Alaska Air Customer ServiceCustomer Service Alaska Air
This is still not a very good reward for those who start with customer service or making a reservation.
A fun place to work with great travelling advantages. Flight cancellations can be a challenging task to help the passenger find another itinerary to get to where they want to go, as the flight is usually quite full.
Since Alaska Air reduces cost, staff dissatisfaction increases and passengers' loyalties are at stake.
In the midst of a continuous quest for lower airline operating expenses, a demanding Alaska Airlines fusion, and operating turbulence at Horizon Air, many Alaska Air passengers and flight crews are profoundly unhappy. Alaska' s image as an account manager is at stake in the face of strong competitive pressure from Delta. When 2017 ended, the Alaska Air Group managed fought to impact Wall Street with lower prices.
However, the company's emphasis on controlling costs has greatly annoyed its own staff about its managers - and fears that the cost-cutting drive could harm the airline in its fight with Delta Air Lines for its home in Seattle. A few dissatisfied Alaska Airlines pilot who are still furious at the management's approach to negotiating contracts last autumn are consciously decelerating Alaska airports in a small but noticeable way.
During December, cabin crews stood up against the latest small cost-cutting move scheduled for January - to remove free Biscoff cookie bites from 10:11 a.m. departures, allegedly saving $3 million a year. Staff named the Cookiegate scheme Cookiegate, and the airline quickly picked it up after cabin crew members claimed it would estrange people.
While Alaska is in the middle of an aggressive growth program to add new planes and goals, it faces the costly task of incorporating Alaska Airlines with Virgin America. Staff and academics are concerned that Alaska could loose passengers' loyalties by lowering its standard while Delta increases its play. Alaska' s good customer service record is at stake due to the dissatisfaction of airline drivers and flight crews.
Bob Mann, aircraft advisor, described a catch-22 for Alaska. The bottom -line thrust of the Alaska leadership will be fueled both by increasing pricing wars with competing carriers and by pressures on the stock market if cost containment is not achieved. Alaska informed investor in December that the cost per passenger per kilometre of seats travelled in the 4th fiscal year, without the cost of fuels and mergers, would increase by 5 per cent over the prior year, while sales per passenger per kilometre would decrease by approximately 4 per cent.
In December, after Wall Street's senior executives had reassured them that it would cut cost, Cowen Equity Research finance researcher Helane Becker made Alaska her best equity selection for 2018. However, when Wall Street begins the year optimistically about a reversal from last year's fighting, pilot and cabin crew are profoundly unhappy, as an in-house year-end poll shows.
In Alaska, the country's fifth-largest carrier, Alaska' planes are dissatisfied that their salaries are lower than those of the three big companies (American, Delta and United). Cabin crew say the work regulations have decreased their planning agility. Everyone fears the uncertainties surrounding the takeover of Virgin America by Alaska. At the forefront of Alaska Airlines' yearly J.D. Power customer experience rankings among traditionally served U.S. operators for 10 successive years, a track-record based largely on its call for customer service warmth from frontline staff.
A number of travellers have already experienced a decline in operating and service levels. In November, Bill Calder, a senior manager of communications and Alaska' s golden fleet, tweeted: "In an November interviewer, he was complaining about cancelled and frequently delayed planes awaiting to board the Seattle Stargate. Speaking on a Friday morning Portland to Seattle trip after embarking on a trip one hour too early, he said he then boarded the aircraft for about 90 min on a 30 minute physical journey, which included seated at the gates and awaiting disembarkation.
An experienced stewardess in Alaska said she had missed much of the elasticity she once had in her timetable. Although the pilots' trade unions concluded their corresponding agreement in October with a strong salary increase, the drivers are even angrier. "Certainly there is anger at the moment," said a Alaska Airlines vet master, who saw his salary surge with the new deal increase by $35 per flying hour to $251 per hour at the top of the tariff class.
This means a possible $1,000 million per year per annum wage, with a limit of 1,000 flying hour s/year permitted by state regulations. Whilst he himself is friendly with management's point of view and agrees that Alaska is exposed to a serious competition menace by Delta, he sees a disturbing flare-up of dissatisfaction among his colleagues - which, he says, was fuelled by the harsh critique of pilot trade unions senior staff during contractual negotiations.
