Alaska Airlines cancels more than 120 flights and warns of possible weekend disruptions (2022)

SEATAC, Wash. — Canceled flights affected more than 15,000 Alaska Airlines passengers on Friday and the airline warned there could be more disruptions this weekend in the middle of the spring break travel season.

By 9:00 a.m., the airline had canceled more than 120 flights systemwide.

“It’s pretty frustrating. We got a text and email that the flight was going to be canceled at about midnight,” said passenger Matt Mullinix, who was trying to get to Belize with his family.

When KIRO 7 asked Alaska Airlines why the flights were canceled, the airline sent a statement about a labor dispute with its pilot union.

The statement also referred to a pilot shortage.

The Air Line Pilots Association said 1,500 pilots held informational pickets in several cities on Friday.

They quietly lined the sidewalk in front of the Seattle Tacoma International Airport, and outside the airline’s headquarters.

Union leaders said flights were not canceled because of the picketing and that all the participating pilots were off duty and not scheduled to fly.

(Video) Alaska Airlines cancels more flights on 4th day of pilot shortages

“Flights are being canceled because they don’t have enough pilots in general,” said Alaska Captain Joseph Youngerman, a union leader.

Youngerman said that on the first day of a new month, Alaska added more flights than it could staff at a time many pilots are leaving.

“This should not have been a surprise to them. It certainly was not a surprise to us that they’re going to have a problem covering their schedule,” Youngerman said.

The union said that after three years of negotiations, Alaska isn’t offering a fair market contract that addresses pilot concerns about job security and scheduling.

Alaska Airlines would not do an interview but wrote that a new pilot contract remains a top priority.

The airline says their captains make, on average, $341,000 per year and that the airline has proposed paying new first officers $100 per hour.

The union said it is not planning additional pickets.

The airline said more cancelations are possible this weekend.

Check the number of cancellations here.

(Video) Alaska Airlines cancels more than 120 flights as pilots picket

The pilot shortage comes as Seattle-Tacoma International Airport officials say travel is expected to reach near pre-pandemic levels as spring break travel gets underway.

Volumes are expected to be around 80% to 85% of pre-pandemic levels. That’s close to the busiest travel days since August 2021.

The highest volume is expected to be up to 145,000 passengers a day. About 160,000 was the average in 2019.

Alaska Airlines released the following statements about the cancellations and picket:

Updated statement:

“Alaska Airlines is experiencing significant flight cancellations today. We’re notifying our guests whose flights are impacted, and we’re working as quickly as possible to make things right and get them to their destinations. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.

“As of 9 a.m. this morning, we have canceled more than 120 flights – about 9% of our overall operation – impacting more than 15,300 guests. Additional cancellations are possible over the weekend.

“It takes everyone at Alaska to run a successful and reliable operation. Today, we fell short. We’re grateful for all employees who are working hard to get our guests to where they need to go.”

Original statement:

(Video) Pilot shortage forces Alaska Airlines to cancel several flights

“We understand how important it is to our pilots to secure a new contract. As the negotiations continue, we respect their right to engage in lawfully protected activities to voice their concerns.

“We’re committed to reaching a collective bargaining agreement that recognizes the contributions of our pilots and supports them with increased pay, job security and greater work flexibility – key issues important to them.

“It’s also vital for Alaska Airlines to negotiate a deal that allows us to maintain growth and profitability for a strong future. It’s crucial we continue to provide all of our employees with competitive pay and benefits as we hire more people, invest in new planes and fly our guests to new destinations. We believe the goals of the company and the goals of our pilots complement each other.

“A new pilot contract remains a top priority for Alaska,” said Jenny Wetzel, vice president of labor relations for Alaska Airlines. “We’ve put a package on the table that’s competitive and addresses the issues most important to our pilots. It’s a significant financial investment in our pilot group while recognizing that we are still working to recover from $2.3 billion in losses from the COVID-19 pandemic. We are eager to conclude negotiations quickly so our pilots can enjoy these new benefits as soon as possible.

