COLUMBIA - Mid-Missourians looking to fly to Orlando this summer from the Columbia Regional Airport using Frontier Airlines found out Monday they will need to look for other options. Frontier has removed flights to and from Columbia as of mid-May.
Columbia Regional Airport was notified by several flyers who had booked flights with Frontier Airlines to Orlando that the airline had discontinued its service. Frontier's website lists the last flight in or out of Columbia Regional Airport on May 13.
Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid said the city knew for the past few weeks there was a chance Frontier would withdraw its service. But it did not get confirmation until this weekend. The mayor said it's no surprise since Frontier was most likely losing money in this market. He said Frontier also looks to be restructuring. It has discontinued flights from several other airports, including Colorado Springs.
"You can calculate what the cost of flying those planes from Columbia to Orlando. I mean it's 951 miles. They need to get $15 to 18,000 per flight to break even. And they were selling tickets at $50 each day," McDavid said.
Sedalia resident Jennifer Brown described herself as "beyond frustrated," explaining she had already booked and paid for a trip to Orlando this June. Brown said she found great rates out of Columbia for a trip her family had been planning for the past three years. And now she can't find a flight as cheap as the one she originally booked. She said Frontier has promised her a full refund but said the company has been very difficult to work with. She said she would have preferred Frontier to have contacted her about the changes.
Columbia resident Brant Batson said Frontier allowed him to reschedule his flight for the week before the airline will discontinue its service. But a Frontier supervisor told him there was a chance the company may discontinue service earlier.
For Columbia resident Robert Plemmons, making a trip to see his family in Florida will be a lot more difficult. Plemmons said he doesn't want to lose the company's service.
"Columbia is growing and for it to grow healthy, this airport needs to grow and for it to grow, there needs to be more of an airline presence here in Columbia," Plemmons said.
Frontier has yet to make a public statement regarding its service from Columbia Regional Airport.