Alaska Airlines - what's wrong lately?

Dec 13th, 2003, 02:57 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 116
Alaska Airlines - what's wrong lately?

Recently my daughter returned from school for a visit, flying Medford-Seattle-Bellingham and back. The flight from MFR was 3 hours late leaving. Several phone conversations with Alaska and Horizon reservations and daughter's questions of gate agents in Medford gave us several different answers to our question about her making the last plane that night out of Seattle to Bellingham. Yes, they would hold it, no, they NEVER hold them, yada yada. Finally, at 10 p.m., a phone agent told me to get in my car and DRIVE the 90 miles to Seattle to get her or she'd have to take the next plane out in the morning. Ten minutes from Seatac, daughter phoned to say that they had grounded the Bellingham plane for an hour due to mechanical difficulties and that she would be late coming in to Bellingham. This is on a flight that I was told she WOULD NOT make, due to the time her MFR flight left the ground, and now it turns out they had her on that plane, but it was only because of mechanical difficulties that she was still in Seattle. I told her to tell that GA that she was being picked up and they'd better not cancel her return after the holiday.
I have emailed and written Alaska and have received no response. I requested they at the very least refund her the portion of the missed flight, due to their complete miscommunication that night and the fact that I had to make a 180-mile round trip unnecessarily to pick her up.

I have flown Alaska for several years and it seems their service is deteriorating. I read a post here where somebody had written Customer Service with a complaint and had a response quickly. I have had nothing. And to top it off, she has not been credited with her NW Worldperks miles for the flights that she took over two weeks ago.

It is reasonable that I should demand a refund for the flight she missed, in fact I am more thinking they should provide her with a voucher for an entire new round trip.

Thanks for letting me vent. I'm not sure what's up with Alaska these days and am considering going back to using NW for mileage accrual.

inthechips is offline  
Dec 15th, 2003, 09:00 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
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I suggest you calm down and read your own post again. It looks as everything is about your daugter. Things happened. Did she get home safely? Be greatful how things turned out.

'at 10 p.m., a phone agent told me to get in my car and DRIVE the 90 miles to Seattle to get her or she'd have to take the next plane out in the morning.'
Were you expecting any airlines to have a commuter plane for your daugther this late (after 10 pm)? I am certain that an agent did not tell you to get to your car and drive to Seattle. What happened you were all mad and upset and when he or she told you there was no plane until the nxt morning you told him/her "Do you want me to get to my car and drive 90 miles to bring her home?" You see I understand your frustration but try to be reasonable.

'It is reasonable that I should demand a refund for the flight she missed, in fact I am more thinking they should provide her with a voucher for an entire new round trip.'

Come on. No, it is not reasonable. Do you know how many of us missed connections for many different reasons? Let us all ask for a full refund!

'I had to make a 180-mile round trip unnecessarily to pick her up.'
She could wait and get a good night sleep in a hotel near the airport or stay in the airport for a few hours.

Tell her in a future she needs to schedule her flights first thing in the morning so if there is any delay she will have an option to get on a later flight.

Last September our flight from Anchorage to Seattle was canceled and we had to leave four hours earlier. Should we ask for a voucher for an entire new round trip?

Mama is offline  
Dec 15th, 2003, 06:43 PM
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Sorry, but I was told to get in the car and go get her.

It makes no sense for someone to leave the airport (esp. in Seattle with its iffy security lines), spend the night in a hotel, get back to the airport at 5 a.m. for a 7 a.m. flight to fly 90 miles.

She is a student, she had no choice but to schedule the flights she did.

My beef is simply that nobody that night could give me the same answer twice.

It was if they made it up as they went along. That is my complaint, not schedule changes. I fly all the time, I am aware of schedule changes.

Thanks Mama however for your input.
inthechips is offline  
Dec 16th, 2003, 04:37 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
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I'm sorry if my comment was a little too strong but as a very frequent flyer I know how things work and when something goes wrong I learned to calm down before thinking what action I should take.
We too fly commuter planes (140 miles) and when we lost a connection in Newark last time it was 11 pm when we got to the hotel and had to be in the airport back for our 6:30 am flight.
You have to admit that was a silly thing to do to drive almost 200 hundred miles at night.
The most important she is fine, got home safely and you got to spend some time with her. I read some of your posts and concluded you too are going be fine. It is not worthy to get that upset about such incidents. So where is your next trip?
Mama is offline  
Dec 16th, 2003, 06:47 AM
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Oh, I am already fine, it just was something I needed to vent about - we probably fly 8-12 times per year, mostly for pleasure and we have encountered an endless array of challenges. What frustrated me the most about that night, as I said, was the complete lack of consistency in any information I got from Alaska/Horizon. No two people could give the same answer - that caused the most chaos that night.

