9News anchor Kyle Clark, Frontier Airlines trade barbs
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.