Alaska Airlines cancels flights over Easter Break and Spring Break
SEATTLE – It was an unwelcome Easter surprise for some flights on Sunday, as dozens of Alaska Airlines flights were canceled or delayed at Sea-Tac International Airport due to continued pilot shortages.
The airline said it is notifying travelers as soon as possible if their flights are affected and trying to get them rebooked.
Whether people are flying for Easter, spring break or a vacation, those we spoke to said travel issues have kept them on their toes.
“We were super stressed about leaving because of the cancellations; like, every day we were checking that there weren’t any issues,” Shelby Herrmann said.
Herrmann and her husband have just returned to Washington from a cruise vacation.
They were keen to make sure everything went smoothly as Alaska Airlines flight cancellations piled up.
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“My husband actually called Alaska before we left to make sure what was going on, to see if we needed to change. They said they were canceling three days in advance and would let us know and that ‘they would rebook us through another airline if necessary,’ said Herrmann.
On Easter Sunday before noon, at least 36 Alaska Airlines flights were canceled and 11 delayed, according to FlightAware.com.
Mary Hiserman hoped there would be no problem returning to California after visiting her son at UW.
“The planes were packed, and they asked people, you know, if they want to go at another time. But, that’s okay. I hope I don’t regret saying that, but we’re fine,” she said.
The airline said the main cause of the cancellations is a delay in pilot training.
They provided FOX 13 News with this updated statement:
“As we communicated earlier this month, we continue to adjust our operating schedule. The main cause of our cancellations is a delay in training pilots who have been canceled or delayed due to illness. of a student or trainer during the Omicron surge and winter storms. We” strive to ensure both excellent pilot training and flight capability that matches crew availability . We will continue to do everything we can to minimize disruption to our customers’ travel plans, but it will take some time to fully meet this challenge.
We notify customers as soon as possible if their itinerary is affected by schedule adjustments, and have successfully accommodated the majority of our customers. We encourage affected customers to use the unique phone number provided to help them manage relocations, which have no wait times. We apologize to our customers whose flights have been canceled as we continue to work to return to consistent and reliable operations.”
Alaska Airlines pilots have been picketing across the country saying they are overworked and underpaid. They have been asking for a better contract for almost three years.
The Air Line Pilots Association said negotiations stalled last week.
They have a three-day meeting scheduled for this week to talk about the future, according to a spokesperson.
Meanwhile, the Herrmanns can finally breathe a sigh of relief as they dodged the cancellations this time.
“Today we were less worried and in fact didn’t even check in until we checked in for our flights from the hotel at 2 a.m.,” Herrmann said.
Her husband said they would have been stuck in California had there been a cancellation affecting them.
“Yeah. Yeah, we would have been stuck there, but it was fine,” she said.
The Air Line Pilots Association said Delta Airlines pilots planned to picket on Tuesday, saying they too were overworked and needed more flexible schedules.
The association said Alaska pilots will be there alongside Delta pilots to support them.
Delta Airlines shared this statement with FOX 13 News:
“This briefing exercise by some of our off duty pilots will not disrupt our operations for our customers. We are continuously evaluating our staffing patterns and planning ahead so that we can recover quickly when unforeseen circumstances arise, and the resilience of the people at Delta is unmatched in this regard. Pilot schedules remain in compliance with all requirements set by the FAA as well as those outlined in our Pilot Agreement. All of our employees, including our pilots, work hard to restore our airline and deliver to our customers as we emerge from the pandemic.We are grateful and proud of their efforts.
FRONT COVER: Alaska Airlines cancels dozens of additional flights on Monday
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