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Alaska Airlines cancels more flights on 4th day of pilot shortages

Thousands of Alaska Airlines passengers were impacted by flight cancelations over the weekend.

SEATTLE — Alaska Airlines canceled 26 flights on Monday morning, and more are expected throughout the afternoon as they enter the fourth straight day of pilot shortages. 

Travelers at Sea-Tac International Airport were left frustrated after finding little help from the airline. 

"When I ask the assistant what's going on, they don't know anything. I don't know what's going on. Nobody knows anything," said Luis Raccia, one of more than 12,000 passengers that had their flights canceled on Saturday.

The cancellations came after several off-duty pilots along the West Coast picketed over contract negotiations last Friday, demanding better pay, more flexible schedules and better job protections.

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A representative for the pilots said the Friday picket didn't cause any of these cancelations and delays, but his group warned the airline of staffing issues ahead of the busy spring travel season.

"Staffing has been a concern and something we've spoken to them about for many, many months, actually starting the conversations back last year that this would be inevitable if we didn't have a contract in place to help us retain and attract pilots," said Will McQuillen, a pilot and union chairman for Alaska Airlines pilots.  

In an email statement, Alaska Airlines didn't say the pilot shortage was caused or linked to the picketing, but they did acknowledge and apologize for the cancellations, saying, "We apologize to all of our guests who we let down."

It's not clear when the pilot shortage could level off. As of 7:25 a.m., more than 30 Alaska Airlines flights in and out of Sea-Tac Airport on Monday were canceled

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