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Frontier Airlines and Denver-Cozumel Disaster

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Frontier Airlines and Denver-Cozumel Disaster

For all you who travel to Cozumel during Spring Break, heads up. Husband and I flew Frontier Airlines down to Coz, Sat., March26, no problems. Flew with Apple Vac., but this plane was NOT an Apple charter, and not an Apple problem. Apple uses that plane to go to Coz on direct flights. Stayed one week at IB Cozumel...loved it, but been there before, husband is a diver. Now comes the unexpected disaster. Return Frontier flight scheduled for Sat., April 2 and picked up at hotel by 1PM for 3:30 Pm flight. All is well, got through in fine shape with security and on plane on time, though several other flights going back to the states had been delayed. On plane, ready to take off, and announcement comes on that plane would be delayed due to flight attendant had become ill and paramedics were being called in for evaluation. The fifteen minutes went by, then came another annoucement, the whole plane would have to deplane and take all carry-on off plane as the flight attendant was being taken to hospital, and Frontier could not tell us what would happen next until 2 hours from then. Not a good sign. So we all get off, file back into the airport, and now only 2 flights are left to fly out of the airport for the night. Unfortunately, when this happens, the airport is so small with only a few flights out a day, when those flights were out, the whole airport closes for the night and NOTHING is open. Those flights are on the way out, and we still have no feedback. FINALLY, almost 4 hours later from the scheduled departure, we are told by Frontier that we need to go back to luggage claim and claim all our checked bags and return to the Frontier Customer Service counter in the airport as they would issue a voucher for TWO nights in a hotel, as there were no flights out of Cozumel back to Denver until Monday, and that was it. You did not want to see the chaos that came next...it got UGLY. In the meantime, the explanation was that because the flight attendant could not go back to work, due to the lack of anymore flight attendants in the area including Cancun, there was no back-up for a flight back to Denver the next day as that plane only flies Sat., Mon., and Thursday. That plane had to go back to Denver with its crew as the plane was needed for another destination the next day from Denver, and could not stay in Coz.. So ,Bye-Bye plane and crew, and passengers are stuck in Coz. for 2 more days because there wasn't enough flight attendants available because one was ill. Rumor had it that they checked Cancun, but any extra flight attendants with lay-overs were out drinking...great! So, for the next 3 hours we all cattle-herded into lines for agents to try to scrounge around and find over 150 people rooms for 2 nights in Coz until they could get a plane out sometime on Monday. Of course, being Spring Break, it was a nightmare tryng to get hotels for all of us. In the mean time, the agents that were suppose to be Frontier, really were agents for all airlines that fly in and out of there, so they were clueless. They had collected our immigration forms out of the country and exchanged them for boarding passes, but when we came back into the airport, they could not give our immigration papers back as they said they had over 1,000 of them to look for and could not possibly produce them as the airport was closed. So, not only are we in line to get hotel rooms, but also illegals in the country..and no paperwork except our passport. If we wanted to fly out of Cancun, we would need that immigration paperwork. One poor man had scheduled surgery in California as several families on the plane were from there, and he had no way to get back to his home now for surgery for Monday morning. Finally, after our scheduled departure for Denver at 3:30 PM was cancelled, we finally left the Coz airport At 11PM in a taxi for a flea-bag hotel in the middle of San Miguel at midnight. The passengers were scattered all around the town, but were issued a voucher to eat our meals just for our plane at one particular hotel not too far from the hotels they put us up at...but it was not pick your meal off a menu, it was a small buffet the hotel put on just for our plane passengers. To say the least, it was recycled salad, soups, and hot dogs. Not a good impression for Frontier after all we had been through. We were put up at probably at the worst hotel, box air conditioner in the room that barely worked and a rock band that played all night outside our hotel, but able to change the next day to the main hotel where most passengers were put up. But we had to drag our 4 bags through 5 blocks in San Miguel through the alleys just to get to the hotel the next day, as no one offered any taxi to do this. We got in around 2PM, then Frontier said they would pick all passengers up at this hotel at 3AM Monday morning as they arranged a special flight for all of us back to Denver Monday morning at 5:45 arriving Denver at 9AM. That went smooth, only plane in the airport at that hour, as we opened the airport with our flight. We didn't get ANY food on the flight back, however, we were issued vouchers for the trip, but the flight attendants were clueless on how much the vouchers were for and they said that to us. Not a good crew or customer service for Frontier. So, just a heads up to anyone that flies to Cozumel, if you get stranded there, don't count on getting back the next day...since it is an island with very few flights, they only fly when their scheduled flights are due for the days they are scheduled. Good Luck!

