Frontier’s Head Of Communications Sends Scathing Email To Local News Reporter

Okay, I’m not sure what exactly to make of this, but I’m certainly amused.

A reporter for Denver’s 9News station, Kyle Clark, did a segment about Frontier Airlines’ new route announcement. On Tuesday the airline announced huge expansion, and rather than focusing on the expansion as such, Kyle did a story about how the two Frontier Airlines employees had to hold a banner for six minutes. His point was that Frontier has terrible customer service, and that the airline should be using those employees to help customers rather than making them human props. To me it certainly seems like an odd things to do a story about.

Here’s the segment that Kyle Clark did about this:

Well, apparently Frontier’s head of corporate communications wasn’t too happy with this story, so he sent the following scathing email to Kyle:

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 short-man’s disease since your level is pretty low.

You enjoyed zooming in on our employees and making fun of them. Have you taken a good, long look at your picture above? Seems a bit hypocritical to me. First of all, 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? I’m surprised your high school letterman’s jacket isn’t in the background.

And here’s the real gem from your bio on the Channel 9 website – Clark joined 9NEWS in 2007, drawn by the opportunity to tell meaningful stories alongside the station’s talented photojournalists, who are frequently honored as the best in the nation.

So zooming in on Michael and Lisa is telling a meaningful story? How you treated Michael and Lisa was completely rude and out of line. Sounds more like you’re trying to work through whatever your low self-esteem issues are. So it looks like that in addition to being a jerk, you’re also a hypocrite.

Jim Faulkner

Oh. My. Gosh. For reference, here’s the picture he’s referring to:

draft

Kyle wrote back a response, and then Frontier’s vice president of marketing wrote back the following apology:

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.

Where do you guys stand on this? Was Kyle’s story out of line, and was Jim’s response offensive, amazing, or both?

Comments

  1. The reporter is right & used this as an opportunity to prove a point about Frontier’s notiriously shitty customer service. And Ftontier’s head of communications response back proved his point again!

  2. If you can’t deal with snarky media, you shouldn’t be in communications generally, and for an airline specifically.

  3. Jim Faulkner is stupid. Why would you attack the reporter in a private email? Make a press conference, invite other reporters, mauled that reporter alive in an open statement. Very stupid….

  4. Kyle’s schtick has been going after Frontier for fees, poor customer service, etc. so the storyline is just an extension of that. Easy to see how it might look odd if you aren’t aware of that history.

  5. Was there ever a time where people at fairly high levels in an organization were expected to be professional, or is that just a story people tell their grandkids?

    Local news is local news, highly variable quality, and this is certainly in the range of what to expect. But that response…from a professional adult, who is supposed to be an expert in communications? Just…no.

  6. I’m with Frontier’s PR guy on this one. The reporter got called out for reporting FAKE NEWS and the scathing email was perfect. The company made an announcement and had live team members participating, so what wrong with that?. Unfortunately the follow up apology from the VP Marketing was the usual meaningless and obtuse corporate doublespeak we hear so much these days.

  7. The reporter instead of helping the viewer by showing the new routes, decided to play amateur John Oliver.
    He should have spent three-quarters of the time on the New Routes and 1/4 of the time on his editorial comments.
    The employees were not holding up the banner they were just had hands on the cover until they pulled it down.
    The airline guy who answered in did a good job of making himself even a bigger idiots than the reporter

  8. Thanks to Charlie McMillan for demonstrating yet again that the people shout “FAKE NEWS” at things are clearly morons. The words actually have a meaning, you dunce, and it’s not “I didn’t like what the newsperson said.”

  9. They were both in the wrong to some extent, although I think the news anchor looks worse for the reasons @Charlie McMillan offers. The story about two employees hosting a banner was complete horsesh*t. It seems like it was intended to be a hit job on Frontier (lacking any substance at all), but it does come across as demeaning to these two employees. I’m sure they did not expect to be mocked on local news just for doing their job and assisting during a news conference. It seems totally out of line for the local TV station to mock two random workers like that, when they’ve done nothing wrong and aren’t really public figures.

    All that said, shooting off a profane emails is not generally the best way to respond to unfair news stories. Someone who works in PR of all people certainly should know better. But frankly in this instance the local news anchor deserved it — and the mocking insults in the email are essentially on par with how the news anchor mocked these two random Frontier employees holding a banner.

    All things considered, I think they both are acting like children having a playground fight but the news anchor does seem worse–he instigated this by sort of bullying two low-level employees who don’t have any platform to defend themselves, and then tattled on the PR guy when the PR guy effectively responded in kind with a private email mocking him. Fairly pathetic.

  10. Kyle has his own show, called NEXT and it is NOT traditional news. It is by definition edgy, tongue-in-cheek, snarky and it also seeks to bring different stories about the people of Colorado to its viewers. If you don’t know the history, it wouldn’t make sense. His report makes perfect sense and is part of calling out local businesses (of which Frontier is one) and making a point of the less obvious. They probably watched the tape of the press conference and a producer said – “hey, look at those poor FAs standing there forever holding a banner and looking sad – at least not excited to be there. The story is what’s going on in their head, not what’s being said at the podium.” That’s NEXT. That’s Kyle.

  11. As Mark above says, Kyle’s show isn’t supposed to be your standard local news. That’s what’s on the half-hour before his show. ‘Next’ is supposed to be fun, snarky, sarcastic, and a break from the monotony of normal local news.

    He often highlights companies that treat customers like garbage…and Frontier clearly falls into that category. The fact that one of their senior execs responded by name-calling is the perfect example of what a sh’tty airline Frontier has become.

    And to Charlie McMillan above…any time someone writes ‘fake news’, especially in all caps, I know that they are unable to form coherent thoughts on their own. So thanks for saving me the time of having to read your entire post.

