Alaska Airlines Passengers Get $500 After Fish, Formaldehyde Spill On Luggage

Image courtesy of Flying Photog

We all know that there are risks to checking luggage on a flight — lost bags, damaged or stolen items, mix-ups with other passengers’ luggage — but what you probably don’t assume is that your checked bag will end up covered in formaldehyde and dead fish. 
KTVA-TV reports that Alaska Airlines has had to apologize to passengers on a recent flight from Barrow to Anchorage after buckets of fish being transported in the plane’s cargo hold spilled, doing damage to at least one bag and delaying delivery of others.

According to the airline, upon landing, crews unloading the cargo area of the plane smelled the chemical — used to preserve the fish during transport — and noticed the spill.

The cargo hold is sealed off from the main cabin area, so passengers were not exposed to the formaldehyde, which can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. The bags on the plane were tested for the presence of the chemical.

An Alaska Airlines spokeswoman tells KTVA that only one bag in the cargo area was damaged by the spill. That bag was sent out for additional testing, while the airline plans to pay to replace its contents.

“We feel awful about this situation, and [are] doing further analysis of this,” the spokeswoman said Monday.

In addition to paying for the damaged bag and its contents, the airline tells KTVA that it will refund tickets and issue a $500 voucher to all passengers as a result of the baggage delay.

Buckets of formaldehyde and fish spill on Alaska Airlines flight [KTVA-TV]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.