COMPLAINT: Why Alaska Airlines Sucks and Could Care Less About You, Your Luggage or Your Time

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Old May 11, 2011, 12:54 AM
Jnwinter Jnwinter is offline
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 1


Why Alaska Airlines Sucks and Could Care Less About You, Your Luggage or Your Time
“Time is important to you, so it is important to us.” – Alaska Airlines

“We understand the inconvenience when a bag does not arrive at your destination. Therefore, if your bag is delayed, we will do everything possible to locate it and reunite you with it as soon as possible. We will make every effort to return your bag within 24 hours, but in most cases we can do this within just a few hours.” – Alaska Airlines

It’s inconceivable that Alaska Airlines has this on their website. I mean if it were true, I think they would have done a lot more to take care of my mom and me when we traveled with them in March 2011. Not to get all sentimental, but these days, time is really all my mom and I have – since I moved away right after high school, we rarely get to see one another. We thought by taking a vacation, we would be able to spend some quality time together and finally heal after my older brother passed away five years ago.

We’re truly disappointed in how Alaska treated us and think that their business has serious faults, but let’s face it, what’s the point in being just another angry blogger that complains about the customer service of company X? I figure if I am going to complain, I might as well have some fun with it…

After nearly five years of planning, my mom and I were excited about visiting Grenada in the Caribbean. Why? Well, when most people travel to the Caribbean, it seems like they always go to Jamaica, the Bahamas, Antigua or St. Lucia but not Grenada. It was unique and we wanted something different. Plus, my mom hasn’t really experienced traveling outside the US and the prospect of going to Grenada made her feel a little like Indiana Jones. I was willing to humor her.

We chose to stay at LaSource, an all-inclusive, adult-only resort because the main objective of this vacation was to RELAX. The last thing we wanted was to be interrupted by a screaming/idiotic/annoying child while lazing by the pool, sipping Margaritas in the blazing sun. The plan seemed simple enough - my mom was going to fly from Billings, Montana and meet me in San Francisco, California. We would then travel together to Grenada. With only one layover in Seattle, my mom’s trip to California seemed like it would be quick and painless. Little did we know, the horror we were about to experience…

Her flight was scheduled to depart at 6am, but because of a random decision by Alaska Airlines to restore their computer systems; it was delayed until 11am. Alaska categorized the delay as “weather-related.” After my mom spent nearly an hour trying to figure out what was going on, an Alaska representative trudged over to the loud speaker, and without pausing for air, barked out details.

Immediately after he finished, people swarmed the counter with urgent requests filled with apprehension and dismay. People who had been traveling all morning were frustrated and angry that they had to wait even longer to get home. Those with connecting flights wanted answers. My mom, on the other hand, was annoyed but realized not much could be done, let me know she was delayed and continued to keep herself distracted by perusing salacious gossip magazines while watching the mental breakdowns of others unfold.

To add to the tranquil feeling she had flowing through her body, an Alaskan representative assured her that her connecting flight, from Seattle to San Francisco, would also be delayed and she would be able to catch it with no problem since all flights were experiencing the same computer outage.

Even though her trip started rocky, she was hopeful and dreamt that she would land in Seattle and her connecting flight to San Francisco would be there waiting.

However, when she landed, she found out that Alaskan Airlines had cancelled ALL flights. Not only were all flights cancelled, but she also noticed an offensively large line, as she walked through the terminal, that seemed to be growing by the minute. She had no idea what everyone was doing waiting in a line that resembled the crowds of people that swarm Ben and Jerry’s on National Ice Cream Day. She decided to follow it and find out.

As she continued to follow the monstrous line that swallowed every inch and corner of the terminal, she was appalled by what she saw – children crying, people barely standing, lying, reading, writing and talking on their cell phones. To her disbelief, this was indeed the line my mom would have to join in order to rebook her flight to San Francisco.

For three torturous hours she played guard – watching other’s spots while they took trips to the bathroom or looked for snacks for their children. Several older customers were unable to stand the entire time and had to sit to take weight off of their frail legs.

Once she finally reached the Alaska counter, she was met with more bad news. There were no more flights that day to San Francisco. This was absolutely unacceptable since she and I were leaving for Grenada at 6am the next day.

Trying to avoid tearing up, my mother explained that she HAD to get to San Francisco to meet me that night or she would miss her flight to Grenada. The employee at the ticket counter did some more searching and after several minutes, realized that San Jose was also in California and he had one ticket left! My mother’s energy resurged and suddenly she felt a glimmer of hope! She would take that last seat and still be able to make it! He then told her to go down to the baggage claim area, ask the representative working to pull her luggage and recheck it on her new flight to San Jose.

When my mom got there, she was met by another ridiculously large line, which took two hours to get through.

She had not eaten anything all day, was extremely tired and felt delusional.

Once she was finally able to talk to a baggage claim representative, they were completely rude and refused to pull any more bags even after she explained her situation. My mom had to get on her flight without knowing if her bag would follow her.

Her spirits continued to plummet when she found out her new flight to San Jose, which was supposed to leave at 7pm, was delayed until 9:45 pm. After two more long hours of people watching, she finally boarded.