“In support of our pilots, we recently presented the union with a comprehensive proposal. Among the highlights:

  • We’re offering a top of scale wage of $280 per hour for captains and a market wage adjustment a year after the contract is ratified to keep our pilots’ wages competitive with their peers at other airlines. For reference, an Alaska captain’s average salary is currently $341,000 per year. For first officers, we’ve proposed a rate of $100 per hour, which would be the #1 new hire rate in the nation.
  • We’re ready to increase the job security of our pilots: Any aircraft operated by Alaska Air Group over 76 seats will be flown by Alaska’s seniority list pilots.
  • We’d add significant flexibility on how our pilots can set their schedules along with additional support for our reserve pilots. Our pilots currently work 16 days a month on average.

“We’ve been in talks with the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) for a new agreement since the summer of 2019, with a mutual pause in talks for about a year as the industry weathered the pandemic. As a normal part of the process, we filed for mediation with the National Mediation Board in October 2021 to help move the process forward and facilitate an agreement. We look forward to making further progress at our next mediation session scheduled for later this month.

“There are some flight cancellations connected to a shortage of pilots which has created operational challenges. We notified our guests whose flights have been impacted and apologize for the inconvenience. We’re working as quickly as possible to make things right and get them to their destinations.”

Air Line Pilots Association, International, released the following statement regarding the pilot shortage:

“Alaska Airlines received a $2.3 billion bailout from American taxpayers during the pandemic to weather the economic downturn, retain its workforce, and be ready to take advantage of the recovery we are now experiencing. It has one of the strongest balance sheets with industry-leading profit margins and came out of the pandemic with less net debt than before it.

(Video) Alaska Airlines cancels flights on Easter holiday, spring break | FOX 13 Seattle

“Yet, despite all of this, Alaska Airlines failed to properly plan for increased travel demand and take the steps necessary to ensure it attracted and retained pilots. In fact, just this week, ALPA met with two corporate vice presidents who made clear that they have failed to adequately retain and staff up to meet a predictable return to flying.

“Now, they’re trying to distract the public from their mismanagement and blame the pilots who helped save their company. Pilot leaders have been warning for years that pilots will choose to fly for other airlines due to an inadequate contract that will only exacerbate existing staffing challenges.

“Hundreds of Alaska pilots will be exercising their lawful right to conduct nondisruptive informational picketing today in five cities around the country to highlight Alaska’s strong financial position and urge the company to get serious about concluding a contract. Alaska pilots are more than ready.”

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FAQs

Alaska Airlines cancels more than 120 flights and warns of possible weekend disruptions? ›

Alaska Airlines cancels more than 120 flights and warns of possible weekend disruptions. SEATAC, Wash. — Canceled flights affected more than 15,000 Alaska Airlines passengers on Friday and the airline warned there could be more disruptions this weekend in the middle of the spring break travel season.

Why is Alaska Airlines Cancelling so many flights? ›

The reason for the spate of cancellations in April and May comes down to “not having enough pilots to fly our spring schedule,” he told employees. He said Alaska started April and May with 63 fewer pilots than needed to fly the published flight schedule. Management didn't recognize this shortage until too late.

How many Alaska Airlines flights cancelled? ›

“Of the 1,200 flights that we operate every day, we've been canceling about 50 of them, roughly 4%. This is coming at a time when flights are already full, so rebooking options are limited and many of our guests have experienced extraordinarily long hold times,” Minicucci wrote.

How often does Alaska Airlines cancel flights? ›

The carrier says it has been canceling roughly 50 flights a day, about 4% of its 1,200 daily flight schedule, since April. Airline officials say the primary reason for the spate of cancellations is that the airline simply doesn't have enough pilots to fly its planes.

Why were so many flights Cancelled recently? ›

U.S. airlines canceled or delayed thousands of flights over the weekend as bad weather and staffing shortages add up to more frustration for passengers. More than 7,000 domestic flights were delayed and about 650 were canceled on Saturday, according to FlightAware data.

