Alaska Airlines to compensate for computer issues

Alaska Airlines to compensate for computer issues

Credit: AP

Alaska Airlines to compensate for computer issues

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by Associated Press

NWCN.com

Posted on March 29, 2011 at 1:11 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 29 at 1:11 PM

 

SEATTLE - Some people are still waiting for Alaska Airlines to get them to their destination after weekend computer problems disrupted travel for more than 12,000 passengers.

The airline says about 150 flights on Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air were canceled Saturday. Some passengers will have to wait until Tuesday or Wednesday to get to their destination, airline spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said.

Many passengers made their own arrangements for a new flight on the airline's website, so Egan couldn't say for sure Tuesday when the last of the delayed passengers would be getting back on a plane.

One of the challenges in getting people home after the weekend delays was the fact that many school districts are on Spring Break this week so the airline was already experiencing heavy traffic, Egan said.

Meanwhile, some vacationers have been ringing up extra hotel and restaurant charges while they took extra time to get home.

Alaska Airlines said it will be compensating people who were delayed by the computer problems.

"We're going to make it right for our customers, no matter what," she told The Seattle Times. But the first priority, she said, is to get everyone to their destinations.

A letter to Alaska Airlines mileage club members went out Monday to apologize. A similar letter will go out to everyone who the company knows was affected, said spokesman Paul McElroy.

Alaska and Horizon executives asked passengers to fill out a form at AlaskaAir.com with details of how their travel was disrupted. They promised a follow-up within two weeks.

"The compensation will vary," McElroy told The News Tribune. "It depends on their situation. Did we cancel a flight and did they get out Sunday? Did they miss a flight and miss an entire cruise?"

Airlines are not required by federal law to compensate passengers whose flights are delayed or canceled, according to the Department of Transportation.

Ellensburg resident Jim Rowe, his wife and two children had hoped to fly home Saturday after vacationing in Disneyland for spring break. Instead, they've spent several nights in a Los Angeles airport hotel, spending money and missing school and work.

"This has cost us more than our vacation," Rowe said from Los Angeles, where the $110 nightly rate he had been paying for a room over the weekend jumped to $280 Monday.

The computer problems occurred when an electrical transformer blew and knocked out the company's computer system for creating flight plans. Technicians had been trying to install a backup power supply for the system.

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