Stuck in the Middle of the Alaska Door Debacle and What We Received for Compensation

Kind of late in posting this, I know, but thought you might want to hear of my wife and I’s experience flying the day after this happened.a view from inside of an airplanephoto courtesy of Fox News.

We were flying from our home in Alaska back to DC on Saturday, Jan. 6th. Although we had heard about the plug door incident, our flight Took off from ANC on time at 0100. Made it into SEA just fine and had a nice breakfast in the Alaska Lounge.

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However, our departing flight for IAD delayed from 1000 to 1045 to 1130 and that when I got pretty worried. I made the mistake of heading to the latrine for five minutes and they announced $800 for three volunteers to take a later flight. My wife is calling me asking me what to do, so I hurried back, but ended up number four in line. The GA said she had never seen AS offer $800 right off the bat. Five minutes later they announced the departure was delayed until 1430. I felt our chances of actually flying today were slim to none. Al least we headed to Bambuza to use our Priority Pass for some great Vietnamese food. Bambuza is a favorite hangout of AS flight crews and I over heard three pilots talking about the door – one wasn’t even aware of the incident! The pilot in the know said he heard from an inside source that it was due to missing bolts. As an engineer, I knew that meant this problem was not going to get solved anytime soon as that should mandate an inspection of every type of this aircraft.

We finished our meal and then got the notification that the flight was cancelled. We tried to get the Alaska Lounge to help, but they just steered us to join the line of me and 200 of my new best friends at customer service at the N gates. As soon as we got in line, I called MVPG reservation and just got a busy signal. I tried the MVP Gold line to see if they could connect me to reservations by a back line. The gal was super nice and said she would speak to her supervisor. She came back and said she couldn’t help with the reservations, but gave us each a $250 voucher. Well that’s a good start on an apology – even though this is not Alaska’s fault at all.

Next I tried the res line again and was surprised to get a wait time of only a minute. The agent was nice (as always) and gave me multiple options including flying JetBlue to BOS and then down to BWI. I took the only where we would take AA via Charlotte leaving at 2200 and getting us to IAD at 0700. I thought that was great and went back to the lounge to kill about 9 hours until that flight. Then I got the email and was floored to see that she had booked us for Sunday night, not Saturday night. That’s a no-go since I would miss work on Monday morning.

Calling the res line again, another nice lady whom I explained the problem to. The best should could do for us was an 0800 flight Sunday morning to Charleston, SC on AS and then connect on UA to Dulles which would get us back Sunday night. After asking for a hotel, she said no problem, but I would need to stand in line at Customer Service. That took and hour, but we did get a hotel voucher and while waiting, an email apologizing and giving us each another $200 voucher.

Getting to the Hilton (which said we could not get an elite night credit) and getting back up early the next day. Our CHS fight left on time and we visited Charleston Airport for the first time in 35 years. Then it was UAs turn to go bananas. We were just trying to get a boarding pass and it took up over two hours. The UA flight ahead of us was offering $750 vouchers needing five volunteers. No one volunteered and they involuntarily(IDB) had to off load three pax. First time I had ever seen an IDB, usually they just keep raising the offer until enough people bite. That took forever, because neither of the GAs have ever done an IDB before. Not sure what they received for comp beyond a crappy hotel room, but the rules for IDB are pretty clear that they should have received 400% of the fare or $1550.

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Finally got to IAD about 2200 that night. We basically spent the entire weekend in an airport. For that, we each received $450 in AS vouchers. That’s not a great trade off, but probably fair. Now we need to sweat our HNL flight on Wed.!


One Comment

  1. Wow, that sounds like a very frustrating and exhausting experience. I hope you made it to DC safely and enjoyed your trip despite the ordeal. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

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