Which airline is canceling the most flights? ›

Meanwhile, about 20% of flights were delayed (also a high not seen since 2014) and 4% were canceled completely.
...
Know which airlines actually arrive on schedule.
JetBlue Airways JBLU, -4.18%
Percent of on-time flights60%
Percent of delayed flights33%
Percent of canceled flights7%
9 more columns
Jul 20, 2022

How much do pilots for Alaska Airlines make? ›

How much does a Pilot make at Alaska Airlines in the United States? Average Alaska Airlines Pilot yearly pay in the United States is approximately $186,628, which is 140% above the national average.

What do I do if my flight is Cancelled? ›

What to do if your flight is canceled
  1. Talk to an agent.
  2. Ask for a refund.
  3. Review your airline's cancellation policy.
  4. Research other flights.
  5. Inquire about other compensation.
  6. Consider an alternate airport.
  7. Fly in the morning.
  8. Avoid weekend travel.

Why is Alaska Airlines striking? ›

Alaska Airlines pilots vote 'overwhelmingly' to authorize strike if three-year-long contract talks continue to fail. Of the members voting, 99% of pilots approved union leaders to call a strike if necessary.

Is Alaska Air a safe airline? ›

Alaska Airlines is the highest-ranking US-based carrier on the top 20 list, maintaining its number eight spot from 2021.

Do Airlines have to compensate for Cancelled flights? ›

The airline is required to compensate you for a canceled flight if you were notified less than 14 days before your original scheduled departure date. However, compensation is not required if the airline proves that extraordinary circumstances (e.g., weather) caused the cancellation.

Can I get compensation for a Cancelled flight? ›

Claim compensation for a cancelled flight

You're legally entitled to get compensation if the cancellation is the airline's responsibility and both the following apply: the replacement flight delays your arrival by 2 or more hours. your flight was cancelled less than 14 days before departure.

How long can a flight be delayed before it is Cancelled? ›

You have the right to deplane

For domestic flights, they can't keep you on the plane for more than three hours. It's a four-hour rule for international flights. That means they need to get you back to the gate in time to get off before three or four hours elapse.

Can airlines cancel flights for no reason? ›

It's important to remember that flights are only ever cancelled when it's in the best interest of the passenger, and when this happens, most airlines will typically have some type of compensation organized. It can be even more frustrating when there's no obvious cause for the cancellation, but there is always a reason.

What are reasons flights Get Cancelled? ›

Why Do Flights Get Cancelled?
  • Adverse weather conditions. Bad weather is one of the most common reason for flight cancellations. ...
  • Air traffic restrictions. Air traffic controllers sometimes request an airline to cancel their flight. ...
  • Security issues. ...
  • Mechanical issues. ...
  • Missing crew. ...
  • Computer glitch. ...
  • Strikes. ...
  • Lack of passengers.
Sep 14, 2020

Are a lot of flights being Cancelled? ›

U.S. airlines have been operating somewhere between 21,000 and 25,000 flights a day in recent months. So far in 2022, an average of one of out five flights a day arrived behind schedule — a total of more than 820,000 delayed flights according to FlightAware. More than 116,000 flights have been canceled.

What airline has most crashes? ›

However, generally, the most plane crashes an airline has been involved in, the higher the number of deaths. Worldwide, American Airlines (858 deaths), China Airlines (760 deaths), Korean Air (596 deaths), Air India (542 deaths), and Malaysia Airlines (537 deaths) are the airlines that have has the most fatalities.

Which is the best airlines in the world? ›

Taking the number one spot is Doha-based Qatar Airways, which also won in 2021. The carrier consistently comes out on top, with airline ranking website Skytrax also naming it the best airline last year.

Which airlines have the most delays and cancellations? ›

Since the survey's top three most delayed or canceled airlines were all budget carriers (comprising of Allegiant, JetBlue and Frontier) avoiding mishap can come at a price—breaking out of budget.

