On my way back from Alaska earlier this month, specifically the Anchorage to Denver leg, I was prepared for a long bit of travel back. Two planes, a shuttle bus, a train and then a car. Upon stepping on the Frontier Airlines flight from Anchorage to Denver, I saw what admittedly no single passenger or business traveler wants to see next to you, a screaming infant.
Dun Dun Dun…
My brother and I had been sat in the same row next to a small child (this child screamed literally the whole flight from New York to Denver), on the way out to Alaska, but I wasn’t bothered by it so much. That’s because over time and many, many flights, I’ve learned that an investment in ear plugs and noise canceling headphones is worth every penny. A couple years back I bit the bullet and bought top of the line ones from Bose and I couldn’t recommend them more. With enough padding in your ears, these headphones, and some music playing, children can scream their brains out and I can barely hear them.
Funny enough on the first flight, I arrived to my aisle to find a woman sitting in my window seat. I asked if perhaps I was in the wrong seat, maybe we’d been double booked? But my seat was also assigned to 15A. She said she was pretty sure she was in the right spot and went back to using her phone.
Having flown many, many times, I’m somewhat wise to people’s tricks. If she’d truly been sitting in my seat, she’d take out the stub she’d just handed the agent five minutes before to prove it. “Maybe they double booked us” is my nice way of telling someone they’re sitting in my seat. I’ve never had a situation where the tickets legitimately were printed with the same seats booked.
I politely motioned to the flight attendant and went through the speech again, “I’m sorry to bother you, it’s possible we were double booked.” Knowing the flight attendant deals with this all the time, and knowing exactly what he would do, I sat back as he asked both of us for our tickets. I gave him mine and then watched as she fished for hers. Now her tune had changed a bit, “oh well, I thought my ticket said 15A”
Turns out her ticket wasn’t 15A but was seated directly next to the screaming baby across the row. She gets points for trying to get out of it though. The attendant was obviously busy getting everyone on board and said it didn’t matter to him where we sat. The woman seemed to still be trying to get out of her actual seat and said to me, “Oh I’m fine here…”
I laughed a bit. “oh okay, well I’ll actually take the seat listed on my ticket. Thanks.”
Again, can’t blame her for trying. I was pleased the attendant from Frontier was on top of things. The last thing he wants to do is deal with a passenger trying to taking someone else’s seat, but he handled it simply enough. I don’t recall the male flight attendant’s name, but it was Frontier Flight F9 0507, departing LaGuardia at 4:30pm on August 26th.
The Return Flight
So back to the purpose of the post. Coming back a week later on the Anchorage to Denver leg, upon boarding I was told that “something” had happened with the booking of the family next to me and the father and his infant son were split up. The flight attendant asked if I’d be willing to move to the seat the child had been placed in as the child obviously couldn’t sit by himself. I cringed and asked, “I’m guessing its a middle seat too?…” (I already knew the answer before she replied) She nodded and said it was. Rats.
I can tell that some of these flight attendants go through a lot, dealing with rude passengers, screaming babies, demanding adults, and everything in between. I’ve also heard their pay is related to time in the air and not on the ground, so they want to get everyone boarded and take off just as much as we do. When I’m asked to do something by the flight attendant I usually will say yes if it’s within my power. So although I was highly doubtful that “something happened” with the family’s booking. (This is strictly anecdotal but from what I’ve seen people will grab whatever seats are available and then hope someone will switch with them), I said yes.
Before I did say yes though, I mentioned that I’d be willing to move but that I’d specifically paid additional charges for both my brother’s seat and my own. Frontier makes you pay a bit extra if you want to select your seat instead of just getting a random draw. The flight attendant offered some free drinks when we took off, but as I don’t drink I said that wouldn’t be necessary. I said I’d prefer just to have Frontier offer a refund, and since obviously the flight attendant has no control over my refund, I sat down and planned to contact Frontier when I got home.
The next day I did just that, contacting Frontier through their website. I wrote out a description of what took place and asked for a refund of my seat selection fee as well as a request along the lines of, “any additional credit or refund that you believe would be acceptable for my trouble.” Certainly I could have said “No” to moving, but being asked directly by the flight attendant five minutes before take-off didn’t really give me an option.
Two weeks later however, I have not received any communication back from Frontier. At the least I would like the money I spent on my seat selections to be refunded. Any additional dollars or miles sent my way for being a customer who was inconvenienced would of course not hurt, (if Frontier truly did double book then that’s a mistake they should compensate their passengers on), but I don’t expect it or believe I’m owed it. I would like to have the seat fees refunded though, and as of yet, haven’t received any response. I also have a credit card through Frontier Airlines and I’m certainly more than just the occasional flyer.
I’ll keep you updated if/when I hear back from Frontier Airlines.