Weather at DIA blamed for 200 flights can­celed na­tion­ally, strand­ing pas­sen­gers

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Bruce Fin­ley

Thou­sands of fliers on Fron­tier and other air­lines at Den­ver In­ter­na­tional Air­port and hubs na­tion­wide faced can­cel­la­tions Sun­day — hit by prob­lems cor­po­rate of­fi­cials blamed on un­ex­pect­edly se­vere snowy weather.

Fron­tier Air­lines can­celed about 200 flights na­tion­wide, af­fect­ing an es­ti­mated 30,000 trav­el­ers. Fron­tier spokesman Richard Oliver said the com­pany would not pro­vide food or ac­com­mo­da­tions for stranded trav­el­ers.

“The win­ter storm yes­ter­day was worse than ex­pected. It did not al­low us to op­er­ate on our sched­ule as an­tic­i­pated,” Oliver said.

Fron­tier was un­able to have crews in place to han­dle flights be­cause can­cel­la­tions through­out the na­tion im­peded their move­ments, he said.

From Den­ver, Fron­tier nor­mally runs about 60 flights a day.

Den­ver In­ter­na­tional Air­port of­fi­cials said air­lines played “catch-up” Sun­day and that by 5:30 p.m. op­er­a­tions had re­turned to nor­mal. How­ever, Fron­tier still listed four Monday flights as can­celed — “pre-can­celed be­cause the crew and air­craft will not be in place to op­er­ate them.”

Stranded trav­el­ers slumped around the air­port, some ex­as­per­ated, many scram­bling to ad­just plans. For many, the can­cel­la­tions meant pay­ing out more money than ex­pected.

“Weather-re­lated de­lays do not re­quire com­pen­sa­tion or rooms overnight,” Oliver said. “The same would ap­ply with any other air­line. When it is weath­er­re­lated, we are not re­quired, nor is it in the con­tract, to pro­vide food.”

It was un­clear when flights would re­sume. Fron­tier of­fi­cials said they mo­bi­lized ex­tra cus­tomer ser­vice staffers who were book­ing pas­sen­gers on the next avail­able flights. Fron­tier trav­el­ers could opt for re­funds of un­used por­tions of their tick­ets. Staffers also were scram­bling to move baggage for those who de­cided to stay in Den­ver.

“We’re look­ing for­ward,” Oliver said, “to suc­cess­fully re­solv­ing this ir­reg­u­lar op­er­a­tion and con­tin­u­ing our low-fare ser­vice done right in our Den­ver mar­ket.”

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