For the first time this spring, Alaska Airlines starts the month with a small number of cancellations

After a busy holiday weekend with relatively few flight cancellations, Alaska Airlines survived the first day of June with two cancellations at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport as of Wednesday evening.

Given the experience of the previous two months, when hundreds of canceled flights left Alaska passengers across the country, this is real progress.

Passengers with reservations on June 1 feared a repeat chaos on April 1st and again on May 1st.

During the monthly pilot transition schedule for each of these dates, Alaska reserve pilots who had already flown before the monthly limit could not fill and pick up flights that were short pilots. This led to a number of flight cancellations.

But on June 1, the schedule was relatively smooth for Alaskan passengers at Sea-Tac. There, two flights to Alaska and another to Dallas were canceled.

One cancellation was caused by a mechanical malfunction of the aircraft, and two – due to weather.

It came after a crazy holiday weekend on Remembrance Day for airlines, which brought cancellation problems to airports across the country. However, Alaska, Sea-Tac’s busiest carrier, has shown flight reliability much better than Delta Air Lines ’competitor.

Alaska has canceled 40 flights on its network from Friday to Monday, which is only 1% of its schedule, according to data from the flight tracking company FlightAware. This is compared to 7% of Delta flights over the same period.

In particular, in Sea-Tac from Friday to Monday Alaska canceled 27 flights, which is less than 2% of its schedule, while Delta canceled 55 flights, which is 8% of the Sea-Tac schedule.

No other airline had significant cancellations at Sea-Tac over the weekend.

Delta’s problems were all over the network.

In a note the day before the holiday weekend, Alison Osbend, Delta’s chief customer service officer, told passengers that the airline had been very heavy and was actively cutting 100 flights a day from the schedule until early August.

She referred to the “increased level of COVID cases, which contributes to unscheduled absences in some working groups”, as well as staff shortages in suppliers in addition to the usual failures in airlines due to weather and air traffic control problems.

The result is “an operation that does not meet the standards set by Delta for the industry in recent years,” Osbend wrote.

She added that the cuts should “improve operational reliability”.

Delta passengers should hope that the reduction in flights will minimize cancellations ahead. On Wednesday, the airline canceled four flights to Si-Tak.

Last month, in a video message sent to members of the Alaska Loyalty Program, CEO Ben Minicuchi said that “as of June and beyond, we have made significant changes to ensure a high degree of reliability.” He said Alaska is hiring and training 150 new pilots, 200 additional booking agents and 1,100 new flight attendants.

“This, as well as the reduction we have made in our schedule, ensures that we will launch an operation that you can count on,” Minicuchi promised.

If June 1 becomes a real turning point, it will be the first step towards regaining the great amount of passenger friendliness lost by Alaska over the past two months.

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