Frustrating Misconnect at SEA (8/3/2019)

Old Aug 3, 19, 12:53 am
  #1  
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Frustrating Misconnect at SEA (8/3/2019)

Some things in this thread are my fault, others Alaska's fault and others no one's fault. I'm going to point some fingers but mainly I'm just upset and need to vent.

A few months ago I booked RDU-SEA-BOI for a little over $300. The itinerary had a 70 minute connection. Today there was an ATC delay into SEA due to low ceilings and according to the pilots also because the Blue Angels were training around SEA. We pushed back at 6:00 PM forty minutes late and then took off at 6:20 PM. It should have been okay, especially as SEA-BOI originally delayed a half hour as well but that was later rescinded. Our arrival gate was originally C2 but at some point switched to D20. I don't fly AS much or use SEA much so I didn't know that D20 isn't a gate, it's an apron. We landed at 8:35 PM and then taxied for 15 minutes, often stopping, before we parked at this hard stand area which is tucked pretty far away from the terminal. Once I was off the plane I had to wait for the bus to fill before it slowly trundled its way to D20. We finally parked at 9:08 PM.

Unfortunately, once you get off the bus you're funneled into a series of ramps, at least eight, that slowly wind you down to the entrance of the terminal. It was filled with people walking in single file, no way around them, with no sense of urgency. I finally got inside and ran to C10C. I yelled out "BOISE!" as I was getting close. I arrived at exactly 9:14 PM for a 9:25 PM departure only to be coldly told "the flight is closed". I asked when they close flights and was told "12 minutes in advance". I asked the two agents to please call to see if I could get on, I didn't have to gate check a bag, I had no checked luggage, I was in First Class but they told me coldly "that's not how it works" and that I would delay the flight and they couldn't delay a whole plane for just me. I argued to no avail. They then told me I was booked on some 11:45 PM flight and to go to the customer service desk. There was a line of three dozen people there and once there I realized there was no later flight, that they'd either been mistaken or lied to me. I called Alaska and an agent called back a half hour later who to her credit was friendly and helpful. When she called back I had moved up maybe two places in line in 30 minutes.

I'm now booked for tomorrow. I'm out one night at my Boise hotel. I paid $200 for the SEA Marriott. I lost my rental car reservation. I paid for the SEA-BOI upgrade and they wouldn't honor it for tomorrow. So none of this is to the good. I just wish they'd let me board when I arried at the gate at 9:14 PM for a 9:25 PM departure, especially when it turned out the plane didn't even leave until 9:23 PM. Sigh.
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Old Aug 3, 19, 1:11 am
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Super frustrating, and I'm sorry that happened to you. Especially being lied to by the gate agent about your "new" flight...ouch.

You hit a double whammy with the ATC delay and the Bus Gate. I'm actually amazed you made it to C10 at 9:14, I've done D22 to C2 just recently, and It's a hike. (that narrow switchback ramp is a major PITA too)

Unfortunately, you had already misconnected a long time before that, per AS rules.
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Old Aug 3, 19, 1:31 am
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Ugh. Sorry. Those bus gates are awful.
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Old Aug 3, 19, 1:35 am
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crap thatís a rotten outcome

my JFK-SEA on DL posted a 50-min delay while I was in the air DCA-JFK; it didnít even occur to me that the Blues practice would impact **everything** for the rest of the day

Iíve only had to use the bus gates once (for a departure), but it was nothing short of a cluster ...

anyway, had I known you were only ~20 min behind me, Iíd have been glad to meet up for a commiseration beer
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Old Aug 3, 19, 8:28 am
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SEA is a mess and it's not going to get better. Where possible, I'm building in extra time to connect. When you miss your connection, good luck getting out quickly on another flight. Even with status, many of them are full. And "ATC" = no compensation. I fell your pain.
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Old Aug 3, 19, 10:24 am
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Originally Posted by flytoeat View Post
SEA is a mess and it's not going to get better. Where possible, I'm building in extra time to connect. When you miss your connection, good luck getting out quickly on another flight. Even with status, many of them are full. And "ATC" = no compensation. I fell your pain.
Good advice going forward. Sadly, only one RDU-SEA a day so it's either risk it or fly someone else. And the 7 AM RDU-SFO doesn't give many options for west coast connections to those secondary cities AS is so good at serving, like BOI.
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Old Aug 3, 19, 10:41 am
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Yeah, AS has become a lot more hit and miss regarding compassion and empathy for their customers. The phone and email agents tend to be better than the airport staff imo.

