Something Is Wrong With Alaska Airlines

For the second time in just over a week, an Alaska Airlines jet was damaged after making contact with a vehicle used to load baggage. This time though, the plane was on the ground when the damage was discovered.

Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Amanda Tobin said the Boeing 737-700 was being moved by a push tug at the time of the incident, but she could not immediately say whether the plane hit the loader or vice versa. A push tug is normally used to move an aircraft away from a gate or pull it toward a gate.

Tobin said about four people had boarded Flight 808 bound for Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport around 11:30 a.m. when the damage occurred. The passengers exited the plane and were reaccommodated.

The airline immediately informed authorities and was still investigating, she said.

“We are looking diligently at the cause,” she said.

Apparently, they haven’t been diligent enough in dealing with this problem.

On Dec. 26, an Alaska Airlines MD-80 heading for Burbank, Calif., lost cabin pressure at 26,000 feet because of a foot-long gash in its fuselage.

Investigators said that in-flight scare occurred after a ramp worker struck the airplane with a baggage-handling vehicle while it was at the gate, but did not immediately report the accident. The hit caused a crease in the airplane’s aluminum skin, which opened up to a 12- by 6-inch gash as the plane reached 26,000 feet.

The plane landed normally and none of the passengers was injured. Alaska said that worker, who works for Menzies Aviation, was suspended. Other workers were given safety briefings.

Sounds harmless right? Wrong

This kind of thing is completely outrageous. I can’t even imagine what might be going through the mind of a baggage handler who punches a hole in the side of an airplane and simply walks away without telling anyone knowing that the plane won’t be able to sustain flight. Worse yet, he walked away knowing that the lives of everyone on board could be in jeopardy. I can’t even comprehend this kind of selfishness.

Now, not only will I have to be aware of the possibility of a terrorist act while flying on a plane, I have to worry about negligent baggage handlers who just might break part of the plane. UNBELIEVABLE.

Alaska Airlines has to get its act together NOW before a serious tragedy occurs.


  1. More On Alaska Airlines Blogging

    Ask The Pilot is a regular column on Salon featuring Patrick Smith, explaining the workings of planes, airlines, a pilot’s job, and the flight industry. In this instalment, Smith addresses the experience that Jeremy Hermanns had aboard an Alaska…

Speak Your Mind