Hawaii in January, Mexico in February, New York in March ... those are the next ones on the radar!
inthechips is offline  
Dec 20th, 2003, 02:19 PM
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Alaska sent a $50 voucher for future travel, credited my VISA for the value of the missed flight, and sent an apology letter to my daughter. Somebody was apparently listening.

Schedules are unpredictable, I know, but it is nice to call and get the same reply at least more than once. Maybe that's just wishful thinking.

In the meantime, Horizon's schedules out of Seattle are lacking, but we don't have much too choose from, unfortunately, and they know it.

Glad this worked out, this time.
inthechips is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2004, 11:25 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 33
I fly Alaska often and haven't experienced many problems. THough America West seems to be detereorating quickly. But living in Portland, for short flights i have no choice but alaska, so hopefully this problem is not a reccuring one.
ChaseMan99 is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2004, 10:27 PM
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I think the company handled your claim very nicely. They refunded it for you PLUS a 50 dollar voucher.
From airliner experience.. delays, misconnects, cancellations, especially so late in the day, are a very confusing thing, not only for passengers but for the agents. some may interpret info in the computer their own way. Understand that airlines do indeed try their best to get you there any way possible, however because it was so late in the evening, options are limited.
Also.. Medford to seattle and seattle to Bellingham are purely Horizon routes.
Alaska and Horizon are both owned by the same parent company, Alaska Air Group, but they are indeed two separate airlines.
Regardless, everyone who has flown more than once in their life has had a trying experience. delays, mechanical problems, weather, crew, fuel, security, etc. lots of things have to fall exactly into place to get a flight out on time and sometimes it just doesnt happen. its frustrating.. but you have to expect things can happen when you buy an air ticket. im glad Horizon's consumer affairs took care of you.
random bits of air travel tips:
book online but always be sure you know what youre getting yourself into. make sure you understand all the rules regarding standby, missed flights, baggage limits, and if flying intl, including canada and mexico, entry requirements. from airline point of view, its passenger responsibility to know all that stuff.
booking with the airlines own website often is cheaper that expedia/travelocity/orbitz and no booking fee. the airlines own website also is far more clear on the ticket rules than the generic sites.
when choosing a prereserved seat, take anything you can get, even if it is a middle. later contact the airline itself for better seats, they may be inclined to let you have seats that they are holding for their elite frequent fliers. but in any case, get yourself a prereserved seat, even if its a particularly ugly one, bc this can help ya out by insuring a seat on an oversodld flight.
layovers of more than an hour may seem like a waste but airlines delay for a million reasons and that 44 minute layover which seemed like a great idea when you were booking is really a bad idea when your flight just took a 36 minute delay due to weather perhaps. if all goes on time, at least you have time to get a meal or use the facilities and not need to rush. 90 minutes is a good amount of time for a layover.

: )
MsDama is offline  
Jan 25th, 2004, 10:58 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 7
As a brand new Fodorite, I couldn't resist a reponse to your Alaska Airlines difficulties. I don't doubt it was a frustrating experience for you, but I think you should realize that one bad experience doesn't make an otherwise a fine airline a bad one. Things like this can and do happen occasionally;that's life! Am glad that Alaska compensated you nicely.
As an Alaska FF member (for many years), I can't speak well enough of their service and help any time I needed it. And,I love their very competitive prices and their Web site( so easy to navigate). No matter how much comparison pricing I do elsewhere, I usually end up finding THE best deal on Alaska's Web specials. 'nuf said. Good luck in all your future travels.
gottarun is offline  
Jan 30th, 2004, 07:35 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 757
I agree with gottarun, Alaska has always been good when I have flown them, never had any delays yet and they have ALWAYS helped me with problems, every time!
Deborah is offline  
Jan 30th, 2004, 11:57 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 596
Hi - inthechips. I am from Bellingham also. I know I have posted this on the board a while back so I won't go into a lot of detail. My husband and I were robbed in Turkey and lost almost all cash plus our airline tickets. We had just enough cash to get tickets from Seattle back to Bellingham. There are probably not many ticket counter employees who would slip a $20 bill in with your tickets out of their own wallet. I asked her why and she said maybe we might need a cup of coffee or a taxi home from the airport. Sorry you had a bad experience with Alaska.
Louise is offline  
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