Posted by ajamison 3 years, 11 months ago


UPDATE: Since the posting of this blog, Michael from Alaska Air reached out immediately via phone to discuss the situation and apologized profusely. I greatly appreciate them making the effort to contact me.  

Our family recently took our annual family vacation to Bend, Oregon. The trip couldn’t have gone any smoother - except for our return flight. On the first leg of our trip home, we traveled on a smaller plane. Everyone boarded the aircraft and we appeared ready to hit the runway.

Then, the flight attendant announced, “This aircraft is equipped with 6 infant lifejackets. Unfortunately, there are seven infants on the plane. We’re going to need one infant on another flight.”

The plane went silent. There was no way we were going to volunteer to give up our seats. For anyone with a nearly two-year-old and four-month-old, you can understand all the struggles we went through up to this point.

A few minutes went by and she came on again and said, “We need someone to volunteer. We’ll provide a $400 travel voucher and you’ll be rebooked on the next available flight.”

Crickets. Sorry, but you’d have to give me a lot more than $400 to take my two children off this plane. Nobody was budging.

She returned to the microphone and explained, “We need someone to volunteer. If someone doesn’t and you get picked, you’re going to lose out on the $400 travel voucher and you’ll only be rebooked.”

Really? You’re not only going to boot someone from the plane, but now you’re threatening to leave them voucherless? That was pretty low. Still, nobody hit the call button.

“Ok, this is your last chance. We’re going to pick the last person who checked in and that’s who’s going to deplane. So if you think you were the last person, I’d recommend you speak up now so you don’t lose out on the travel voucher.”

Alaska Air, you have some nerve. Two flight attendants proceeded to walk down the aisle. As they passed other parent and infant passengers I became increasingly more nervous. If we were picked, I wasn’t going to get off the plane without speaking my mind and letting them know how classless their scare tactic was. Luckily, they stopped a few rows ahead and quietly spoke to a couple traveling with a young baby. I overheard them saying they’d give them travel vouchers, which they should have.

The way in which this incident was handled really rubbed me the wrong way. It was the company’s fault for allowing seven infants to be booked on the plane in the first place, but threatening customers is never a smart move. If your company makes a mistake, fix it immediately and make it right. It’s also important to ensure you’re using appropriate messaging when communicating with your customers. The flight attendants showed zero sympathy when conveying this information to those affected. Lesson learned? If you’re traveling Alaska Air with an infant (which we won’t again), make sure you’re the first to check-in.


  • Johnson Family 3 years, 11 months ago

    Aly... Well said as we were to passengers of flight 2222. As we have flown Alaska Air multiple times as they are only one of few airlines to fly into Bend, Oregon we will be joining other airlines for future service. This is only one of the few bad experiences we have had but as low as it goes. I understand some situations are inconvenient do to weather and delays but this approach or "scare tactic" has everything to do with integrity. Their customer service statement says: "Thank you for being our guest. Our goal is to always provide safe, reliable transportation for a reasonable price, along with the caring, friendly and professional service that we are known for". Having the threat of being kicked off along with my wife and 1 1/2 yr. old twin boys was very insecure and against all they stand for. The mental pressure of not knowing how the kids will do on a plane is tough enough without the threats from the carrier you pay a lot of money to over the years.

    When the stewardess came down the aisle asking me to become a member of their visa program, I wish they accepted my offer of taking my Alaska VISA back!!

    They owe an apology to all of the parents that had "INFANTS" on the plane because ALASKA AIRLINES acted as if we were an INCONVENIENCE to them!!!

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  • John Ledford 3 years, 11 months ago

    I agree with your comment "If your company makes a mistake, fix it immediately and make it right." 1,000%, but unfortunately, corporate inertia quite often shoves that position aside.

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