Saturday, April 18, 2009

Alaska Airlines: Last in On Time Arrival

Waiting on Weights and Balances, Not the Weather

I was not shocked to read recently that Alaska Airlines had been ranked last in terms of on time arrival of flights for February 2009.

And it would be really easy to blame it on the truly sucky Alaska weather this winter, except for the fact that it is a bogus excuse. In reality, I think the airlines decision to centralize (out of Seattle) some of its operations is the culprit.

I had the occasion in the last few months to fly a bit out in the wonderful world of Northwest (coastal) Alaska. You know, where there were near constant ground storms and blizzards? Snow up to the roofs? Drives home where people navigated reflector to reflector?

Funny thing is, my flights were not affected by weather. In an example of near miraculous luck, I got where I had to go before it stormed every freaking time. (Then it stormed again.)

However, all my flights on Alaska Airlines left at minimum a half hour late. Funny that. In each case, the delays resulted from the employees at a regional hub trying to sort out the weight and balances with the newly centralized operations hqed in Seattle. The pilot announced over the PA system the reason for our delay and apologized. More than once. We sat in the plane on the runway, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 minutes ... and waited. And waited longer. The only reason I made my connection back through Anchorage was because that flight was running late, too.

I would've not minded, except that upon leaving Anchorage, the pilot blamed our delay on weather (which was just fine, thank you) in the places from which we departed.

I did a quicky Google search for anything on the centralized operations (and weights and balances) and could only find something on this union site.

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