flight.

  18. viqas says:

    i say charge back if you used a credit card.

  19. B says:

    @viqas: Charge back isn’t an option here. He payed for a ticket and he received a ticket. It’s not the airline’s fault he wasn’t present when the plane took off.

  20. Adam Hyland says:

    @B: That’s not the issue. Of course the contract of carriage shows that what I am buying is a ticket in a 365 day window, but he isn’t disputing that. he is disputing that the airline counted the Farmington-Denver leg as having been taken when he hadn’t flown.

    While I agree that a simple chargeback wouldn’t work because the paid amount was for the full trip, the principle is sound.

  21. volenti non fit injuria says:

    “a Hitchcockian msytery” — classic! i love it!

  22. P41 says:

    It’s clear from the post his only contact with Frontier after missing the first flight was by phone. What’s not clear is did he even make it to the airport, and was the call soon after the flight or a couple days later? If the guy’s at the airport or calls in the first 24 hours, soon enough to rush to the airport and show a booking agent he’s NOT in Denver, then this story is really strange.
    (I had one time where first flight was late, when I arrived to the connecting airport EVERYTHING was closed. When I showed up the next day to rebook my flight, they told me I’d already flown there, but caught on that if I had I wouldn’t be at their airport anymore and rebooked me.)

    If the guy calls a couple days later to say, hey I didn’t bother going to the airport, I’d like new tickets, if their system mistakenly shows taking the Denver flight, they have no way of knowing he didn’t skip out in Denver. But even if their system never had him on the flight for Denver, the tickets are probably lost anyway for not showing up.

  23. specialed5000 says:

    @B: I looked quickly through their contract of carriage, and couldn’t find anything that referred to this kind of situation one way or the other (probably there, but it’s 96 pages long). They seem to be telling him that if he hadn’t been on the first segment, then they could rebook him, less a change fee and less/plus any difference in fare (which is common on many airlines). If it is the airline’s policy is that missed flights can be rebooked, but they are not willing to do that because of their error, then a good case for a chargeback could be made.

  24. Fly Girl says:

    Wow. Sketchy. And… Confusing. There’s some missing information that could make a big difference in figuring out what’s going on here. Did he call in advance to say he wasn’t making the flights? Did he no-show? Did he check in online the night before and THEN no-show?

    A couple of options that I can think of:

    He was accidentally “on’d” for the flight to Denver by the boarding agent. Would have been easy to do if he had checked in online the night before. A little more complicated if he hadn’t.

    Another (simple!) option is checking to see if someone with a similar name to him was accidentally checked in on his ticket and used to it to fly to Denver. For that to happen, it would seem that he would have to be on the same itinerary as him, too… But, I guess anything is possible.

    I’m sure that there’s a pretty easy way for him to prove he wasn’t in Denver– phone call records? Something. So, he should just ask to talk to a supervisor and explain to them that he did NOT take the flight and then PROVE it to them… A reasonable agent will recognize the error and fix it.

    That being said, if he no showed the flight, he’s probably SOL since a no-call/no-show is a valid (and legal! a chargeback won’t work!) reason for the airline to void your entire ticket.

    Do NOT no show flights. Ever.

  25. Adam Hyland says:

    @I Ain’t Tryin’ a Hear Dat!: Eh. you can no-show whatever flight you want. the same provision that allows the airline to bump me without indemnity allows me to stand them up without fear of losing my ticket.

    It is not true at ALL that being a no-show voids your ticket. If I don’t show for a flight, I get he option to move my flight forward by at most 365 days. This might not be costless–I may be charged change fees, but it doesn’t void the ticket.

    Also, to be perfectly clear, this Frontier/Great Lakes issue is specific. Great Lakes is a VERY, VERY small carrier and so has a pretty informal method of checking boarding passes to tickets. boarding passes are typed by operators and have occasionally been filled in manually. The practice of the airline to take that boarding pass from the flyer isn’t 100% consistent. The whole thing is pretty ad-hoc.

    That doesn’t make them a bad carrier. I like great lakes. Their pilots are funny, their CSR’s are nice. They are good people. Frontier is a little bigger, but I can’t say anything bad about them.

  26. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Frontier is definitely in the bottom five of bottom feeding airlines in this country.
    Was there no other option? I’d take Greyhound before Frontier.

  27. Buran says:

    @B: I think it is considering he paid for a service that the merchant/seller is outright refusing to provide to him.

  28. Buran says:

    @B: He isn’t trying to get money back for the flight he missed, but not have to pay twice for the rest of his trip.

  29. MrEvil says:

    I guess the TSA is just full of more fail.

  30. shanerz says:

    This is when you need to tell them to check their manifest. It could have been a simple error (albeit an egregious one) when they were closing out the flight and cancelling your reservation.

  31. endersshadow says:

    The last time I flew Frontier, the cockpit caught on fire at 33,000 feet. Needless to say, I don’t fly Frontier anymore.

  32. VikingP77 says:

    Frontier sucks…I’m in travel and I would never fly them…or Airtran…

  33. Johnyq1982 says:

    Was this the first segment of the flight?

    Do they show him as having flown on the next segment?

    Otherwise wouldn’t he be stuck somewhere between New Mexico and Houston.

  34. ChuckECheese says:

    @P41: If only life were as complicated as television. I think it’s safe to assume that he didn’t go near any airports. Somebody at the airline made a mistake, ticking him off the passenger list when he wasn’t on the plane/didn’t preboard. Funny how when people put lots of details in their stories, they get trashed for writing too much, but when they leave out irrelevant details, people add them in through speculation.

    FWIW, Farmington is in the extreme boonies of northwestern NM, near the 4 corners area. It is a safe assumption that there is no “rushing to the airport” for any reason.

  35. Consumer007 says:

    Maybe…D. B. Cooper is back? Is there a parachute missing from the plane? lol