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The US government shutdown — which is already throwing a wrench in airport security lines as well as impacting the personal lives of employees — has claimed its first inaugural. Alaska Airlines had intended to begin flying from Paine Field – Snohomish County Airport (PAE) in Everett, Washington, on Feb. 11, 2019, and will now be pushing those first flights by almost a month.
In a blog post, the airline notes that “several key groups within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which conduct crucial certification and oversight work required for the start of commercial air service at Paine Field, are subject to furloughs because of the government shutdown.” Because of this, scheduled service from the airport is being delayed until March 4, 2019, subject to receipt of all required government approvals.
We toured the sleek new passenger terminal a few months back, and we — along with many other AvGeeks — were looking forward to service launching soon that would give Seattle-area flyers an alternative to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).
If you are holding an Alaska ticket for a Paine Field flight between Feb. 11, 2019 and March 4, 2019, check your email inbox. Alaska will be sending out a notification that you’re automatically rebooked on a new flight from Sea-Tac on your same date of travel, with a time that’s as close as feasible to your Paine Field time.
If you wish to keep Paine Field as your departing or arriving airport for a new flight on March 4 or later, you can do that, waiving any fees, by calling Alaska at 1-800-252-7522. If you’d prefer not to travel, opting instead for a cathartic sulk session, you can ring the number above and Alaska will issue “a full refund to your original form of payment, waiving any fees.”
Andrew Harrison, Alaska Airlines’ chief commercial officer, stated the following in response to the delay: “We know our guests who purchased tickets to and from Paine Field will be disappointed by this delay – so are we. There are certain things that are simply out of our control. We apologize if your travel plans need to change. But we remain eager and committed to giving you – our loyal guests – a much-needed airport alternative north of Seattle, and a great experience.”
Alaska also goes so far as to confess that Paine Field operations could be delayed further beyond March 4 if the shutdown isn’t resolved soon, remarking that it cannot begin flying at PAE “until [it has] all the required, final government approvals.”
Do you have an Alaska flight impacted by the shutdown? Let us know what you’re planning to do in comments below.
Featured image by Alberto Riva / The Points Guy.
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