SEATAC, Wash. — Alaska Airlines has canceled and delayed dozens of flights on Saturday. This comes just a day after several off-duty pilots along the West Coast, including here in Washington, picketed over contract negotiations.
The airline said Sunday that weekend flight cancellations that began Friday have affected more than 37,000 customers and, further cancellations were possible.
At least 30 Alaska Airlines flights arriving at or departing from Sea-Tac Airport were canceled as of 6:35 a.m. Monday, according to the Port of Seattle.
Alaska Airlines passengers were once again frustrated that their flights were being canceled as the airline continues to deal with a pilot shortage.
“Frustrated, exhausted, I haven’t slept at all, I feel like no one’s taken responsibility,” said Luis Raccia.
Raccia is one of more than 12,000 Alaska Airline passengers who had their flights canceled on Saturday, which equates to about 7% of Alaska’s overall operations. He’s just trying to get back home to Boston but didn't know when that will be.
“When I ask the assistant what’s going on they don’t know anything," said Raccia. "I don’t know what’s going on. Nobody knows anything.”
Raccia’s flight was canceled a day after several off-duty pilots along the West Coast conducted an informational picket hoping for better pay, more flexible schedules and more job protections. A representative for the pilots said the picket didn’t cause any of these cancellations and delays the airline experienced over the weekend.
“We’re equally as curious today, and I think it’s actually a question that’s best posed to the company,” said Will McQuillen, the Chairman of the Alaska Airlines Master Executive Council
But McQuillen did say his group warned the airline about cancellations potentially happening as we draw closer to the busy travel months.
“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 McQuillen.
Alaska sent KING 5 a statement that didn’t mention any pilot shortage. However, it did acknowledge the large number of cancellations, saying in part, “We apologize to all of our guests who we let down.”
Despite the apology, Raccia wasn’t having it and just wanted to get home.
“At this point, to be honest, I don’t trust Alaska, so I don’t want to fly back to Boston with Alaska, so I’m trying to find a different airline,” said Raccia Saturday.