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Alaska Airlines cancels nearly 200 flights in 2 days amid contract talks

April 02, 2022
3 min read
Alaska Airlines cancels nearly 200 flights in 2 days amid contract talks
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Alaska Airlines has canceled nearly 200 flights in the last two days as pilots picket the airline’s major hubs protesting what they call “stalled contract negotiations.”

As of mid-afternoon Saturday, the Seattle-based carrier had cancelled 88 flights – about 6% of its schedule. On Friday, Alaska Airlines canceled 111 flights – about 15% of its schedule, according to FlightAware.com.

The airline acknowledged it “continues to experience significant flight cancellations” impacting more than 12,000 passengers and warned that “additional cancellations are possible.”

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“It takes everyone at Alaska to run a successful and reliable operation. Today, we fell short,” Alaska Airlines said in a statement on Friday.

The flight disruptions come as pilots have held demonstrations in recent days, calling on the airline to make concessions as part of contract negotiations.

Hundreds of Alaska Airlines pilots belonging to the Air Line Pilots Association held pickets Friday at key Alaska bases in Anchorage, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle. Posts on social media show pilots lined up, holding signs reading: “We do our job. Now do yours. Contract now.”

The union said the goal of these demonstrations was to “send a clear message” to airline management about what they say are “several significant outstanding issues yet to be resolved” in the midst of contract negotiations.

Related: Tips to overcome delays and cancellations

Alaska Airlines responded to these concerns as part of a statement Friday in which the airline acknowledged the flight disruptions. The airline said the contract negotiations have been ongoing since 2019, but were on hold between March 2020 and March 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The airline said it filed for mediation with the National Mediation Board in October 2021 in hopes of facilitating an agreement.

Related: Facing pilot shortage, Alaska, Horizon launch academy

“A new pilot contract remains a top priority for Alaska,” airline vice president of labor relations Jenny Wetzel said as part of the company’s statement, pointing to an offer the airline said it made to the union that is “competitive and addresses the issues most important to our pilots.”

According to the airline, the next mediation session is set for later this month. As for the flight disruptions this weekend, Alaska Airlines said it is notifying travelers about flights impacted. “We apologize to all of our guests who we let down,” the airline said Saturday.

Featured image by (Photo by Genna Martin/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases