by Charlotte Glover
March 06, 2004
A month or so ago, I called the local Alaska Airlines number to check on a flight arrival time. It took numerous tries to get a "real person" on the line and she rudely proceeded to tell me that I was not to call the local number for flight information in the future. Apparently, the new policy at Station Ketchikan is that we should all use the Alaska Airlines web-site or call the 1-800 number. I go to the airport a lot, for work and family, and was astonished at this new policy, given all of our weather delays.
Well, I found out this past week that new policy does not work for airports where flights originate in the morning. The weather was beautiful, so I took a chance and headed to the airport on the 7:15am ferry. Several of us were treated to a three hour wait at our hometown airport that day, missing valuable work and sleep time, because the web-site and the 1-800 number can provide no information on flights that have not yet originated for the day. We were, of course, waiting for the jet from foggy Juneau, which happens frequently in the winter. My only consolation was that I was not traveling with my young son that day. I am sure those long hours in the airport would have been a real thrill with a toddler in tow.
Worse yet, one of the customer service reps whom I know sheepishly told me that she was "getting into trouble" for giving out flight information over the phone to the people in our community. At least those lucky folks who did call knew it was not time to go to the airport! Are we to "guess" when there will be flight delays on morning flights in the future or "hope" we get a customer service rep. who will break the rules and answer the phone?
I would encourage everyone who travels on Alaska Air to voice their displeasure at this new policy loud and clear. It's not business friendly, family friendly or Alaska friendly.
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