Last Friday afternoon I was supposed to fly from San Diego to San Francisco on Alaska Airlines. We all know that the airline industry as a whole has gone down the tubes lately, but the 7 hour ordeal I went through was just a little over the top – talk about a business that could not care less about their customers.
It first started with weather and air traffic control delays – a problem which seemed unique to them as 3 United Airlines flights for San Francisco left with no problems. They then boarded us and announced that we had one additional delay. When our time to leave came up they told us that one of the air-conditioning packs was on the fritz – even though I could swear that we were still getting fresh air through the vents. When that was fixed, a circuit breaker tripped, and we all had to deplane. We each got a $6 meal voucher which got you a small pizza with no toppings and no drink – pepperoni or anything else had to be paid for by the customer.
We were then told/lied to that we would leave on an airplane that was parked at the gate next door with the same crew except for a new pilot. In the meantime I noticed that they had changed the flight number at the gate with the supposedly broken plane to a later San Fran flight.
When we finally boarded our flight one guy from the later flight tried to get on ours and was told that his flight would board momentarily at the gate next door. Knowing that the plane was broken, and having been lied to all night, I felt bad for him – thinking he would not see San Fran that night.
Our new plane had no power, since power could only be turned on by the pilot who had not yet arrived – a new twist in the story as I was led to believe that we had a new pilot who was already in the San Diego airport. No power means that it really gets hot, and it also means that the toilets do not flush, so it really gets stinky too. After being in there for awhile we saw the other airplane – the one we were on originally – take off for San Francisco! Once that flight was gone we were told that our pilot had arrived but that he was so ill that he had to be taken away by paramedics…so they cancelled the flight.
Couldn’t they come up with a better story?
Obviously they decided that since we were so delayed already they were better off canceling our flight and having the next flight be an on-time departure. Instead of telling us that, they kept us at the airport for another few unnecessary hours and then made us board an empty plane so that we would not rebel when the later flight took off…
…of course, there was no budget for overnight accommodations…you were on your own – they would not even make suggestions on where to stay. There was an Alaska Airlines manager at the airport but he was not available to speak with customers – I bet he was fearing for his safety at that point.
When I tried to leave for San Francisco the next day, the only thing they could do for me was to get me there by 10:30pm through Portland. When I asked if they could put me on another airline they rudely told me that they could not do that and that I had to buy another ticket from another airline directly if I wanted to see San Francisco before 10:30 that night…
Note to self – never even think of flying Alaska Air again. They are rude and they don’t even try to pretend that they are not lying to their customers.