What is the highest paid pilot? ›

Airline pilots in the United States make the most money in Michigan, with an average salary of $238,270. The highest-paying US airline is Southwest Airlines, where pilots make $221,636 on average. Globally speaking, pilots working in China make the most money, with an average salary of $300,000.

How long does it take to make 100k as a pilot? ›

But in general, newly trained, inexperienced pilots might make between $30,000 and $50,000 per year, while an experienced pilot who has climbed his way up from first officer at a regional airline to first officer at a major airline and then finally, a captain at a major airline over a period of 10 years will probably ...

How much money do Alaska Airlines flight attendants make? ›

Average Alaska Airlines Flight Attendant yearly pay in the United States is approximately $46,373, which is 37% above the national average. Salary information comes from 17 data points collected directly from employees, users, and past and present job advertisements on Indeed in the past 36 months.

Will airline pay for hotel if flight is Cancelled? ›

Passengers are also required, by law, to receive meals, a hotel stay when the cancellation results in an overnight layover and a full reimbursement when the cancellation delays the passenger for five hours or more.

Will American Airlines pay for hotel if flight is Cancelled? ›

If the delay or cancellation is caused by events beyond our control (like weather) you are responsible for your own overnight accommodations, meals and incidental expenses.

What happens if one leg of your flight is Cancelled? ›

If one leg of a flight is canceled or passengers bailout, then the whole package can be voided at the carrier's discretion. This applies to multi-leg flights across the USA, as well as international flights involving American companies.

Why are pilots leaving Alaska Airlines? ›

Alaska Airlines is on track to lose 180 pilots this year, not including retirements. In exit interviews, pilots overwhelmingly report the lack of a market-based contract as their motivation to move to other airlines.

How much do junior pilots make? ›

How much does a Junior Pilot make? As of Aug 18, 2022, the average annual pay for a Junior Pilot in the United States is $64,003 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $30.77 an hour. This is the equivalent of $1,230/week or $5,333/month.

What do the Alaska pilots want? ›

What Alaska's pilots are seeking can be categorized in four areas: work rules (including compensation), retirement security, job security and health benefits. Alaska's pilots are not willing to sacrifice anything more than they already have given to a profitable employer.

What airline has never had a crash? ›

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian has been flying planes since 1929 and never once had a fatal accident, making it, if our stats stand up, the longest functioning carrier to have never lost a passenger. It may have suffered two bankruptcies (1993 and 2003) but it has not compromised on safety.

What is the safest airline to fly in the US? ›

Southwest has not reported a fatality in its operating history, according to the Consumer Warning Network, making it the safest major airline in the world. Southwest ranks at number two on ABC's safest airline list as well, with a 0.0000203 percent chance of an incident on its flights.

Which airlines are the least safe? ›

The least reliable airlines in 2022
  • Delta Air Lines. 2022 reliability rating: 30.99 (out of 50) ...
  • Hawaiian Airlines. 2022 reliability rating: 30.44 (out of 50) ...
  • United Airlines. 2022 reliability rating: 26.67 (out of 50) ...
  • SkyWest Airlines. ...
  • Alaska Airlines. ...
  • Spirit Airlines. ...
  • JetBlue Airways. ...
  • Envoy Air.
May 16, 2022

Can you sue an airline for emotional distress? ›

Whenever a pilot or airline is negligent in their maintenance or operation of an aircraft, putting the occupants in fear for their lives, the resulting distress may call for a lawsuit to compensate damages including mental health services, therapy costs, ongoing emotional distress, and more.

Why are Alaska airline pilots on strike? ›

Almost all the major carriers are facing protests from their pilots, who are demanding higher pay and improvements in "fatiguing" schedules in their new contracts. United Airlines (UAL. O) is the only major carrier that has reached an agreement with its pilots on new contract.

Is Alaska Airlines going on strike? ›

Alaska Airlines pilots are not on strike. As ALPA said this morning, a strike can only occur after a specific, multi-step process involving the federal government and National Mediation Board.