The Blue Angels add an additional interesting piece. They've known about the impact of this for what, months if not nearly a year beforehand? Why do the airlines (not just AS, but DL, etc) get a free pass for a known, planned ATC disruption?

It is an interesting situation. What is the MCT at SEA? Should it be adjusted given the recent addition of bus gates? Delays due to ATC used to be pretty rare at SEA, now they are the norm. It seems like it's a loophole to allow AS to sell you a ticket with a questionable connection time and then not be liable if you miss it.

Though the easy solution to all of this - buy your ticket with a credit card that has travel insurance and file a claim for your hotel charges.
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Old Aug 3, 19, 11:16 am
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Originally Posted by CMK10 View Post
Some things in this thread are my fault, others Alaska's fault and others no one's fault. I'm going to point some fingers but mainly I'm just upset and need to vent.

A few months ago I booked RDU-SEA-BOI for a little over $300. The itinerary had a 70 minute connection. Today there was an ATC delay into SEA due to low ceilings and according to the pilots also because the Blue Angels were training around SEA. We pushed back at 6:00 PM forty minutes late and then took off at 6:20 PM. It should have been okay, especially as SEA-BOI originally delayed a half hour as well but that was later rescinded. Our arrival gate was originally C2 but at some point switched to D20. I don't fly AS much or use SEA much so I didn't know that D20 isn't a gate, it's an apron. We landed at 8:35 PM and then taxied for 15 minutes, often stopping, before we parked at this hard stand area which is tucked pretty far away from the terminal. Once I was off the plane I had to wait for the bus to fill before it slowly trundled its way to D20. We finally parked at 9:08 PM.

Unfortunately, once you get off the bus you're funneled into a series of ramps, at least eight, that slowly wind you down to the entrance of the terminal. It was filled with people walking in single file, no way around them, with no sense of urgency. I finally got inside and ran to C10C. I yelled out "BOISE!" as I was getting close. I arrived at exactly 9:14 PM for a 9:25 PM departure only to be coldly told "the flight is closed". I asked when they close flights and was told "12 minutes in advance". I asked the two agents to please call to see if I could get on, I didn't have to gate check a bag, I had no checked luggage, I was in First Class but they told me coldly "that's not how it works" and that I would delay the flight and they couldn't delay a whole plane for just me. I argued to no avail. They then told me I was booked on some 11:45 PM flight and to go to the customer service desk. There was a line of three dozen people there and once there I realized there was no later flight, that they'd either been mistaken or lied to me. I called Alaska and an agent called back a half hour later who to her credit was friendly and helpful. When she called back I had moved up maybe two places in line in 30 minutes.

I'm now booked for tomorrow. I'm out one night at my Boise hotel. I paid $200 for the SEA Marriott. I lost my rental car reservation. I paid for the SEA-BOI upgrade and they wouldn't honor it for tomorrow. So none of this is to the good. I just wish they'd let me board when I arried at the gate at 9:14 PM for a 9:25 PM departure, especially when it turned out the plane didn't even leave until 9:23 PM. Sigh.
I'd personally make it my duty to get reimbursed by AS for my expenses if I were you . Keep calling until they agree it was horrible customer service. Ask for a manager. Ask for the manager's manager. You were flatly lied to and given a cold "go to hell" response for being all of one minute late (according to the gate agent)? Unacceptable. They had to have known you were on a tight connection, but you make it? They should have held the plane. I'm pissed off for you!
Did the BOI flight end up taking off on time? Yep, it left 2 minutes early. That's tremendously unacceptable. They have 15 minutes past departure time to still be "on time" in the books. When talking to CS, I might make reference to other airlines in this case - especially DL. They would have held the plane for you.

