Alaska Airlines App Glitch

Warning: rant ahead….

Unfortunately I believe I discovered an Alaska Airlines App glitch.  I say unfortunately because it cost me a First Class seat and got me downgraded to Coach.

When traveling back from Buenos Aires, I had a 6 hour layover in SFO and my booked flight was Alaska Airlines’ 6:05pm flight to SEA.  I was upgraded to First and was going to get to sit with my mom (who had spent Christmas in San Francisco) and was in First class through one of my Gold upgrade codes.

However, after getting in a bit early at 11:00am I wasn’t looking forward to staying at SFO for 7 hours so I checked for earlier flights on Alaska.  Luckily, there was a 2:25pm flight.  After traveling for 24 hours, my mom would understand me deserting her for the earlier flight.

The flight said “coach only” so I decided to call in to see if there was any way I could get First class on the 2:35pm flight.  The agent said she couldn’t see any availability for the 2:35pm flight and only one seat on the 4:35pm flight.  After a pause she said she wasn’t even showing a 2:35pm flight out of SFO.

I thanked her, assuming that because it was within an hour of the flight (by now it was 1:00pm) it wasn’t showing up on her system, and decided I would just change flights on the app.  My mistake.  I should have listened to her.

I logged back into the iPhone app and selected the 2:35pm flight.  I confirmed the time… yep, 2:35pm getting in at 4:40pm.  I considered how I would get home; Uber or the light rail, and decided on the light rail since this would be the start of rush hour.  The app said I would be giving up First class; I agreed since it meant getting home 3.5 hours earlier!

When the change went through the boarding pass said the flight was at 4:35pm, getting in at 6:40pm.  Wait, what?  I called back.  Not only was I now booked on a 4:35pm flight but I also was unable to switch back to my 6:05pm flight in First.  Someone else had been upgraded and my seat was gone.

After speaking to a manager that insinuated I was lying about the issue, I was offered a $100 discount on a future flight or 4,000 miles.  I pulled the DYKWIA card; saying I was an MVP Gold 75k (which I am after today’s flights).  Still nothing they could do.

So, what do I think happened?

Here is my guess.  I had been flying from Buenos Aires and had a layover in Mexico City for a couple hours.  Mexico City is CST; two hours ahead of SFO which is on PST.

My guess is that the Alaska Airlines App glitch was pushing times two hours ahead (or behind) and labeling them incorrectly because some how my phone’s time was telling it to do so.  I have traveled across the country with Alaska and never had this problem… so maybe it had to do with the fact that my phone had been on a non-American cell carrier?

Or maybe I am being too generous and Alaska’s app just royally screwed up.

No matter what, it is a first world problem, I 100% realize.  I do have to say I was a bit shocked by the manager’s tone on the phone.  I know the easiest explanation would be that I was tired from travel and misread the departure time.  I even wonder that a bit myself.  However, I checked so many times (especially after the call the first time) and I have no doubt that my phone screen said 2:45pm departure.  Had it been something non-travel related I would have chalked it up to tired eyes and moved on.  I do believe that there is something wrong with Alaska’s app and I will not be using it for Same Day changes any time in the future.  On top of that, I will take screen shots of anything I do on the app (not that that would have helped, but at least I would have a record).

I would encourage you to do the same (and also listen to the folks on the phone, clearly their system is more accurate than the app).

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