How does Alaska Airlines handle a rolling delay at an outstation?
While I fly 200,000 miles per year and have largely avoided any sort of extended delays over the last two years, my parents hit a horrible delay yesterday in Honolulu.
They were flying Alaska Airlines from Honolulu to Los Angeles and showed up at airport at 11:00AM for a 12:50PM flight. I warned them that they would not have lounge access in Honolulu, but they went early any way “just in case” there were any complications with traffic or security.
Boarding commenced on time and they settled into their first class seats, ready to relax for the next five hours and still make it back home at a reasonable hour.
And then the fateful announcement…
The captain announced a problem with the air conditioning system onboard. After tinkering with it for an hour, the captain announced passengers would need to deplane.
The collective groan was audible.
After stepping off the aircraft, Alaska Airlines emailed each passenger a $12 meal voucher for lunch. Since I booked the trip for them, both vouchers went to my email. These were electronic coupons with a QR code.
The delay was only supposed to be about 90 minutes.
But 90 minutes later the delay was extended another hour. And another hour.
My father sent me the following text message:
Something with the AC system which can cause the cabin to get very hot while in flight. Makes me weary about riding in a 737. 😐
There was a United flight leaving soon with two first class seats which I offered to book them on. They still would have been able to get home in time for a good rest in their own bed. But thinking the delay would soon be over, they declined. I also offered them club passes to United, even though it would have meant walking to the Diamond Head Concourse. They declined.
Long story, short. The flight did not leave until 7:55PM, over seven hours late. They just sat in the gate area the whole time…
(Alaska did issue $15 dinner vouchers about five hours into the delay)
Alaska proactively sent the following email, promising compensation will come. Nothing has arrived yet:
They finally arrived into LAX at 3:16AM…and are currently sleeping.
It could have been worse. My parents were stopping in LA while 70 passengers onboard had missed onward connections.
But I felt so bad, since I planned and booked this trip for them. They don’t travel very often and nothing spoils a day like sitting in the airport for nine hours (unless you’re crazy like me).
The mechanical delay was sad, but Alaska seemed to handle it well. The pilot was communicative, flight attendants friendly, and ground staff prompt to offer meal vouchers (not that $12 gets you very far at HNL).
Most importantly, they made it home safely…even if it was in the middle of the night.
How did Alaska Airlines handle your delay?
“The collective ground was audible. Typo
Hey Paul, you forgot the quotes at the end of your quote.
We had a similar situation on an Alaska flight from Kona to Seattle on February 10. Sat on plane for 3 hours and missed our connection. The worst part was trying to sleep in the airport while waiting for the next flight.We felt the whole episode was not handled well. Also only given water for those 3 hours which we originally told would be one. I would have preferred to get off the plane but they just kept adding time so we really had no idea how soon we would actually leave.
Kind of amazing the crew didn’t time out or they had a spare crew way out in the Pacific. But yeah, s*** happens and Alaska usually at least keeps you informed.
Hi Matthew , a week ago I had a similar experience with Alaska but my delay wasn’t as sweet as 7 hours! The flight was from Albuquerque to Seattle direct flight 2 and half hours easy pie. Well while we were getting ready to tax the pilot realized that the emergency slide had deployed! We were like wait what? I took a couple of pictures of the thing hanging. We obviously couldn’t fly like that and were informed to deplane the plane nightmare! Then the mess started. The staff were friendly and showed genuine concerns about the situation but they also gave so many versions how what would be the next step like if they didn’t know how to handle the situation. Once we were out of the plane, we soon realized that a group of passengers were already booking a new flight because they were instructed to do so. But the rest of the passengers weren’t told that. In fact, the last 25 plus people that left the plane were told to just relax “the flight will be ready in a couple of hours” first big lie! Then there was a line booking a new flight to Portland then Seattle. I asked if we needed to do that change and was told that “NO you can wait if you get a new flight and yours actually leaves (the one with the slide deployed) then you won’t be able to go in that one” I thought shut it’s a gambling situation so I’m gonna wait! Time passed and the miss information continued even with the “online reservations” they continued to assure me that my flight was only “delayed”. Long story short, I missed the flight home to Seattle via Portland Oregon, I missed the option to go to Phoenix then Chicago, I missed the option of getting home sooner even if it meant going across the country to get a route back to Washington state! Ridiculous!!! The best offer they could give me was American Airlines 2 stops Phoenix then Dallas to finally arrive in Seattle next day at 9:45 am! Nightmare!!! They provided us with electronic vouchers but it happened until my husband made a scene about the whole mess!! The vouchers didn’t work, we paid our dinner, slept in a couch in Dallas airport because the connection was 5 hours! I was so stinky, tired, constipated due to stress lol! Paid for our luggage but hey we made in one piece! One point for Alaska was that they offered a $250 vouchers for a future flight even though I think we deserved more than a voucher for all the mess we never signed up for!
Yeah. I saw that. Hit send too quickly. Glass houses…
Alaska will compensate. Still the best to fly IMO.
I was delayed quite a number of hours from SJC to SNA and they were good w/ lunch vouchers at the desk, then before landing we had a $100 or $150 credit, can’t remember, in our inbox. In my case that was more than the cost of my flight so I was happy.
