Passengers who were traveling on Alaska Airlines flight AS 1282 when the door plug expelled mid-flight have been offered $1,500, a full refund and counseling to compensate for their harrowing experience onboard B737-9 MAX.
The offers were disclosed in an email from the airline to customers, which was viewed by The Wall Street Journal.
“We recognize how extremely distressing this incident must have been and we are grateful to you and our crew for everyone’s calm and patience throughout this experience,” the email read. “We will fully investigate this incident and work with the relevant authorities to understand what happened.”
The $1,500 is said to cover any “inconvenience”, and the counseling services will be provided by Empathia.
The airline also offered the passengers a “complimentary upgrade for more legroom and free inflight snacks” on their new flight bookings.
Aviation blog site Live and Let’s Fly said the email was sent just hours after the incident.
On its website, Alaska Airlines announced that there is a sitewide flexible travel policy in place for all customers.
“Due to Boeing 737-9 MAX aircraft inspections and winter weather, we are offering a flexible travel policy if you would like to change or cancel your flight,” the airline said.
Rewards program site AwardWallet also reported that Alaska Airlines had revised its policies to be more customer-friendly following the incident.
The airline improved policies for schedule changes and flight cancellations for customers on all flights, not just those affected by the B737 MAX 9 grounding. Travelers can now get a full refund for schedule changes as short as one hour.
Additionally, if Alaska cancels a flight, passengers can immediately get a refund online without having to call an airline representative. Travel dates can also be changed up to 14 days, instead of the previous three-day window.
AwardWallet said that with those changes in place, Alaska Airlines now has the most customer-friendly policy among all US airlines.
On January 5, 2024, Alaska Airlines flight AS 1282 took off from Portland International Airport (PDX) to Ontario International Airport (ONT) in California. When the flight reached an altitude of over 16,000 feet, the aircraft’s left plug door near row 26 disengaged from the fuselage.
The flight returned safely to PDX airport, with all 177 people, including six crewmembers, safe and uninjured.