9News an­chor Kyle Clark, Fron­tier Air­lines trade barbs

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Gra­ham Am­brose

Move aside, Ann Coul­ter. The new­est air­line war stars 9News an­chor Kyle Clark and Fron­tier Air­lines. The two can’t seem to get along, and their week-long war con­tin­ued on Fri­day.

The first shot rang out on Tues­day, when the television broad­caster ribbed the air­line for its awk­ward use of flight at­ten­dants in a news con­fer­ence at Den­ver In­ter­na­tional Air­port. The an­chor also mocked Fron­tier’s fee-based rev­enue schemes, which up­charge cus­tomers for ba­sic ameni­ties like “a carry on, a snack, eye con­tact,” Clark said.

The head of cor­po­rate communications for Fron­tier Air­lines, Jim Faulkner, wasn’t too happy with the piece. In an email to Clark fol­low­ing the seg­ment, he wrote:

“Kyle — you’re a jerk. It’s one thing to make fun of Fron­tier’s busi­ness model, com­plaints, etc., but when you start mak­ing fun of in­di­vid­u­als, that’s on a com­pletely dif­fer­ent level. I’m guess­ing you must have some sort of short­man’s dis­ease since your level is pretty low.”

Faulkner, who was al­ready sched­uled to leave the com­pany on Fri­day, added, “Were you stand­ing on a milk crate so that the cam­era could get your face? Did your golden re­triever die be­fore you took this pic­ture?”

Clark de­fended the orig­i­nal piece with an email that he broad­cast and posted on 9News’ web­site. “My com­men­tary didn’t make fun of your em­ploy­ees. Quite the op­po­site. It sym­pa­thized with them,” he wrote to Faulkner. “My com­men­tary sym­pa­thized with their plight — tak­ing a break from deal­ing with some of Amer­ica’s least sat­is­fied air pas­sen­gers in or­der (to) stand as props hold­ing a banner while an ex­ec­u­tive went on for more than five min­utes.”

He re­it­er­ated that his ire had been di­rected at com­pany ex­ec­u­tives, not em­ploy­ees.

Fron­tier’s VP of Mar­ket­ing, Tyri Squyres, then re­leased a state­ment ad­mon­ish­ing Faulkner, who was re­leased on Thurs­day, a day be­fore his sched­uled de­par­ture. “Mr. Faulkner’s in­ap­pro­pri­ate com­ments re­gard­ing Mr. Clark do not re­flect the views of Fron­tier Air­lines. It was a mis­placed way of de­fend­ing com­ments made about our em­ploy­ees on Mr. Clark’s show last night.”

Fin­ished and done — right? Not quite.

Clark re­vealed in a tweet that Fron­tier had im­prop­erly ac­cessed his travel and reser­va­tions records af­ter he crit­i­cized the com­pany.

“Fron­tier went search­ing my file to see if I’m a dis­grun­tled pas­sen­ger with an ax to grind,” Clark said. “What they found is I’ve been a reg­u­lar cus­tomer for a decade with­out any com­plaints.”

“It won’t hap­pen again,” the air­line said in a state­ment. “We take the pri­vacy of our cus­tomers se­ri­ously and have strict stan­dards in place for ac­cess­ing travel plans or other re­lated cus­tomer in­for­ma­tion.”

Fri­day morn­ing, Clark re­sponded to a query from West­word, say­ing he has no prob­lems with em­ploy­ees, nor does he have plans to per­ma­nently avoid the air­line.

“Am I boy­cotting Fron­tier? I’m not,” he wrote. “Fron­tier has won­der­ful em­ploy­ees who are our neigh­bors. But this week has given us in­sight into how Fron­tier’s head of­fice op­er­ates … and it’s ugly.”

Still, he has not made any prom­ises to drop the dis­pute. “I was due to fly them again in a week,” he said. “Need­less to say, I booked dif­fer­ent flights.”

Fron­tier has not made any pub­lic com­ment on the story.

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