Are many flights being Cancelled? ›

This year has recorded more cancellations and delays than in all of 2021, according to FlightAware. U.S. airlines canceled 2.7 percent of flights between Jan. 1 and Aug. 7 this year, compared to 1.5 percent in 2021.

What do I do if my flight is Cancelled? ›

What to do if your flight is canceled
  1. Talk to an agent.
  2. Ask for a refund.
  3. Review your airline's cancellation policy.
  4. Research other flights.
  5. Inquire about other compensation.
  6. Consider an alternate airport.
  7. Fly in the morning.
  8. Avoid weekend travel.

Why are pilots quitting? ›

During the pandemic, thousands of pilots were offered early retirement packages and others were fired or furloughed because of lack of travel demand. This came on top of an already looming pilot shortage due to the advancing age of baby boomers, who as of 2019 made up almost half the pilots in the air.

How much do junior pilots make? ›

How much does a Junior Pilot make? As of Aug 18, 2022, the average annual pay for a Junior Pilot in the United States is $64,003 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $30.77 an hour. This is the equivalent of $1,230/week or $5,333/month.

What do the Alaska pilots want? ›

What Alaska's pilots are seeking can be categorized in four areas: work rules (including compensation), retirement security, job security and health benefits. Alaska's pilots are not willing to sacrifice anything more than they already have given to a profitable employer.

Did Alaska airline pilots vote to strike? ›

A fter three years of negotiations with Alaska Airlines, the carrier's pilots have voted overwhelmingly to authorize their union to strike if agreement on a new employment contract cannot be reached.

Why are so many pilots striking? ›

More than 1,500 Delta pilots and 1,300 Southwest pilots picketed across the country last month to raise awareness of their concerns, according to the unions that represent those pilots. In early June, their peers at American protested outside the New York Stock Exchange for better working conditions.

Why are the pilots striking? ›

Why are workers striking? Amid labor shortages and inflation, airline employees in Europe, including pilots, are striking to demand better wages and more hiring.

Why is American Airlines Cancelling so many flights? ›

At its hub in Philadelphia, American will cut hundreds of flights -- roughly 3% of September flights scheduled and 5% in October. Airlines have been struggling with staffing shortages, summer weather and air traffic control delays as passengers are returning to pandemic-era travel in droves.

Why is air travel such a mess? ›

Everyone knows air travel is a mess right now. Mostly, that's because the industry is dealing with the same problem that the rest of the economy is facing: a staffing shortage prompted by a tight labor market and a quick rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic.

How do I know if my flight is Cancelled? ›

You can check the status of your flight by going to your airline website and entering the details of your flights, and you will know in a second if your flight is on-time, delayed or cancelled.

Will airline pay for hotel if flight is Cancelled? ›

Passengers are also required, by law, to receive meals, a hotel stay when the cancellation results in an overnight layover and a full reimbursement when the cancellation delays the passenger for five hours or more.

Do airlines have to compensate for Cancelled flights? ›

The airline is required to compensate you for a canceled flight if you were notified less than 14 days before your original scheduled departure date. However, compensation is not required if the airline proves that extraordinary circumstances (e.g., weather) caused the cancellation.

Will American Airlines pay for hotel if flight is Cancelled? ›

If the delay or cancellation is caused by events beyond our control (like weather) you are responsible for your own overnight accommodations, meals and incidental expenses.

Videos

1. Alaska Airlines reducing departures out of Sea-Tac by 20% over next few days
(KING 5)
2. Labor dispute at Alaska Airlines forces flight cancellations up and down the west coast
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3. Portland flights canceled as Alaska Airlines pilots take to the picket lines
(KOIN 6)
4. Several Alaska Airlines flights canceled
(KOIN 6)
5. Alaska Airlines Cancels Dozens Of Flights Amid Union Dispute
(TODAY)
6. Flight cancellations and delays continue ripple effect across the US
(KGW News)

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