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Frontier Airlines eliminates telephone customer support

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Frontier Airlines Airbus A320 takes off from Los Angeles international Airport on August 27, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.

AaronP | Bauer-Griffin | GC Images | Getty Images

Say goodbye to the airline call center −not less than at Frontier Airlines.

The budget carrier last weekend accomplished its transition to online, mobile and text support, which enables it to be sure that customers get “the data they need as expeditiously and efficiently as possible,” spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz told CNBC in an e-mailed statement.

Passengers who call the shopper service number Frontier lists on its website now get the message: “At Frontier, we provide the bottom fares within the industry by operating our airline as efficiently as possible. We would like our customers to have the ability to operate efficiently as well, which is why we make it easy to seek out what you would like at Flyfrontier.com or on our mobile app.”

Those that wish to text with the carrier can get a link to accomplish that sent to their phone.

Most major carriers still offer customer support lines. But Frontier, which charges fees for the whole lot from advanced seat assignments to carry-on luggage and snacks, is usually on the lookout for ways to chop expenses. During its investor day earlier this month, Frontier hinted that it might stop offering customer support by phone, a change that travel site Travel Noire reported earlier this week.

Jack Filene, Frontier’s senior vice chairman of shoppers, said in the course of the Nov. 15 investor presentation that the change would help lower labor costs and speed up transactions.

“We’re supporting higher labor rates within the voice channel, and we’re limited to this one-to-one interaction,” Filene said. In contrast, he said a chat agent could handle three inquiries without delay, and possibly more.

“Take into consideration probably the most kind of obscure query a customer might ask that might take a call center agent many, many minutes to research and find a solution to. The chatbot can answer that in a short time,” he said.

Frontier had a $31 million profit on $906 million of operating revenue within the last quarter. It spent $182 million on labor costs, its second-biggest expense after jet fuel, up nearly 70% from the identical period of 2019.

The change at Frontier comes as long hold times on customer support phone lines and other channels vexed travelers this yr, a lot of whom also faced a surge in delays and cancellations over the summer that were worsened by labor shortages.

Airline executives have added back staff, while also rolling out more channels for purchasers to alter flights themselves or to speak over text.

Frontier is not alone in forgoing a call center. Breeze Airways, the brand new U.S. carrier launched by JetBlue founder David Neeleman, offers only text, email or Messenger options for customer support.

“With online options, our average Guest request is accomplished inside 15-20 minutes,” Breeze spokesman Gareth Edmondson-Jones said.

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