Alaska Airlines Has Operations Meltdown, Responds With Classy Apology

by Chris Dong

Companies don’t always own up to their mistakes. In the travel industry, it’s even more rare. An airline would love to blame all delays on “weather” if they could. Alaska Airlines had a meltdown at its hub in Seattle this weekend, and what’s notable besides the meltdown itself is how the airline is responding.

The Alaska Airlines Operations Meltdown

According to a blog post on Alaska’s website, “a severe staffing shortage during a very heavy travel period, as well as difficult weather conditions, unleashed a cascade of problems for us.”

Many ramp workers called in sick and not all bags could not be loaded onto planes before they took off. That meant bags were not arriving at baggage claim, an especially egregious problem during the holidays when people are checking bags full of gifts.

The blog post outlines exactly what to do if your bag did not arrive. (It’s 2019, it’s frustrating that you can’t submit a missing bag claim online. Does any airline offer this feature?)

Owning Up To The Mistakes

While Alaska should not have had this happen in the first place, I’m impressed by Alaska’s response. They not only acknowledged the issue, but publicly apologized in a company blog post. It’s a straight up apology too — no beating around the bush and corporate speak that we’re used to.

…we sincerely apologize to our guests who endured considerable inconvenience and understandable frustration at Sea-Tac Airport over the past two days. With many different factors working against us, we dropped the ball, and by doing that, created an awful holiday travel experience just when people rely on us the most.”

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