Alaska and American; Very Different
With the American Airlines/US Airways merger just announced; I got to thinking about how many times I’ve heard the rumor that something was in the works between American Airlines and the much more customer-centric Alaska Airlines. Heaven forbid!
Leave Alaska Airlines alone! (think of me crying out in similar fashion to this infamous “Leave Britney Alone” video)
Things just run differently at Alaska Airlines, in a very good way, have you noticed? Through the years they’ve demonstrated how tuned in they are with what customers appreciate. A good example was their decision to roll out wifi fleet-wide even before some other mAAjor airlines even knew what wifi was. It does not stop there. Have you heard of Alaska’s Baggage Service Guarantee ™? Well I had an opportunity to try it out when my bags did not arrive with me in Palm Springs after connecting from an American Airlines flight in San Francisco.
I would bet almost anything that my bag was still sitting on the tarmac at American’s terminal in San Francisco when my plane pulled in at Palm Springs Airport. So much for the code-share experience.
Alaska’s guarantee does the right things by providing a $20 credit or 2,000 miles if they do not deliver your bag within 20 minutes of arrival. At least this airline knows how to tune in to the customer; even though my issue was most likely not even their fault.
Not My First RodAAo!
Did you know that American Airlines has lost my luggage 4 times in the last 12 months? So I have lots to compare my experience with Alaska to and all I can say is that they are amazing!
When my luggage has been lost with American, the process of reporting my ‘delayed baggage’ through the baggage service office has left me feeling helpless and in need of a shower.
It reminds me of Ben Stiller’s experience with Atlantic American Airlines in the movie “Meet the Parents”. With American, my bags have finally been delivered to me 2 or 3 days after my arrival and in one case were sent back to my home airport of Miami when I was still in Madison, Wisconsin! In every case, I have had to throw a tantrum to get an allowance from American to reimburse me for essential toiletries and some Gap clothing to hold me until my luggage arrived. Oh and I have always had to wait at least 60 days for my money:)
The Alaska Airlines Difference
Upon arriving at Palm Springs and determining that my bag did not arrive with me, I approached the desk and provided the standard information about my suitcase. The very polite baggage service agent provided me with a toiletry bag and informed me that should I require additional incidentals to purchase them and provide Alaska with the receipts for reimbursement. Really? Yes and Alaska even paid United Airlines to fly my bag in the next morning due to the fact that their first flight would not have had it there until the late afternoon.
I arrived at the airport to claim my bag and Alaska wrote me a check, on-the-spot, for the incidental items I had to purchase the night before. Now that’s service and with a smile to boot!