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Alaska's policy on flights departing EARLIER than the scheduled time?

Alaska's policy on flights departing EARLIER than the scheduled time?

Old Feb 27, 19, 3:30 pm
  #1  
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Alaska's policy on flights departing EARLIER than the scheduled time?

This past weekend I received an app notification 2hrs prior to departure that my flight was now departing in 90 minutes (8:30 departure moved to 8:00 with notification at 6:30).

Called the airline and was told yes - they do this occasionally and that it's why they ask customers to show up 2hrs early for a flight. I always thought that was to deal with check-in/security lines, not to allow the airline to move up scheduled departure time. The phone agent said they can depart up to two hours early because of this.

I rushed to the airport to make the baggage check-in cutoff, and I received another app notification just after 7 that boarding has started. I rush through security, get to the gate, and surprise surprise boarding hasn't started yet. Boarding actually started closer to 7:45. Still took off just after 8 (very light load).

Curious if anyone has ever experienced this - I've heard about it for cases where there is weather forecast and they send a notification the day beforehand... but I've never seen such a late notification. Quite the messup by IT and poor communication from the agent over the phone I think as well.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 3:33 pm
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Never seen this - I usually arrive to the airport 45-60 mins before, and flew on about 50 AS flights last year.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 3:54 pm
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Never encountered this. I have seen some flights with light loads close up 15-20 minutes prior to scheduled departure, but never 30 minutes. My experience at SFO is that they usually close the door 10 minutes prior to scheduled departure, assuming everything is on time. Was there some special circumstance such as headwinds or incoming weather?
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Old Feb 27, 19, 4:01 pm
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AS's policy is clearly stated in plain English on its website. While AS may certainly recommend that you arrive at the airport earlier, there is no requirement that you do so. So long as you are checked in no later than T-40 and at the gate no later than T-30, you are timely. This does not mean that AS may not change the departure time or that there is a specific remedy.

I would file a DOT complaint, simple and online, noting exactly what happened and what you were told. This won't result in anything happening for your direct benefit, but if enough people complain, it does mean that DOT looks at whether published schedules are adhered to.

You must be checked in with a valid boarding pass at the gate no later than 30 minutes before your flight. Being late may cause the cancellation of your reserved seats and/or your entire reservation.
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Last edited by Often1; Feb 27, 19 at 6:24 pm
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Old Feb 27, 19, 4:20 pm
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I have only encountered schedule changes month(s) prior to a flight and have received notification about delayed/canceled flights (not consistent) but never "hours" before departure. I have had on more than one occasion been placed on an earlier Horizon flight as the one I was on was canceled, and that was about 4 hours prior to departure and it was the PDX-SEA shuttle, so it was only 25 minutes earlier.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 5:24 pm
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I've had this happen to me twice. Once, in Juneau - can't remember the reason, was a milkrun flight and something about duty times for the crews. So we left about 25 minutes early (was posted as a "delay", though).

2nd time involved an approaching hurricane. That one was an hour early.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 7:24 pm
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I had it happen once. Departure moved up 30 minutes and I, too, received the "update" two hours before the original scheduled departure.

No explanation. It was a very light load.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 7:38 pm
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Iíve had it happen a bunch of times on northbound flights to ANC in winter when headwinds are bad. Usually Iíll get a notice that the new ETD is 10-15 minutes earlier.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 8:13 pm
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Originally Posted by Chugach View Post
Iíve had it happen a bunch of times on northbound flights to ANC in winter when headwinds are bad. Usually Iíll get a notice that the new ETD is 10-15 minutes earlier.
+1, but happens in the summer, too.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 8:57 pm
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Yes a couple of weeks ago when we checked in at SJD they told us the flight had 24 in Y and would be leaving early. I can't remember if we actually did or not but again another situation where there's a light load.

Any time we gained was lost circling LAX for 30 mins before being dropped off at a remote gate and bussed to customs...
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Old Feb 27, 19, 9:17 pm
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It has happened a few times flying out of LIH to SEA, often enough that once while running late (fender bender on the way to the airport), I called and asked that they not let the plane depart early. They had fully boarded and waited about 15 minutes for me to arrive, and departed immediately after I sat down, still departing 5 minutes prior to schedule. The FA told me later, "good thing you called and have status".
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Old Feb 27, 19, 9:44 pm
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HA, lucky you guys.
In my experience, Alaska lately boards at T-55 minutes, and then sits at the gate until 5-10 after departure time.
Meaning my posterior has been in their interior for an hour before we even push back.
It's actually one of my biggest gripes about Alaska, having moved from United.
And I'm happy with that; if my biggest gripe is that they board too early..... then clearly life ain't that bad!
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Old Feb 27, 19, 9:46 pm
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Originally Posted by icelandman2 View Post
Never seen this - I usually arrive to the airport 45-60 mins before, and flew on about 50 AS flights last year.

Same. Never have heard of this prior to this post. 70+ segments annually.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 10:07 pm
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I'm not sure if your experience was Alaska, Horizon, or Skywest, but Alaska mainline flights are not allowed to post more than a 5 minute early ETD, as anything more than that would no longer be compliant with the flight attendant contract
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Old Feb 28, 19, 12:09 am
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Originally Posted by Chugach View Post
Iíve had it happen a bunch of times on northbound flights to ANC in winter when headwinds are bad. Usually Iíll get a notice that the new ETD is 10-15 minutes earlier.
Ive had similar with flights to ANC fighting headwinds.
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