Frontier cancels Columbia, Mo., to Orlando flights; families left with Disney trips but no airfare

Passengers to get full refunds

DENVER - Trips to Disney World may be on hold for families in Columbia, Mo., after Frontier Airlines scrapped direct flights to Orlando it recently launched.

Frontier started service from Columbia to Orlando on Nov. 20. The airline recently announced that -- after May 13 -- the flights will be discontinued.

"High fuel costs and shifting market demand impact all carriers and these are decisions we must make to remain a viable airline," Frontier responded to one commentor on its Facebook page.

"Regrettably, the bookings did not meet our expectations for a new market," Frontier said in a different comment.

Paula Backues bought airfare for four for less than $500, and then booked a hotel room and bought tickets to Disney World for her family.

"So we are four figures in right now and without the flight to get there, it's going to be a bad deal," Backues told 7NEWS. "It seems only fair that Frontier would reaccommodate us on another carrier."

Initially, Backues received an email letting her know her reservation had changed because the airline had discontinued the service. The email included a form to fill out for a refund and a phone number for reaccommodations.

Then, she received an email that said:

Frontier Airlines has recently made a schedule change that affects a portion of your itinerary. Because of the availability of alternate flights, we have not automatically updated your travel itinerary.

When she called, she found out she could only get a refund and that no other flights were an option.

7NEWS went to Frontier's corporate office near Denver International Airport to find out why. The Director of Reservations told us that was a communication error and that passengers would be offered reaccommodations, but would have to pay full fare from other airports, such as St. Louis or Kansas City, which are two hours or more away.

"Just doing a quick search today at what our other options are cost-wise, it's not looking very good," said Backues. "It's not just the airfare difference that we're talking about, but it's the gas for the two-hour drive back and forth from St. Louis, and Columbia airport doesn't charge for parking."

Families in similar situations are commenting on Frontier's Facebook page.

"What I need and all the other families need is for you to make it right," one customer wrote on Facebook.

"I understand that you're disappointed and, while we're unable to provide alternate flights, we are listening," replied Frontier.

"The rest of my trip is non-refundable and now the next comparable airfare is 380 dollars more per person. Very disappointed Frontier, very disappointed," wrote another customer.

Frontier responded to most, if not all, of the comments.

The Backues' are still planning on their Disney World trip, but hopeful they can get a deal to rebook.

"We just hope that we don't have to shell out another arm and leg to get there," said Backues.

American Airlines is the only other carrier that flies out of Columbia, with flights to Chicago and Dallas.

7NEWS reached out and is waiting to hear if American can help any of the customers.

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