Thank You Alaska Airlines

Last week my son and I flew up to the Bay Area on Alaska Airlines for an open house at the California Maritime Academy. I’d scheduled a flight out of John Wayne at 7:15 am and talked my wife into dropping us off around 6:00am. I should’ve know things were off to a bad start when, checking in via one of the electronic kiosks, my reservation couldn’t be found. The counter agent checked and her first words were “I’m not sure you’ll make your flight.”

“Why’s that? It’s only 6:15am – I have an hour yet.”

After the counter agent printed our tickets and boarding passes, my son and I went over to the security check point only to find a line much longer then I expected. Indeed, the line was about 100 yards long and then it curved back on itself Disney style. Great. Still, we had an hour and, after a few minutes, it looked like the line was moving well so I figured we wouldn’t have a problem.

I was wrong.

After half an hour I was still optimistic as we approached the front of the line when the “sorter” looked at our boarding passes and directed us to the line on the right. Only the line to the right didn’t lead to the typical X-Ray machine and metal detector. Indeed, it didn’t seem to lead anywhere. After a few minutes of watching the five people in front of me not move an inch – and what seemed like hundreds of people being directed to the left towards lines that were actually moving – I learned that I I’d been selected by my airline for “special security screening.” So that was what the gate agent meant.

We finally made it to our gate five minutes after the scheduled departure and, sure enough, the flight had left without us. “We called your names, where were you?”

They put us on the next flight in first class. Unfortunately, the next flight wasn’t until 10:15am.

As luck would have it we arrived an hour and a half early for our return flight from Oakland – my son had a hot date – and, as luck would have it, the return flight was over two hours late.

1 Comment so far

  1. Tony (unregistered) on April 15th, 2006 @ 8:07 am

    At least Alaska upgraded your flight. Had that been American Airlines, you would have been put in the back, in middle seats in different rows, next to the toilets, and been expected to like it. Despite your experience, I think Alaska still has *some* integrity as a flyer friendly airline.

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