Alaska and American Airlines are great partners! Said no one ever… In general I try to avoid American Airlines, while their miles might be useful (or were before March 2016), I’ve never had a great experience with them, ever… I mean who doesn’t love to fly an MD-80 these days? Not to mention the *going for great* customer service they have, sure they may be the world’s biggest airline but definitely aren’t the best (though that can be said about any U.S. carrier).
Anyway, my parents are currently on holiday in Grenada and I just wanted to share what I witnessed a few days ago at Seattle Airport when I was helping them check-in and check their bag.
Alaska and American Airlines have a partnership, now whether that is a great one or not is another question… Their first flight was operated by Alaska and their next two flights were operated by American. So they flew from Seattle to Houston on Alaska and then from Houston to Miami to Grenada on American Airlines. American Airlines issued the ticket.
Fast forward to checking-in the baggage. American Airlines charges for checked bags to the Caribbean (I mean, seriously…?) and they were flying in Economy, so naturally one would know that they have to pay $25 USD. However, since they have both the Alaska Airlines and American Airlines credit cards, their checked bag should have flown for free… except that it didn’t.
A very arrogant Alaska Airlines agent refused to waive the baggage fee when the two credit cards were presented and said that she has to go by what the system is telling her… great customer service at work.. we asked to speak with another agent and she refused.. she even refused to bring out a manager. Other Alaska Airlines agents standing around watched and said nothing… again, amazing.
She then proceeded to type very loudly on her 1990s computer and said if we wanted to do anything about it, to walk over to the American Airlines counter and have an American agent come talk to an Alaska agent. Ok, so I thought we could take care of this quickly.. then I forgot that we are dealing with American Airlines after all! The AAgent I spoke with was rude and said that she didn’t have time or energy to walk over a few metres… and there was no one at the AA counter. I mean what sort of freaking partnership is this?!
So let me put it this way… the Alaska and American Airlines counters were both super empty since it was an unusual time of day and there were many agents who decided to ignore our situation and not care – great. My parents finally got irritated and said they’d pay the fee, the rude Alaska agent proceeded to huff and puff about how in the future we should stick to one airline. I then replied “you’re partners, no..?” and she didn’t say a word.
I think the most hilarious part of the whole situation is how she wrote the baggage receipt for American Airlines… by hand… manually… on carbon-copy paper… for 30 minutes!! I have no words.. in the digital age of computing here we see writing on paper for 30 minutes, not to mention she also had to write out manually the bag tag…
I will leave it here because honestly situations like this remind me why I’m thankful to have the Star Alliance where things like this don’t happen and I can fly on multiple, world-class airlines without issues that should be solved in seconds and not hours.
Some great partnership they have… Thankfully my parents enjoyed the AMEX Centurion Studio after this situation.