BUFFALO, N.Y. — A Niagara Falls woman who flew Frontier Airlines is sharing her travel nightmare on a flight hoping the air carrier improves on what she describes as terrible service.

For Shirley Jimenez and her family their trip to Puerto Rico was smooth and their stay was magical, but it was their return trip that will be unforgettable for all the wrong reasons.

They’ll have memories for a lifetime after her sister’s wedding in Puerto Rico two weeks ago.

“Oh it was very, very nice, everything was a fairytale, honestly, it was very beautiful,” Jimenez said.

But, that fairytale quickly turned into a nightmare on her return trip to Buffalo flying Frontier Airlines. Shirley, her husband and their two teenage daughters flew from Puerto Rico to Orlando, where they encountered long, excruciating delays.

“And these delays keep happening within hours, so one hour turns into two hours, three hours, four hours, they’re giving us the run around no customer service they’re all like literally, physically hiding from us,” Jimenez said.

Jimenez sent News 4 screenshots of alerts she got on her flight — showing delays for a late arriving plane, operational reasons and customer service needs — nothing weather related. Finally, they were able to board.

“We’re sitting on the plane for about 30-40 minutes and after about 40 minutes of waiting on the plane and having every passenger in there packed in, seat belts on, everything put away, they tell us that the flight is cancelled,” Jimenez said.

They ended up sleeping overnight in Orlando International.

The next day Shirley and her family flew from Orlando to Atlanta to get back to Buffalo. What did they encounter there? More delays…

In a statement, Frontier Airlines said they would not offer a refund — they just pointed us to their policy saying refunds are only given for any unused portion of airline tickets. Frontier did offer Shirley meal and travel vouchers.

“I just want the public to be much more aware because the thing with Frontier is they attract customers with their prices,” Jimenez said.

Nationwide, Frontier had the highest rate of passenger complaints among U.S. carriers last year and markets itself for its ultra-low rates. Frontier has announced the airline is restarting non-stop service from Buffalo and Syracuse to Fort Myers this winter, with rates starting at $39.

Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.