PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Alaska Airways canceled dozens of U.S. West Coast flights Friday as off-duty pilots picketed in a number of main cities over an deadlock in practically three years of contract negotiations, and the airline stated extra cancellations have been potential via the weekend.
Greater than 120 Alaska Airways flights have been canceled — about 9% of its operations — and about 15,300 passengers have been affected, the airline stated in a press release. Canceled flights included 66 in Seattle; 20 in Portland, Oregon; 10 in Los Angeles; and 7 in San Francisco, in accordance with the flight monitoring web site flightaware.com.
On the similar time, pilots held a rally and picket line in all these cities, in accordance with a union web site. Pilots with the Air Traces Pilots Affiliation additionally protested final week in New York Metropolis outdoors the airline’s Investor Relations Day in a precursor of Friday’s picket. These on the picket line Friday stated they have been off-duty and have been to not blame for the canceled flights.
“It takes everybody at Alaska to run a profitable and dependable operation. Immediately, we fell quick. We’re grateful for all staff who’re working laborious to get our visitors to the place they should go,” the airline stated within the assertion that didn’t point out the picketing.
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The cancellations come as air journey rebounds to pre-pandemic ranges and demand is surging as many Individuals head off on spring break for long-delayed holidays. Pissed off vacationers vented on social media about botched trip plans and reported that there was as much as a 10-hour wait to talk with an airline consultant about rescheduling flights. Many stated they could not fly out for a day or two.
Robyn Dold, of Battle Floor, Washington, had deliberate to fly to Missouri on Friday along with her husband, daughter and son-in-law to attend her father-in-law’s funeral. The household obtained an e mail from Alaska at midnight — six hours earlier than they have been to take off — that stated their flight was canceled.
Dold spent hours Friday on maintain with the airline, after which in line at Portland Worldwide Airport, solely to study Alaska couldn’t get them to the funeral on time — and even to a metropolis inside 10 hours’ driving distance.
“We’d drift if it was a trip, however that is one thing that has a due date that we will’t change and it’s heartbreaking,” she stated in a cellphone interview. “My husband is beside himself. His father was his highest buddy.”
Dold, who was to ship the eulogy, will as a substitute watch the funeral on a one-way livestream along with her husband from residence, she stated.
“What I feel actually irritates me probably the most, actually, is that we weren’t given any notification forward of time that this was a risk. We may have made different preparations,” stated Dold. “That’s what’s actually disappointing.”
Pilots on a picket line at Los Angeles Worldwide Airport stated the cancellations have been the results of understaffing by Alaska Airways, which reduce in the course of the pandemic and reacted too slowly when journey demand resumed.
“All people right here is on their days off. Alaska Airways is having staffing points. They might not wish to say that, however they’re having staffing points,” stated Steve Van Metre, an Alaska Airways captain.
“We’ve had a number of pilots go away for different airways due to the quality-of-life points at this firm.”
Pilots have been in contract negotiations with the airline for practically three years and the 2 sides are at an deadlock.
The union says Alaska Airways didn’t adequately put together for a return to air journey after the pandemic and did not take the mandatory steps to retain or entice pilots as demand bounced again. Points that also should be resolved embrace job safety, work guidelines and quality-of-life provisions that present flexibility and affordable schedules, it stated in a press release, and the present pilot contract falls nicely behind these at comparable airways in a number of key sections.
Alaska Airways stated Friday it values its pilots and respects their proper to picket, nevertheless it additionally wants to barter a deal that permits the airline to keep up development and profitability. The airline is working to get well $2.3 billion in losses from the COVID-19 pandemic, it stated in a press release.
“A brand new pilot contract stays a prime precedence for Alaska,” Jenny Wetzel, vp of labor relations for Alaska Airways, stated in a press release. “We’ve put a package deal on the desk that’s aggressive and addresses the problems most necessary to our pilots.”
The airline stated it gives aggressive salaries for its pilots. For instance, an Alaska Airways captain’s common wage is $341,000 per yr, the airline stated.
Related Press videographer Eugene Garcia in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
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