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Alaska Airlines flight diversion leads to a 30-hour nightmare for passengers

Alaska Airlines flight diversion leads to a 30-hour nightmare for passengers

Old Jan 7, 2019, 8:31 pm
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Post Alaska Airlines flight diversion leads to a 30-hour nightmare for passengers

Aaska Airlines faced a furious reaction from outraged passengers Monday following a weekend transcontinental flight that turned into a 30-hour nightmare journey.

Passengers boarded Alaska nonstop flight 1367 from Boston to Los Angeles on Saturday at 6 p.m., and waited almost two hours on the ground before takeoff in an uncomfortably hot cabin. Then just 90 minutes into the flight, they were diverted because of an electrical burning smell to Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York.
More details spelled out in the news article.
https://www.seattletimes.com/busines...or-passengers/
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Old Jan 7, 2019, 8:57 pm
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30 hours: Delay, unscheduled landing for safety issue, wait overnight for plane, return to BOS. Get on another flight.

The news says Alaska will do a "deep dive" and I am sure they will determine what can be better.
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Old Jan 7, 2019, 9:37 pm
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Was astounded to see this story. This was supposed to be fixed by the new tarmac regs. I still don’t understand how people arriving on a domestic flight can be prohibited from leaving a US airport. Does TSA and Buffalo PD guard the airport exits?

I gather maybe Alaska doesn’t have personnel at Buffalo but that is all the more reason that they need to have a sound plan in place when these emergency landings occur. Will be more interested to see what improvements are made than in the compensation (which I expect will increase from the initial offer of $1000 in funny money)
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Old Jan 7, 2019, 9:50 pm
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Originally Posted by Boraxo
Was astounded to see this story. This was supposed to be fixed by the new tarmac regs. I still dont understand how people arriving on a domestic flight can be prohibited from leaving a US airport. Does TSA and Buffalo PD guard the airport exits?
Pax would normally need a valid same day boarding pass to clear security if they exit the secured area. That might be part of the problem.

Numerous points throughout this story where AS, their employees, and their contract staff (unless something has changed, most BOS ground staff are contract) dropped the ball.
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Old Jan 7, 2019, 9:59 pm
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I don't understand why people stayed at the airport. If this happened to me, I'd leave the airport, get a hotel room, get a good night's sleep, then call AS about getting me on a flight home.

Compensation for the room etc could be dealt with after the trip.
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Old Jan 7, 2019, 10:05 pm
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler
I don't understand why people stayed at the airport. If this happened to me, I'd leave the airport, get a hotel room, get a good night's sleep, then call AS about getting me on a flight home.

Compensation for the room etc could be dealt with after the trip.
remember that we FTers are not in any way representative of the majority of airline passengers ... we are in large measure much more seasoned travelers, we are in large measure well acquainted with normal and not-so-normal airline operations, and we in large measure know how to interact with airline and airport personnel to get our questions answered and our interrupted trip back to some semblance of normal

as mentioned, the big issue was the diversion to an airport where AS has no presence; the late arrival into BUF probably meant minimal airport staffing in terms of TSA and baggage service, and minimal concessions availability

Last edited by jrl767; Jan 7, 2019 at 10:12 pm
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Old Jan 7, 2019, 10:31 pm
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AS is going to need to work on East coast diversions. The problems at Buffalo are understandable, what is not understandable is flying them back to BOS and having them wait 12 hours there.
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Old Jan 7, 2019, 10:43 pm
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[M]aintenance technicians traced the electrical burning smell to a malfunctioning fan used to cool the seat back entertainment system on the Airbus A320. On Monday, Alaska was flying the plane back to a maintenance base on the West Coast.
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Old Jan 7, 2019, 10:49 pm
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Originally Posted by jsguyrus
AS is going to need to work on East coast diversions. The problems at Buffalo are understandable, what is not understandable is flying them back to BOS and having them wait 12 hours there.
Sounds like they were waiting for a rested crew. Either the original one, the comandeered BNA-SFO crew, or another rotation. At least returning to the origin allows some to cancel their trip or reschedule it and AS ground staff to (theoretically) assist pax.
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Old Jan 7, 2019, 10:51 pm
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Too bad they couldn't make it to DTW or PIT...
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Old Jan 7, 2019, 10:55 pm
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Originally Posted by jsguyrus
The problems at Buffalo are understandable, what is not understandable is flying them back to BOS and having them wait 12 hours there.
My guess is the crew would time out if they flew BNA-BUF-LAX. So the options are get them back to BOS where theres theoretically more options to get them moving, or overnight in BUF, get a plane in, and get everyone out the next morning. It sounds like the AS team in Boston was #northofexpected so probably overnighting everyone in the fifth best hotel in Buffalo would have been the better choice.

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Old Jan 7, 2019, 11:02 pm
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Originally Posted by DrAlex

Too bad they couldn't make it to DTW or PIT...
Not excusing their handling of the situation, but regulations likely required diversion to the nearest suitable airport, hence BUF. Havent flown AS out of BOS in quite a while, but in the past, ground staff was all contract.
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Old Jan 7, 2019, 11:10 pm
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Originally Posted by dayone
[M]aintenance technicians traced the electrical burning smell to a malfunctioning fan used to cool the seat back entertainment system on the Airbus A320. On Monday, Alaska was flying the plane back to a maintenance base on the West Coast.
https://www.flightradar24.com/data/aircraft/n854va

Didn't quite make it to the west coast.
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Old Jan 7, 2019, 11:12 pm
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Originally Posted by Boraxo
Was astounded to see this story. This was supposed to be fixed by the new tarmac regs. I still dont understand how people arriving on a domestic flight can be prohibited from leaving a US airport. Does TSA and Buffalo PD guard the airport exits?

I gather maybe Alaska doesnt have personnel at Buffalo but that is all the more reason that they need to have a sound plan in place when these emergency landings occur. Will be more interested to see what improvements are made than in the compensation (which I expect will increase from the initial offer of $1000 in funny money)
But it also appears Alaska has nobody on-call at night, so nobody to authorize anything.

So I guess it is true flying Alaska from the East Coast can be a nightmare.
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Old Jan 7, 2019, 11:13 pm
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Originally Posted by sltlyamusd
Not excusing their handling of the situation, but regulations likely required diversion to the nearest suitable airport, hence BUF.
beat me to it

Originally Posted by rustykettel
Didn't quite make it to the west coast.
uh, that was the divert on Saturday (5 Jan)

it went BUF-JFK on Mon night and is currently scheduled JFK-LAX as AS1413 on Tue night

Originally Posted by s0ssos
... So I guess it is true flying Alaska from the East Coast can be a nightmare.
yes there have been more than a few unscheduled fuel stops due to headwinds, and yes there have been maintenance issues that have led to delays and cancellations and diversions, but to that sort of generalization


Last edited by jrl767; Jan 7, 2019 at 11:23 pm
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