Friday, August 17, 2007

Alaska delays, mis-information and indifference

This is a bit of a long rant...I will send Alaska a Letter, since they should really know how bad this flight was for the passengers. In any case, here was my lovely flight experience flying on Alaska this week.

August 16th - "8am" Flight 325 San Francisco (SFO) to Seattle (SEA) on a 737-400

There were so many bad issues with this flight I will just used bullet points:

- The flight was listed as "on-time" but the Board room agent said "oh no that flight will be delayed". Even as we boarded the plane, the flight was listed as "on time".

- We waited for the plane to be towed from where it stayed over night to the Gate. The Gate was open after the 7:00am flight departed, but the plane did not "arrive" until 7:50am.

- After the plane finally arrived, there was only one flight attendant ready to board the plane at the gate. She was on her cell phone, while the other flight attendants were MIA. (Note this was now 7:50am or so -- 10 mins before we were suppose to depart) . We all waited until the missing flight attendants showed up.

- While boarding the aft flight attendant says through the overhead speakers "We only have 1/4 a tank of water". Not a big deal, but this came off as kinda unprofessional. But even still, if the plane sat overnight, shouldn't of it been filled with water last night?

- At about 8:20am (20mins past departure time) the captain came on to say "oh we have a strong tailwind today so the flight time will be very short" -- ok this made me feel better, but then the delays continued

- After we finally boarded, the ground staff started to scamble to get an "airstart unit" to the plane. These are used when the aircrafts APU are not in working condition. Oddly, the airline knows this well in advance -- so there should be no scrambling around at the last minute if things are well planned. More delays. There was no overhead annoucement for about 10 more mins.

- The flight attendant (!!) comes on and says "oh we will push back in moments, we are just awaiting our take off "slot""-- Ok, now this was probably a lie. It was a clear day in SFO -- no ATC delays in SFO or SEA. The only reason we were still sitting there was they were disconnecting the Airstart hose from the Aircraft. PLUS is the Flight Attendant talking to the tower?

- After a long push back, the ground crew had trouble disconnecting the tow bar from the aircraft. You could feel them trying to jerk it off the nose gear.

-- At this point I have given up hope from any "on time" arrival -- or even close to it.

- The take off and flight were fine, BUT upon landing there was no "sorry we are late". The only comment was "if you have tight connections, check with the Gate agent " It had to be one of the most indifferent annoucements I have EVER heard on Alaska. It just came off as rude and an "I really dont care" attitude.

- Our Sea-tac our gate was not available upon landing, so we sat on the taxiway waiting for the traffic to clear from our gate.

- After finally getting to our gate, the captain comes on to say "Welcome to Seattle - thanks for flying Alaska" No mention of the delay, no mention of the issues caused by Alaska -- that caused our delay. Oh and all those folks connecting? Nothing said about them.

I really do think Alaska has a good product, but the service often suffers from lack of "hustle" on getting planes off the gate, INdifference toward passengers by "senior" flight attendants (ie United Airlines) , and that "you should feel lucky you are flying Alaska" ego.

RANT OVER -- phew!


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