  12. Now you know what to expect the next time Frontier leaves your stranded or 6 hours late. Moral of this story: Don’t fly Frontier!

  13. And what is funny is that it should have been known the letter was going to be made public, because Kyle is known for reading positive and negative viewer comments on the air that are received during the show. And this is a show known for being snarky with stories that everyone makes a big deal out of for no reason. The other note is that most news shows were only devoting maybe 30 seconds to the announcement, and this went over a minute.

  14. This is the American disease. Pretend that. you are nice, care about others, and all those fake smiles. The pretense catches up and make you feel stressed and the real you comes out.

  15. It is disgusting how a corporate communications manager can respond that way Whatever he thought he could have been diplomatic
    I can’t see any major carrier’s equivalent being so undignified
    Someone should review his resume

  16. I’m dealing with similar behavior from my 12 year old 7th grader…when will adults realize they need to grow up?

  17. Being a Colorado resident, I love Kyle Clark. As others have said, his “newscast” isn’t traditional and that’s what makes him so great. Also love that he called out Frontier and their horrid, horrid product and customer service. Per United’s earnings call yesterday, I hope United finally does what it did to Independence Air in Dulles and destroys Frontier in Denver. Of course, not as easy with Southwest a major player in Denver, but a guy can dream.

    Anywho, vote me on team Kyle.

  18. I watch Kyle because he is an intelligent and thoughtful reporter. He does lots of human interest stories on his NEXT program. I saw this segment and didn’t find anything wrong with it. Having flown Frontier I know all about the add on fees 🙂

    I think his comments are right on. Those workers could have come out at the end of the executives babel and unveiled the banner with the route map or better yet, the top banner could have been eliminated all together. Why were they made to stand there like mannequins?

    The video just showed the true expressions on the attendants’ faces. Not sure what the executive’s problem is with that?

  19. The problem is the “reporter” assumes the flight attendants hate working for Frontier. Instead, the video makes the assumption and suggests that they hate their jobs from a few freeze frames of their faces. I think it fits a reporter’s job description to interview the employees and see how they actually feel.

    I like how the previous comment mentions the video shows the “true expressions”. I would know someone’s true expression as well, if I were sent a freeze frame image of someone not looking their best! They’re just doing their jobs in an awkwardly planned press conference.

    This was a terrible fluff piece with no basis to stand on other than the “reporter” hating Frontier and their fees.

  20. Sooo, the Frontier exec that sent the email was supposed to leave the company Friday. Now he is gone, but not before it was revealed that Frontier searched Kyle Clark’s travel records for dirt to use to undermine his criticisms. Kyle’s response tonight was great. That said, I wasn’t a fan of if the original segment, in the context of Frontier’s reputation her in DEN, I can’t say I disagree. Used to fly Frontier exclusively until Republic bought them. Now I fly Southwest. I also chose United post Dr. Dao over Frontier. Their response is just one of the reasons I hate Frontier with the fire of a thousand suns. I will defend Kyle to end though. Best news show on TV, despite this episode.

  21. I think it is one thing to take exception to a story, but another to send such an unprofessional email to the media. I don’t always agree with Kyle, but often I do. In this case he took the high road, which is something Mr. Faulkner should do if he is representing the company.

    Quite honestly, there is a great deal to complain about Frontier, so it appears his suspenders finally snapped. If I was the CEO at Frontier I would be counseling this fellow that he needs to take a more professional tone when acting as the voice of the airline. In fact, I would probably have fired him.

  22. Kyle’s show is an acquired taste. I like most of what he does, not all, but most . The piece he did wasn’t about the employees, it was about how badly the company’s management handles it’s employees. They didn’t look like happy volunteers.
    Then the communications director of Frontier responded badly. My initial reaction was “what a stupid thing to do your last day at work”. His comments were followed fairly quickly by another member of Fronteir management apologizing for those comments.
    It gets better! It turns out that Mr. Faulkner was due to leave his job this Friday, anyway. (I wonder if he still has a new job to go to.) His replacement has to start her new job two days early and immediately does something stupid. She pulls Kyle Clark’s travel history and past complaints. REALLY. Now she is apologizing for doing that.
    Never pick a fight with the press.
    Fronteir has lost this one.
    This kind of entertainment is why I watch the show.

  23. Kyle Clark did his job. Kudos! Jim Faulkner proved how bad Frontier is at everything related to communications. Jim is probably a great case of today’s nepotism, where opportunities are reserved for the privileged instead of the qualified!

  24. I love Frontier’s low prices. Now they charge $90 RT for a seat that spares your kneecaps, and $70 RT for any bag larger than a woman’s purse. So my cheap flight starts at $160 before I even decide where to go. Norwegian flies one way across the Atlantic for close to that price. Back to UA, I guess.

  25. The real travesty is that you book Alaska and Frontier fulfills the flight and gives away your seat for no reason.

  26. Is this “fake news?” Technically, no. It happened. But since that phrase has little meaning in reality – sorry, it does not and has been sensationalized like many catch phrases by all sides – it sure approaches that standard by reporting on a non-story. Is lacking customer service a story? Yes. Does any really think that two employees holding a banner for six minutes is the root cause of a company’s poor customer service? Would a reputable business news source such as CNBC, Fox Business or the Wall Street Journal run this story? Absolutely not. This is just another example of the degradation of quality in news reporting that lacks depth or seriousness. Should the Frontier executive have responded in such an unprofessional manner? No, but was a response warranted had it been presented more professionally? Quite possibly, yes.

  27. Frontier just made a non story a story but invading privacy of a news anchor. What were they thinking? If they will do this to him they will do it to anybody

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