Last edited by DrAlex; Aug 3, 19 at 11:23 am
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Old Aug 3, 19, 11:43 am
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Yes, Iíd write in. Not sure if this 12-minute line the gate agent told you is real or not (I have heard gate agents announce doors close 10 minutes prior). Regardless, in my book they should not leave early when itís the last flight of the night and they are still waiting on connecting pax. Perhaps they had written off you making your connection but you really hustled to the gate.
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Old Aug 3, 19, 11:45 am
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Originally Posted by CMK10 View Post
I arrived at exactly 9:14 PM for a 9:25 PM departure only to be coldly told "the flight is closed". I asked when they close flights and was told "12 minutes in advance". I asked the two agents to please call to see if I could get on, I didn't have to gate check a bag, I had no checked luggage, I was in First Class but they told me coldly "that's not how it works" and that I would delay the flight and they couldn't delay a whole plane for just me.
#northofexpected

They have to meet their metrics! On time numbers are better than accommodated passengers! It's nice to see QX holding the last flight of the night for connections.

This has been an ongoing issue with Horizon for a while, especially in Seattle. I've been offloaded a QX flight by the gate agents because they see my connecting flight coming into N and don't think it's possible to make a 25 minute connection. It's a really customer unfriendly policy, especially when there are delays and the customer is at the gate >10 min from departure. They can't push more than five minutes early and meanwhile everyone on the plane is twiddling their thumbs waiting for the W&B info to come in. If it takes them 10 minutes to transmit W&B info to operations in PDX (or SGU if it's Skywest) and back to the line, they really need better technology.
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Old Aug 3, 19, 12:00 pm
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Thank you for all the responses so far. It's been nice having people on my side.

Meanwhile, as a final insult, I'm at SEA now waiting for my rebooked flight which is delayed 18 minutes. That would have been the difference last night
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Old Aug 3, 19, 12:20 pm
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Originally Posted by sltlyamusd View Post
Yes, I’d write in. Not sure if this 12-minute line the gate agent told you is real or not (I have heard gate agents announce doors close 10 minutes prior). Regardless, in my book they should not leave early when it’s the last flight of the night and they are still waiting on connecting pax. Perhaps they had written off you making your connection but you really hustled to the gate.

While it is no guarantee in all cases, United is making a big deal about its new ConnectionSaver feature. I’d mention that in my message to AS. And, I have actually had multiple cases where UA did hold a flight for me and a few other passengers even before they introduced this feature. Getting left behind with no flight left to rebook on is no fun. Seeing the airline make an effort to prevent this creates customer satisfaction and loyalty.

https://www.travelandleisure.com/air...onnectionsaver


I have not had the experience of a remote stand at SEA (lucky me... which “gates” qualify for that experience?), but I have had my fair share of tight connections to a Horizon flight, most recently with my inbound flight “diverting” last minute to the N gates. I really need to try to route my AS travel through PDX whenever possible.

I assume the flight yesterday was AS 3498. That flight not only left two minutes early, but also arrived in BOI 17 mins early. A small delay to board the OP would likely still have made it arrive on time. And while I haven’t checked, I suspect the aircraft and crew remained in BOI overnight.
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Old Aug 3, 19, 12:25 pm
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Sorry for the terrible experience. SeaTac traffic is horrendous this summer. Every time I have a close call I call the Gold line to make sure they are aware the situation and give them an estimated time. Not sure if it helped or not but I had a few times that I was the last passenger to board and the door was shut right after.
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Old Aug 3, 19, 12:32 pm
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There's not a lot going on in Boise after 11:40pm when that flight would have gotten in (I say this as someone from Boise). It would not have inconvenienced a planeload of people to wait 5 minutes.
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Old Aug 3, 19, 12:42 pm
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Sorry you had to deal with this, I echo the sentiment of others.

While it's probably a very small point in your mind now, I'm curious why your paid upgrade from SEA-BOI was not honored today. I've never experienced this kind of IRROPS with AS, so is this normal not to rebook in the original class of service paid for?
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