It’d be interesting to contrast this experience with a similar one on United or American in terms of vouchers, communication, rebooking and compensation.
Indeed, I wish I could. Thankfully (I guess) I don’t usually encounter delays.
My last long delay with United out of Austin ended up being 8 hours (announced in 15-30 minute increments, so you couldn’t really wander off). No meal vouchers, no drinks or snacks provided by United until hour 7, and an offer of 500 miles for the delay.
Over 150k miles last year, I had:
– 4 hour de-icing delay on Asiana departing Seoul
– 8 hour delayed arrival and turnaround 2.5 hours into a Japan Airlines Transpacific flight for a medical emergency
– 4 hour delayed arrival for crew rest in Ottawa on United Express
– Cancelled Qantas flight from LAX to Sydney, rebooked from First to Business class departing 2 days later
Please lend me some of your luck!
You are a bad son! Did not add them as a authorized user on a credit card that would give them Priority Pass? Costs $75 a year for chase reserve or Citibank prestige card.
They have one. Did not feel like walking to the Plumeria Lounge.
Matt reach out to me if you get some time to discuss a trip..thanks matt
I got a voucher in my email without asking after a long delay. I think it was $150. It as Alaska.
I think the Alaska name is funny because it’s like I am flying a foreign airline that has cabotage rights even though Alaska is just a remote state, not a country. It’s as if Luxair was flying SEA-IAD.
Alaska airlines started in Alaska, (Anchorage 1932 ) and has had its main hub in Seattle since 1953…Also has smaller hubs in PDX, ANC, SF, LAX, however corporate is in Seattle . Last time I checked Seattle is in Washington state NOT some remote state. Maybe it changed since yesterday ?
“I warned them that they would not have lounge access in Honolulu, but they went early any way “just in case” there were any complications with traffic or security.”
In their defense, HNL security can be horrible. It took us a good 25 minutes in the Precheck line. And don’t forget, not everyone gets a rush from cutting it so close that you reach the gate just in time for final call… 🙂
I don’t think a UC pass would’ve worked. You need a United or *A boarding pass now.
I have an unfavorable story about Alaska airlines….
This past Monday, my husband and I were returning home to San Jose from Maui….. I was downgraded from full fare first class to coach due to a deadheading pilot. I purchased our tickets ten months in advance, on line check in twenty three hours ahead, checked baggage two hours and twenty five minutes before the flight.
I have spent lots of time talking to Alaska customer service since Monday, basically told them they have lost a loyal first class customer.
The Alaska pilots have a contract that states they fly first class to deadhead; other airlines put flight crew in open seats and utilize the cockpit jump seat. I know this because my father is retired United Airlines. This pilot could have sat it the cockpit, but elected to bump a full fare first class passenger.
They lost a regular first class customer on the one…
That’s horrible. How did they compensate you?
Or they could have put the deadheading pilot in an overhead bin, in a lav, or out on the wing!
Commuting is one thing, but if a pilot is flying on an airline-mandated trip after which he will fly another plane (which is what I assume is meant by deadheading), I would want the pilot to be pretty comfortable.
I would be surprised if other airlines leave deadheading pilots to chance.
In order to join an alliance, oneworld in this case, the new member has to show that they meet all requirements according to the alliance. Well with oneworld, long delay is the first task Alaska must prove to have (with Delta in SkyTeam, SkyPeso and expensive ticket; with United in Star Alliance: both long delay and MileagePlus Peso). American Airlines states after this incident “Great job, Alaska. Keep doing the good work and more”.
With all the service Alaska has to Hawaii I’m kind of surprised they don’t keep a spare on one of the islands. That’s a lot of daily flights to rely on the same plane to make it there and back with no problems.
“Something with the AC system which can cause the cabin to get very hot while in flight. Makes me weary about riding in a 737.”
Another internet aviation safety expert in weighs in. Must ground all those Boeings!!!
Oh come on.
I wonder what system AS uses for these vouchers as it requires a backend integration to the F&B POS.
Why is it that folks are quick to complain, yet rarely if at all post about the great flights they have had? Alaska had a mechanical issue; so you would have rather they take off and your elderly parents suffered from the heat! Come on, try showing some gratitude, try giving Grace, just as you expect!
Uh, he did, in the conclusion section where he acknowledged that the staff handled this situation well.
That has also happened to me coming from Hawaii on alaska air. We got in to San Jose at 3am…and I had a flight next day at 8am. other than the 1 meal voucher we got they sent us $100 voucher. And the person I was traveling with lived in Florida and would never use it so that was a waste.
That being said I still love Alaska Airlines. I think they have great customer service agents. And a very responsive twitter team.
I have been majorly delayed out of both San Francisco and Las Vegas two months in a row with Alaska. Both flights were completely cancelled due to mechanical issues. I was told that Alaska had a major employee walkout (150+) in Seattle back in December. They are feeling the effects of it on their planes now. After two trips in a row of issues, I am avoiding them.
Pretty sure that was the baggage handlers.
First world problems are such a bitch, right? Having to wait in a tropical paradise for seven hours to get in their first class seats, and given free food to boot. The rest of the 90% of the world are crying for their plight.