Friday, March 27, 2015

Alaska employee helps stranded passenger; calls it ‘paying it forward’

As a career journalist, I love getting a scoop and am, quite honestly, a little jealous when someone else beats me to it. That said, I am more than happy to share this story about a proactive employee of Alaska Airlines who helped a passenger who was stranded by a competing airline get home.

Buzzfeed told the story here of an Alaska Airlines (NYSE:ALK) employee who used her own resources to get Miriam Thomas, a woman who had been stranded by competitor Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL), home quickly after the Atlanta-based carrier experienced issues that left her stranded.

High praise to the Alaska employee for doing the right thing, then refusing to accept reimbursement for it. After all, virtue is its own reward, though I’m fairly certain you have won the passenger over to Alaska for a very, very long time.

That said, there are lots of unanswered questions here. First, what really happened? Why was Thomas delayed for a day in Seattle, which is less than a three-hour drive from her starting point of Vancouver (YVR)? Second, why did a Delta employee tell her it had “used the value of her return ticket to pay for her rescheduled flight to California”? Third, did Delta offer any compensation in terms of paying for her hotel and meals while she was delayed, or did it offer any other type of compensation?

As anyone who travels frequently knows, stuff happens. It’s inconvenient and it’s annoying but usually it is beyond the airline’s control. Unless and until all the details are known, we can’t slam Delta but we can – and should – praise an Alaska Airlines employee for her positive, proactive intervention.

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