When she landed she went immediately to check on her bag. Of course it hadn’t followed her to San Jose, so she went to file a lost baggage claim. The Alaska representative told her that most likely her bag ended up in San Francisco, since that was her final destination originally. She recommended that my mom check in the morning at San Francisco before our flight to Grenada.

Meanwhile, my mom had to call me to come get her in San Jose, which is an hour away from San Francisco. I was already in bed dreaming of drinking pina coladas and singing Jimmy Buffet songs on the Grenadian beach, when my sleep was shattered by the call of my apprehensive and depraved mother. At that point, she had been awake for 22 hours and was completely exhausted.

My boyfriend and I packed up the car, grabbed our Boston Terrier and left to pick her up. My mom should have landed in San Francisco at 12pm, but due to Alaska’s delays and cancellations didn’t arrive until 1am and it wasn’t even WHERE she paid to arrive.

At 6am the next day, my mom and I arrived at SFO and headed to the baggage area to see if her bag was there. It must have been too early for anyone at Alaska to start work, because a note stating to go to the ticket counter was posted. NO ONE was working at the ticket counter either and there were about 30 customers hastily waiting to check in. There was no way we could wait and risk missing our flight to Grenada. So we decided to leave.

Once we arrived at the Miami airport, my mother had a message on her cell phone from Alaska’s Central Baggage Service. The representative stated that she had her bag and would FedEx it to us overnight to Grenada. My mom called her back and provided the address to the Resort. We rejoiced – my mom would get her bag after all!

Once we left Miami, we no longer had cell phone service.

After two days and still no sign of my mom’s bag, we went into the office at LaSource to check to see if it had arrived. It had not, so the employees at the Resort were helpful and called the Central Baggage number for us to try and track it down.

The Alaska representative told the resort employee that the bag was still in San Francisco. It was sent out incorrectly as domestic delivery and returned by FedEx. It turned out that Alaska’s incompetent employees had no idea where Grenada was and thought it was part of the United States. What a shock!

The Alaska representative told my mom to purchase whatever she needed and they would reimburse her. Not only did this woman not know WHERE Grenada was but she seemed to think that the island had its very own plentiful assortment of shopping choices. Grenada is a very remote island, with few stores.

We spent several hours of our vacation calling Alaska. My mom was going on four days without any of the clothes she had bought for the beach trip. Luckily she had packed one other outfit and a few toiletries on her carry on. Alaska stated that they would FedEx her luggage that day and it would get to my mom overnight. My mother told her we were leaving to go back to the states at 5am on April 1st. She said no problem…it would make it.

Since LaSource is a health resort, my mom and I had planned to take several of their fitness classes together, but could not because they required footwear my mom did not have in her carry on.

Even though we did not have much to work with, we got really creative with our outfit choices and we were able to share a lot of my clothes. But that tactic got old fast.

Alaska finally called the hotel and told them my mother’s luggage would not be delivered until late Thursday, March 31st and the way things had gone, we knew there was a chance FedEx would not be able to deliver it in time before we left for the US. After several more hours of tracking and fighting with Alaska – her luggage finally arrived at 5:15pm on Thursday evening right in time for us to leave.

Alaskan Airlines ruined our dream vacation. It’s not like my mom can sport the sundresses she bought for the beach around arctic Montana! But what does it matter? Alaska probably thinks Billings is in Australia.

Obviously, my mom and I know firsthand that life isn’t perfect and **** happens but Alaska makes enough money to compensate us fairly. Delays and lost baggage is to be expected when traveling, but not having luggage for an entire week because of Alaska’s mistakes is completely ludicrous.

Of course, when we got back from our trip, we immediately wrote Alaska and asked to be compensated for the entire trip. We DID NOT want a voucher, as we will NEVER travel with them again. So, what did they do? They offered my mother a $400 ONE WAY ticket and $63. This was stated in a letter from Baggage Claim Services that we received SIX WEEKS after we returned from our trip. My mom called and spoke with the Central Baggage supervisor (Ron) who told her that things happen when people travel and that they were not going to do anything else for us. Are you f$%^&*% kidding me? We had to suffer because Ron and his ****TY team could not decipher between international and domestic shipping? So, basically what Ron implied is that this happens often and people are just **** out of luck if it happens to them. Instead of making it right, Alaska would rather blame their mistakes on the sheer nature of traveling. Weather didn’t do this, my mom was not to blame - it was Alaska’s fault. So as far as my mom and I are concerned, Ron, Central Baggage and Alaska Airlines can go f^&* themselves. Thanks for nothing.

Oh and my mom still had to pay $25 to check the bag she never got…

If you have a choice, DON’T EVER fly Alaska Airlines because they don’t give a **** about you, your luggage or your time.
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Old May 11, 2011, 4:54 PM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 745

Posting a link to your own blog is spamming. Since you obviously have the text of your problem on your computer, you could have easily pasted it in here, instead of advertising your blog. Reported for spamming.

Last edited by Gromit801; May 11, 2011 at 4:57 PM.
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Old May 11, 2011, 7:59 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

This tale tells it all about travel in the US. There were a series of "who cares" moments in this tale... From the long lines, refusal to get any more bags, lack of care or knowledge... And the compo offer is essentially $63.... PATHETIC
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