COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — It was a travel nightmare for thousands of Southwest passengers when the airline canceled many holiday week flights.

“If you want to talk to somebody, you have to wait in five-hour lines,” one frustrated traveler said the day after Christmas.

Their only hope in many cases was a friendly phone rep. And luckily, Southwest still offers them.

But the newest travel trend is the end of phone customer service. It recently happened to Patricia Magruder while planning a trip.

She was looking forward to taking a trip, but was having trouble getting a voucher from Frontier Airlines to work.

So she called Frontier, but was stunned by the automated message she received.

“They said the phone lines were shut off. They said go to the chat and we’ll take care of you through the chat,” Magruder said.

Like many travelers right now, she was unaware that Frontier recently shut down its customer service phone lines, forcing her to an online chat system that she struggled to use.

“I think it’s very wrong,” she said.

Frontier confirmed its customer care services are now fully digital.

But Frontier is not the first airline without phone-based customer support; Breeze Airways also relies on online chats, texts, and email.

And you can be sure other airlines are watching them, to see if it is a successful way of cutting costs.

Patricia Magruder’s not happy, however.

“For you to not be able to call somebody and talk to them, it’s just not fair,” she said.

But if you are flying with some discount airlines, you may have to deal with this new reality, so you don’t waste your money.


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