Alaska, Horizon Act Quickly to Waive Change Fees After Outage Disrupts Flights

If you were scheduled to fly on Alaska Airlines or its sister carrier Horizon on Monday, you probably know by now that there were problems. An outage traced to cuts in a fiber optic cable knocked the airlines’ reservations computer system offline for a period. Power has since been restored.

American: 21,000 Delayed Flights

Alaska Waives Change Fee, Offers Refunds

Meanwhile, Alaska customers who planned to travel yesterday or today (Oct. 8, 9) can reschedule their flights without incurring the standard change fee or can get a refund altogether. Note: the change fee is waived only on travel that is completed by Oct. 22.

What to Do if Your Flight is Delayed

Alaska: Scores of Flights Canceled, Delayed

While the reservation system’s power was off, it made a mess of things – according to FlightStats, Alaska had to cancel 29 flights, while Horizon grounded 49. Both airlines had scores of delayed planes as well.

It is believed the cable cuts were accidental in nature as sometimes happens during roadwork maintenance and such, but an investigation is underway.

Brief History of Airlines in Trouble

Contrast between Alaska, American Delays

The notice of the fee waiver on Alaska’s website went up almost immediately and was accompanied by a signed note of apology from Alaska’s CEO Brad Tilden.

This is somewhat different from the way American Airlines has been handling its horrendous and long-running wave of delays and cancelations over the past few weeks. American’s website carries no word from its CEO, but the carrier did eventually put up information about the problem with included a brief message saying, “We apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused.” American did however also offer refunds and change fee waivers.

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Published: October 9, 2012