Net Promoter: Alaska Airlines at Sea-Tac Airport (via Delta)

This weekend I went to the massive gaming expo, PAX Prime, in Seattle. The weekend was fantastic, overall. I spent time with a friend I almost never see, ate great food, saw a city I’d never visited, and WENT TO PAX PRIME! The one dark spot was having to fly halfway home on Alaska Airlines.

Alaska Airlines at Sea-Tac Airport has officially provided me with the worst customer service experience I’ve ever had.

Since it seems to be Alaska Airlines’ policy that if you book through anyone but Alaska Airlines, you can go kick rocks, I submitted the following complaint to Delta since they booked the flight:

I believed I was on a Delta flight, but apparently I had booked a flight through Delta for Alaska Airlines. I would have been fine flying on a Delta flight. The second leg of my flight was actually on Deltaand it was smooth and the service was friendly.

Unfortunately, in Seattle I had to deal with Alaska Airlines. They couldn’t find any of the reservations that were booked via Deltaand when asked they just kept directing people to the kiosks that also couldn’t find people’s reservations.

When someone in the long line brought this to up an Alaska Airlinesemployee shrugged and said, “That’s because you didn’t book through us…”

I know I didn’t book through Alaska Airlinesas I had no intention of flying to or through Alaska. I was familiar with Delta and felt good about flying with them or someone that they were willing to call a “partner.”

I watched Alaska Airlines employees and the Alaska Airlinessystem treat military personnel just as poorly as the rest of us. Seriously? Soldiers, multiple, worried about being court marshaled or going to jail for missing their flights because these people couldn’t care less about customer service or people’s time. I was truly disgusted.

One woman, just one, was helpful and thoughtful enough to ask for a driver’s license and just got people who were waiting in line their tickets. It was simple and easy, but she was the only one willing to do it.

When we went to check our bags, after waiting a ridiculous amount of time, for both our boarding passes and the woman checking bags to serve the one customer in front of us we were tired and angry and late. This woman says, “You ladies are cutting it a bit too close…”

REALLY?! I hadn’t noticed that your aggressively rude system from 1976 had wasted ALL of the time we allotted. I shouldn’t have wasted your time by choosing Alaska Airlines… Oh, wait. I didn’t.

This was absolutely the WORST service I’ve ever encountered at an airport. They didn’t care enough to even try to be helpful or placating or sympathetic. They pretty much blamed Deltafor choosing to book us on their flights so I do as well.

Delta booked me a flight. I paid Delta money. Delta calls this airline a Partner. I will never fly Delta again because it means there’s a chance I might get one of their partners and this is the apparent standard their partners are held to.

Before mid-day, Delta had responded to we with an email written specifically to address my complaint.

I was pleased with the response because:

  1. They were empathetic and apologetic. Not simply one or the other.
  2. They acknowledged the problem in their own words, showing understanding.
  3. They validated my concern as a customer and assured me that this is not business as usual.
  4. The let me know what next steps would be taken internally to address the problem and externally to improve my experience as a customer.

I started the trip feeling annoyed because there was unnecessary confusion about a Delta flight not really being a Delta flight but a subcontracted flight via Delta. After that, as the experience got worse and time kept on, my opinion of everything and everyone involved quickly decreased.

Fortunately for Delta, the second leg of my trip was on a Delta-actual flight and it was just fine. I even had a middle seat but didn’t mind. I could give them the benefit of the doubt and think, maybe they don’t know they’re being represented in this way.

Maybe if I tell them this is how they’re being represented and why I found it frustrating they’d either show me they’re reasonable and believe in customer service or reinforce my negative opinions.

I’ve only moved from Detractor to just a Passive (barely a 7). I’m still wary but the speed and content of the response was more than greatly appreciated.

Alaska Airlines on the other hand? I didn’t even get an automated response. I looked online and found someone tweeted that attendants were bad mouthing passengers while on the plane and a friend of mine also had a bad experience with Alaska Airlines.

So form 0 to 10 they get a 1 (I’m a Detractor). This is for the one nice woman, one nice flight attendant, and a tasty handful of snack mix.


  1. dear miss, I am very sorry for your expereance on my favorite airline. yes, I am an alaska airlines employee and I wish I would have been on your flight. I can assure you that I would have done everythng I could to have made your trip with us enjoyable. I ask for you to please give us another chance to win your trust.
    Captain Terry Clark
    Alaska Airlines
    Seattle Base

    1. Thanks for stopping by and wishing you could have been there and been nice to us. I appreciate your kind words and sympathy. Sadly, you’re the only person from Alaska Airlines to have contacted me about my experience (even though I contacted them via their form on their site).

      Hopefully someone has a word with some of the ground staff so in the future you won’t need to apologize for their behavior.

      I hadn’t been to the west coast in over a decade and has never been to Seattle so I don’t think it’s likely I’ll ever need to fly Alaska Airlines again. Though if it comes up, I do think I’d still try to avoid it as best I can.

      Thanks for stopping by to offer kind words and please fly safely!

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