Generally when people decide to pay it forward, it involves purchasing the coffee for the vehicle behind them in the drive-thru or covering the cost of diapers for the woman ahead of them at the register. For an employee of Alaska Airlines in Seattle it meant taking out her own credit card to buy a new plane ticket for another airline’s stranded passenger.
News1130 reports that moment of goodwill came after a Vancouver woman received the runaround from Delta Air Lines at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport while trying to return home from a business trip in California.
The woman says that Delta canceled her ticket home because of issues stemming from her initial flight, including delays, a diverted flight and an unscheduled overnight stay. But instead of being stuck at the airport overnight, an employee of a rival airline stepped in.
The ordeal began last week when the airplane that was supposed to take the woman and her fellow passengers to Seattle was delayed arriving at the Vancouver airport due to weather.
“When it arrived it was delayed even longer because of mechanical maintenance issues, they couldn’t get it started,” she tells News1130. “When we finally got up into the air, they couldn’t land in Seattle because of weather.”
The flight was then diverted to Portland. But once the plane landed, the woman says the passengers were told to stay seated, that the flight was headed back to Seattle. She says the airline assured passengers there would be agents waiting to help them with connections.
Instead, everyone was given a voucher for a hotel stay, with flights beginning in the morning.
Although the woman made it to her meeting in California on time, arriving at the Seattle airport for her return home proved to be an even more unpleasant experience because of confusion with her original ticket.
“They said ‘Don’t worry. We’ll assign you a seat once you get to the gate, just go because they’re already boarding,'” she says. “So, I am rushing through security, I am begging people in the security lineup to let me go ahead of them because the flight is going to take off without me.”
When she arrived at the gate, the agent informed her that the ticket was canceled and the doors had closed.
The confusion continued when she went back to the ticket counter. After about an hour, the Delta agent told her that the original flight’s return ticket was canceled because of the issues flying to Seattle and that the next available flight wouldn’t leave until the following day.
“When they had the mechanical maintenance and we ended up in Seattle and had to spend the night in a hotel there, they used the rest of the value of my entire ticket on that rescheduled flight that morning so there was no more money for me to fly home,” she says. “They didn’t tell me that.”
That’s when an Alaska Airlines employee stepped in, offering the woman a voucher for an earlier flight on that airline.
“She’s filling it out and I thought she just had these free passes,” the woman says. “At one point her coworkers were standing behind her saying ‘Judy! Judy! You don’t have to do that.’ And she says ‘You know what, I’m paying it forward, it’s OK.’ At this point I realize something is up and she pulls out her credit card and starts putting in her credit card information.”
The woman says other Alaska Airlines employees told her the agent was paying for her ticket to ensure she would get home.
“She paid for my ticket, she paid for me to get home,” the woman tells News1130. “She didn’t know me at all. I was boarding and I thanked her again and she hugged me. It was amazing. She didn’t need to do that at all, she took care of me.”