Frontier Airlines Airbus A320 takes off from Los Angeles International Airport on August 27, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Aaron P | Bauer Griffin | GC pictures | Getty Images
Say goodbye to the airline call center – at least to Border airlines.
Last weekend, the budget carrier completed its transition to online, mobile and text-based support, helping it ensure customers get “the information they need as quickly and efficiently as possible”. , spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz told CNBC in an emailed statement. .
Passengers who call the customer service number that Frontier lists on its website now receive the message: “At Frontier, we offer the lowest fares in the industry by operating our airline as efficiently as possible. We want our customers to be able to also operate efficiently, which is why we make it easy to find what you need on Flyfrontier.com or our mobile app.”
Those wishing to text the carrier can get a link to do so sent to their phone.
Most major carriers still offer customer service lines. But Frontier, which charges fees for everything from advanced seat assignments to carry-on bags and snacks, often looks for ways to cut expenses. During its Investor Day earlier this month, Frontier hinted it would stop offering customer service over the phone, a change travel site Travel Noire reported earlier this week.
Jack Filene, senior vice president of clients at Frontier, said during the Nov. 15 investor presentation that the change would help reduce labor costs and speed up transactions.
“We support higher labor rates in the voice channel, and we’re limited to that one-to-one interaction,” Filene said. In contrast, he said a chat agent could handle three requests at a time, or even more.
“Think of the most arcane question a customer could ask that would take many, many minutes to research and get answered by a call center agent. The chatbot can answer that very quickly,” he said. he declares.
Frontier posted a profit of $31 million on $906 million in operating revenue last quarter. It spent $182 million on labor costs, its second biggest expense after jet fuel, up nearly 70% from the same period in 2019.
The change to Frontier comes as long wait times on customer service phone lines and other channels have frustrated travelers this year, many of whom have also faced increased delays and cancellations over the past summer, aggravated by labor shortages.
Airline executives have added staff, while rolling out more channels for customers to change flights themselves or communicate via text.
Frontier isn’t alone in forgoing a call center. Breeze Airways, the new American company launched by JetBlue founder David Neeleman, only offers text, email, or messaging options for customer service.
“With online options, our average guest request is processed in 15 to 20 minutes,” Breeze spokesperson Gareth Edmondson-Jones said.