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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Open Letter: Alaska Airlines & TSA
By Donna Lewis


October 10, 2012
Wednesday PM

I flew to Seattle urgently due to a family emergency last Wednesday.  The cost of my ticket $508.40.  Being in the frame of mind that I was, I had not thought to look in my "wallet" on Alaska Air to discover that there was a 30% discount, and unfortunately since I had already booked the ticket I was not able to use that discount.  I booked my flight last night to return today and used the 30% discount with this return flight.  This cost was a total of $364.30.  All in total, my round trip ended up costing me a total of $872.70 and that was for flying in coach.

Today on my return there was disruption in flights due to an outage on the server.  After several hours of sitting on the floor and being moved from line to line, when I finally got up to the check in counter, I showed the agent my confirmation number and gave her my ID.  She asked me for my last name, I told her "Lewis".  She enters it in and then says "Daisy?".  I said, "No, Dona".  Then she makes a phone call and has the other agent look to see how the security line looks, then hands me the boarding pass and tells me "they're towing in right now, they should be boarding in about a half hour, so if you hurry you can make the flight".   I only asked her if my suitcase was going to be on the plane with me, and she said yes.  So, trusting me, scurried on my way to security.  Got to security, handed my boarding pass and ID to the TSA agent.  He looked at it and then looked at me and said, "are you going by Daisy today?".  This is the first time I'm actually looking at the boarding pass.  I said, "No, that's not even me.  I had given her my ID and told her my name was Dona!"  Then he asked me if I was the one who made my reservation.  I said, "yes, I made it last night, and I made it under my name."  He just looked at me and said, "that's okay." then handed me back the boarding pass and my ID and sent me on my way.  BIG RED FLAG as far as I'm concerned......TSA never should have allowed me through security!  Being a little furious, when I got to the gate, I asked the agent there to give me a corrected boarding pass and let her know my frustrations and concerns that I was even allowed to come back with the incorrect boarding pass.  She didn't seem too concerned about it either.  I told her I needed the information off the back of the other boarding pass, and all she said was that they couldn't reprint the bag claim.  I just told her that I needed it so I could claim my bag if there were any problems with it in Juneau.  She just stapled the other boarding pass to the back of the new one.  Needless to say, there were problems in Juneau as my suitcase didn't come home with me and they have no idea where it is as apparently "Daisy" didn't get on the flight and they wouldn't tell me if she rescheduled or not.  There were a lot of frustrations with the flight delays, and now even more so with my suitcase not being on the plane with me.  I was given instructions on how to receive either $20 off a future flight, or have 2,000 miles posted to my mileage account.  Unfortunately, I'm not satisfied with this offer and I believe a more satisfactory offer should be given.  Had there not been the family emergency, I would not have been flying at the price that I paid for the tickets, and I would have been able to book my flights further in advance to receive a lower cost flight.  But due to the circumstances, I was not able to do that for the flight down nor for my return flight.  I would also request that the agents be trained to be more careful when checking people in.

I believe that this is a story that should be brought to attention.  I am now back in Juneau, although my suitcase still is not.  I also sent an email to TSA stating my concerns in what happened.  I did actually have somebody tell me that was in line with me that they had heard that because of this outage that it caused security to be moved up to a Level 3.  In my mind, what happened was not a Level 3.  This is something that really never should have happened and should never happen again as far as I’m concerned.  If you need to contact me, I can be contacted on my cell phone at [----].

Thank you in advance for your concerns in this matter.

Dona Lewis
Juneau, AK


Received October 08, 2012 - Published October 10, 2012



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