To some extent, rage is stirred up about the management's refusal to bargain with the pilots' trade unions and to force the discussions into mediation. It is also due to the fact that the referee lowered the pilot salaries by 5 to 6 per cent compared to the three major carriers and accepted management's arguments that the smaller airline needs this rupture to be able to compete on the costs side.
One long-time first mate in Alaska said the airline's pilot fleet is likely to be flying more diverse and challenging itineraries than their colleagues at other carriers, as well as to the Aleut Islands and the Arctic. In view of this and Alaska's viability, why can its pilots can not be remunerated at a maximum level, he asked. Although the judgement of the referee officially ended the contractual controversy a few month ago, some drivers still wore the key chains in December to wire their upset.
A number of aviators express their discontent by consciously decelerating their aircraft' floor operations - spend a few extra moments than necessary at a starting point between the gate and the Sea Tac tarmac, thus obstructing air travel behind them, or roll slower to the take-off area. Air Alaska Air speaker Bobbie Egan flatly disavowed that this is going to happen.
Adding just a few extra seconds to the overall flying experience - without causing significant passenger delay - it makes the system much less effective than it could be. Alaska' s senior executives, headed by Chief Executive Brad Tilden, purchased San Francisco-based Virgin America at the end of 2016 with the goal of expanding and connecting a dominating West Coast net.
The following year, the difficulties of bringing together the fleet, staff and computer equipment of the two unequal carriers attracted the interest of senior managers. The Alaska Air Group today has around 23,000 staff, 64 per cent more than three years ago. At the beginning of this year, the airline anticipates that it will have uniform computer equipment for most features and a unique reservation system for the two carriers by April.
"Tilden said in a year end embassy to the staff that the fusion is going well. The low wage rate at the Horizon Air branch - which supplies smaller airport operations with Alaska Airlines - led to a serious lack of airline crews, leading to the cancellation of several hundred aircraft. Horizont was compelled to significantly shorten its autumn timetable and will have to hire around 400 more aircraft by the end of 2018 in order to be able to continue its existing service.
Teamsters Local 1224's Horizon pilot Greg Unterseher questions the airline's capability to achieve this goal. "``We see no way of getting these planes. Tilden tried to alleviate employees' anxiety in a year-end dispatch addressed specifically to Horizon staff following the retirement of Horizon Chief Executive Dave Campbell. "The Horizon is a part of our futures, a crucial part of our existence in our major cities," Tilden commented.
While Alaska is struggling with these issues, it must also deal with the competition threats of Delta, the second biggest carrier in the can. On Alaska' s in-house staff website, a December review found that Delta now has 59 off Sea-Tac itineraries overlapping with Alaska's - only three in 2013 - and announces it is planning to raise Seattle seat levels by nearly 20 per cent in early 2018.
In the meantime, Delta pushes Alaska by enhancing the offer. The Seattle-New York Delta line, for example, which has been a secondary service for years, has been developed into a genuine trans-continental service. The Alaska staff expressed their concern in their staff commentaries on Alaska's in-house website about the competitors with Delta. "Delta's goal is to help us lead," said a cabin crew member.
A staff questionnaire published in December and published in-house revealed a positive assessment of the enterprise, which fell by a total of 13 per cent in comparison with the year before. Horizon had 53% positive staff, Virgin 56% positive and Alaska 76% positive. This last figure was 10 per cent lower than in 2016.
Recognizing the low poll ratings, Alaska Air spokesperson Bryan Zidar said they show that merger is tough and changes are never simple. He said that criticism of the website was an indication of the airline's open communications policy. In his end-of-year statement to staff in Alaska, Tilden said he was cautiously optimistic.
Said he will be bringing the definitive 2018 integrations of Virgin's system with Alaska's in 2018, plus upgraded airplane interior schedules, onboard Wi-Fi satellites, new uniform, upgraded air field terminal in Alaska and Paine Field flight in Everett. However, with a view to the problems at Horizon and the tough contractual discussions with the drivers, he also paid tribute to the increasing discomfort of many people.