Littleton, Colorado
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1. Re: Frontier Airlines and Denver-Cozumel Disaster

WOW, I'm so sorry that happened to you. What a horrible way to end a trip. We have had nothing but good luck with Frontier and they are our airline of choice. In Cancun and Costa Rica we have seen other airlines grounded but we have been able to jump on our plane and leave. I have to say that it probably was rumor that the Cancun flight attendants had been drinking and couldn't fly. That sounds more to me like disgruntled passengers. Just a question did you HAVE to stay with the other passengers? I would have connections at a different hotel and was wondering if it happened to me if I would HAVE to stay with everyone. I'm sure it would make it easier on them to get the updates out if everyone was in one location however.

Destination Expert
for Akumal, Riviera Maya, Cancun
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2. Re: Frontier Airlines and Denver-Cozumel Disaster

Not to downplay your experience (because it does sound truly horrible), the reality is that nothing good follows a last-minute flight cancellation - and I honestly don't think it matters a jot which airline is involved.

Our flight from Calgary to Houston was similarly cancelled after boarding due to some sort of computer problem with the plane. The ensuing debacle took several hours to get sorted out - you honestly would think that Continental had NEVER had a flight cancelled before! My husband and I ended up having to overnight in Houston as we missed our same-day connecting flight to Cancun. In Houston, we were told that if we wanted access to our checked luggage, we would have to wait as much as six hours - yikes. Several passengers on our flight had some serious time constraints - one couple were flying out to get on a cruise ship and go on their honeymoon; another couple were attending her sister's wedding (and were, in fact, part of the wedding party) and another gal was connecting to a flight to Peru .... and there wasn't another one for five days.

What I took away from that experience is to try your darndest to fly out a day early if you absolutely, HAVE to be somewhere (like at a cruise ship or a wedding .......or a hospital where you have surgery scheduled). Also, hope for the best but prepare for the worst - ensure that your carry-on contains a change of undies, a clean shirt and any other essentials, including prescription meds.

Cape Town, South...
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3. Re: Frontier Airlines and Denver-Cozumel Disaster

Wow, you really need to learn how to use "paragraphs"...very hard, if impossible, to read this. {"":"}

Marsa Alam, Egypt
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4. Re: Frontier Airlines and Denver-Cozumel Disaster

A "disaster" would have been the plane going down in the Gulf of Mexico. What you experienced was an inconvenience, and for anyone who has done a fair bit of travelling, it happens.

Hit the "enter" key on your keyboard once in awhile.

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371 posts
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5. Re: Frontier Airlines and Denver-Cozumel Disaster

So what happened to the ill flight attendant, were they okay?

I bet it was their idea to fall ill just for a day or two in a Mexican hospital.

You were inconvenienced, and compensated for it. By no means was it a disaster.

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6. Re: Frontier Airlines and Denver-Cozumel Disaster

sorry to hear about your disaster, to me it would be a dream to be trapped in cozumel for a few extra days.

Colo Spgs
Destination Expert
for Cozumel
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7. Re: Frontier Airlines and Denver-Cozumel Disaster

You need to change your attitude. With flying, stuff happens. People will be inconvenienced. Solutions to an event like this will naturally be harder from Cozumel than from a larger US airport.

There are FAA rules on required number of flight attendants. My guess is that it is related to safety if there is a real problem.

Grand Rapids
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8. Re: Frontier Airlines and Denver-Cozumel Disaster

Not sure what the disaster was, and what you wanted them to do in this case?

My wife works for Delta, and I know the whole industry thing, and I don't see anything that Frontier did that any other small airline wouldve/couldve done different other than do what they did, but maybe a little sooner. When you get on these small airlines with limited flights, your at the mercy of the rules, schedule, hotels available, and number of employees they have working at the airport etc.

Yes, I get a little upset when the airlines (Insert any airline) don't keep us informed a little better, what happened or what is the next option at the gate when there is a problem, and they all do it. This doesnt categorize as a disaster by any means. A disaster would for this same thing to happen in Detroit...


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9. Re: Frontier Airlines and Denver-Cozumel Disaster

"stuck in Cozumel"


Not at all trying to downplay what you went thru but my first reaction was I would have asked when the next flight was, then dragged my bags out to the street and headed back to my hotel where I know I could have gotten a room. Yes, it would have cost me money but if I am going to be stuck in Coz, I am gonna enjoy it!

I do think that this is a good heads up for people to be prepared. IMO Cozumel airport ALWAYS acts like it's the first time they have ever had flights come and go.

Liverpool, New York
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10. Re: Frontier Airlines and Denver-Cozumel Disaster

My heart was in my mouth when you said "husband is a diver. Now comes the unexpected disaster."

I'm afraid, after that, and the relief your husband was not in an accident, the inconvenience kind of paled.

I'd have been well upset if I had lost two days going the other way.

Things like that happen. I think, given the amount of travelling I have done and do, I'm pretty lucky that the percentage of inconvenience compared to how often things go ok is in my favour, and probably is for most people.

I'm not trying to make light of your little adventure but let's keep "disaster" for when it fits. There are certain parts of the world, particularly at the moment, that being stuck in for two days would be no picnic.

Cozumel isn't one of them.