Rochelle has a destination wedding planned this November in Mazatlan, Mexico, and she and most of her guests planned to travel on the same Alaska Airlines flights from Seattle. They reserved this travel far in advance. Too far in advance, apparently. Alaska Airlines has since cut their number of weekly flights to Mazatlan, forcing the couple and their guests to find different flights on different days. The schedule change prevents some guests from attending altogether. The problem: the airline didn’t actually tell the couple about this, instead letting them find out from another guest who booked her travel through Orbitz.
For most travelers, five months’ notice for a ticket change isn’t much of a big deal. For a tightly planned destination wedding designed around the Alaska Airlines flight schedule, only five months’ notice is apparently a disaster.
I planned a wedding in Mazatlan for Nov. 10, with travel down there from Seattle on Alaska Airlines on Nov. 7, returning on Nov. 13. Several other guests also booked the same flights so we could travel together.
On June 17, my aunt received an email from Orbitz (who she booked through) that the flights were cancelled. We called Alaska Airlines directly to confirm this and they said that yes, our flights were cancelled. They changed their schedule and were no longer flying to Mazatlan on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, so we had to change our travel dates to fly on the days that they had service (only Saturday, Sunday, and Monday).
Because of this, we had to change our wedding date to November 14, and our whole trip dates to November 11 to 17. Because of the date change forced by Alaska, several of our guests now cannot come due to other commitments on that week. Alaska has been very condescending and rude during this entire thing.
One guest spoke to an Alaska representative who told her own story of having a travel delay and accused my guest of not being compassionate to the representative’s own travel issues.
We have been offered no compensation, upgrades, or credits for this disaster. Alaska has been rude to us via both Twitter and telephone calls. I am angry and disappointed that Alaska did not notify us of the cancellation (we had to find out via Orbitz), that they have not been apologetic or given us any compensation for this mess, and now several guests cannot come because of Alaska cancelling our flights.
Looking through Rochelle’s Twitter exchanges with the airline, nothing stands out as especially rude. The representatives just don’t seem to understand why having to reschedule an entire wedding around their flight schedule changes is a problem.
The most practical solution would be to allow some guests to cancel their flights with no penalty or fees so they can travel on another airline with a more accommodating schedule, assuming that there is one.