Class-action suits against Frontier Airlines allege customers received vouchers instead of refunds

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DENVER (KDVR) – At least five federal class-action lawsuits filed against Frontier Airlines since April allege the company failed to provide proper refunds to customers whose travel plans were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Instead of fulfilling its obligations under federal law and honoring its passengers’ contractual rights, Frontier has engaged in a pattern and practice of denying refund payments to its passengers for flights cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” one suit, filed in the name of plaintiff Shirley Johnson, alleged.

The federal complaint, filed this week, said Johnson bought a round-trip ticket for a flight that the airline eventually canceled due to COVID-19.

“Under Frontier’s Contract of Carriage, Ms. Johnson had the contractual right to a refund. But instead of honoring this contractual right, Frontier issued Ms. Johnson a voucher for future travel and refuses to refund Ms. Johnson the amount she paid for her ticket” the complaint said.

According to a Frontier spokesperson, the company cannot comment on pending litigation. 

“Covid-19 has had an extraordinary impact on the entire travel industry and the traveling public. Frontier has strived to accommodate customers compassionately and fairly. At all times, we have remained in full compliance with DOT rules and regulations governing such matters,” said Jennifer De La Cruz, a spokesperson for Frontier.

De La Cruz also said that passengers who were issued a credit during the COVID-19 pandemic were given 90 days to use their credit to book another reservation.

“Note that travel does not need to occur within the 90-day period,” she said. “Travel can occur anytime through the end of the airline’s published schedule which currently runs through September 2021. Additionally, Frontier’s standard change policy allows customers to change their reservation for free outside 60 days of the scheduled date of travel.”

“As a citizen of Colorado, my firm and our clients want the companies who call our great state home to be a law-abiding and good corporate citizens, especially in a time such as this,” said Scott Kamber, Denver-based attorney who filed a similar class action lawsuit in April.  “Many people need the money they were going to use for travel to feed their families and get through this crisis and vouchers do not help them do that,” he said.

Kamber also represents the Atencio family, which is not named as a plaintiff in his suit, but had to cancel flights due to the pandemic.

“I did advise Frontier multiple times that we were in a financial crisis and that we really needed them to release our money from being basically hostage,” said Amanda Atencio, whose family spent more than $4,000 on flights to Mexico but canceled them when the Department of Defense restricted travel for thousands of military and civilian personnel – including her husband – at the height of the pandemic.

“They would not refund us because we voluntarily canceled our flights,” said Atencio. “It wasn’t like we voluntarily canceled it, the DOD issued a ban, and there was a pandemic,” she said, explaining that the airline would only offer vouchers so the family could book a future trip.

“By not giving their customers the cash refunds to which they are legally entitled, Frontier has made the judgment that its corporate finances are more important than the personal finances of the Atencios’…and the tens of thousands of other class members who counted themselves as loyal customers of Frontier,” said Kamber.

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