Alaska Airlines prides themselves in fantastic customer service and nothing boasts better customer service than my recent experience on a delayed inbound flight from Fresno to San Diego. My connection was scheduled for 45 minutes, but due to a delayed departure in Fresno, I landed just 16 minutes before my connecting flight was scheduled to depart. Most airlines would have left passengers stranded or rebook them on the next flight. But to my surprise, Alaska Airlines service was “North of Expected”! I was provided with a Alaska Airlines personal escort!
Upon landing at SAN and taxing to the gate I actually tweeted to Alaska Airlines. I didn’t expect anything from the tweet, but after all one could hope.
My inbound flight was on a crj-700 and my carryon bag was gate checked due to the small overhead bins. I was stranded on the tarmac waiting for my bag to be offloaded with just 9 minutes remaining until my plane was scheduled to depart. I know Alaska Airlines boards 40 minutes early and I was expecting the plane to be pushing back 10 minutes early. After all, an early push back in normal for Alaska Airlines and almost ALL airlines close the boarding door 10-15 minutes before scheduled departure. As I was standing there anxious, waiting for the ground crew to offload bags, I suddenly heard from behind me, “Is Mr. Rocky Horan out here?!” Behind me was a gentleman in a suite with a two-way radio. I waved at him, and he quickly approached me and informed me not to worry and that they were holding my connecting plane! He went on to explain that there was another flight an hour later, but first class was sold out and he didn’t want me to lose my upgrade!
Color me impressed! I was lost for words! A personal escort! This was nothing like the time American Airlines had the Police escorted me to the gate!
About the time the station manager had approached me and he was tell me this, the bags were being rolled toward us and he asked me to grab my bag and then cleared a path for me through the crowd so I could rush to my connecting flight. He radioed the gate and informed the team that he had located me and that he had verified my boarding pass. He told the agent to to close the flight and get the paperwork to the team on board, even though I wasn’t quite to the plane yet!
As I approached the top of the jet bridge, another gate agent called me by first name and did a happy dance celebrating my arrival! Hands in the air while jumping she exclaimed, “RRRRRROOOOOOOOOCCCCCCKKKKKKYYYYY!!!!” I laughed and smile as I hurried along to my connecting gate 3 gates over. Awaiting for me at the gate, another agent reopened the door to the jet bridge and I rushed down to the plane where I found 150+ passengers waiting, one bin above my seat open with space for my bag, and my seat in the forward cabin ready to be sat in. I stored my bag, closed the bin, and the minute I was seated the flight attendant closed the boarding door. With 2 minutes to spare before the scheduled departure the Alaska Air team in San Diego went above and beyond to ensure I made my connecting flight!
Alaska Airlines truly impressed me, as never before in my 10+ years of being top tier elite with United, Delta, or American airlines has an airline found me during a delay or escorted me to the plane. The team in San Diego went above and beyond to ensure that I made my originally scheduled flight! It would have been easy for them to allow the plane to push back without me and place me on the next plane an hour later, but instead they held the plane and were able to get me and all other passengers out on time! This is what customer service is all about!
Thank you Alaska Airlines! It is days like today that I am proud to say #iFlyAlaska! You truly do care and make flying enjoyable again!