This is the story of one airline’s generous employee that many have used to try to draw a stark contrast between carriers — the hometown here in Seattle Alaska Airlines and the Darth Vader Death Star Evil Scary interloper Delta.
And though it’s a heartwarming story, the larger life lesson about airlines doesn’t actually work.
A Vancouver woman is publicly thanking an Alaska Airlines employee for an act of kindness.
The employee paid out of pocket for Miriam Thomas to get home after being given the runaround by Delta Airlines.
On the outbound the woman had a heck of a time making it to her destination, but that’s not really all that relevant to the story. She was flying Delta from Vancouver to Ontario, California via Seattle. There was a late arriving aircraft and a mechanical delay and then a flight diversion to Portland because of weather in Seattle. Then they flew to Seattle and Delta covered a hotel night. Unfortunate, but these things happen with any airline.
On the return though a couple of things happened.
She says she went to the airport to fly back to Seattle and there was some confusion with her return ticket. “They said ‘Don’t worry. We’ll assign you a seat once you get to the gate, just go because they’re already boarding.’ So, I am rushing through security, I am begging people in the security lineup to let me go ahead of them because the flight is going to take off without me.”
It sounds as though she was late to the airport. And that meant there wasn’t time to sort out that her rebooking after the forced overnight was apparently done incorrectly, using her remaining flight coupons for the return on the final leg of her outbound ticket.
(She must have been issued a gate pass of standby coupon to get through security.)
She was dealing with Alaska Airlines agents at this point on her return, so it seems as though she was flying on a Delta ticket but traveling on Delta only for her outbound and Alaska for her return.
Delta got involved and offered her a flight home the next day but without overnight accommodations.
And an Alaska Airlines agent pulled out her own credit card and bought the woman a ticket home so she could fly that day.
Great story and somehow there must be Alaska Airlines PR people behind it because it’s getting quite a bit of play. Here’s the thing:
- Alaska Airlines employees are great.
- Alaska Airlines has perhaps the best flight operation
- But Delta’s flight operations are exceptionally good, too.
- And Delta agents have historically been very good during irregular operations.
I love this story and I’m glad the woman made it home safely. Alaska and their employees were very generous. But that doesn’t mean that Delta is somehow Alaska’s polar opposite.
And codeshares, multiple airlines on a ticket, and irregular operations cause problems. Regardless of the airlines involved.