At Alaska Airlines, flight reductions coming as COVID-19 causes passengers to rebook or cancel

An Alaska Airlines plane at Juneau International Airport on March 3, 2003. (Creative Commons photo by Gillfoto)

Like other airlines, Alaska Airlines continues to grapple with passengers rebooking or canceling flights due to the widening coronavirus pandemic, including reducing its overall number of flights in April and May.

As the Seattle-based airline deals with a continuous flood of phone calls, it is asking customers to put off calling if their travel plans are more than 72 hours in the future and, in general, diverting customers to its website.

The airline is waiving change and cancelation fees for specific dates.

For people who purchased tickets on or before Feb. 26, the fee waiver applies to travel that would have occurred through the end of April. For those who purchased tickets after Feb. 26 and until the end of March, the fee waiver applies to travel that would have occurred through the end of February 2021.

Alaska Airlines will also pull back on the number of flights it had scheduled for this spring.

Related: Read more coronavirus coverage from Alaska Public Media.

The airline has, on average, 50 flights a day to and from Alaska and within the state. And, network-wide, Alaska Airlines is looking at reducing its overall number of flights in response to coronavirus-related declines.

A company spokesman says no decision on that has yet been made. But in a filing to the federal Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, Alaska Airlines said in no uncertain terms it is immediately reducing flights in April by at least 10 percent and flights in May by at least 15 percent.

In the filing, the company also says it is freezing hiring, pursuing borrowing $500 million and halting $300 million in capital spending, and that both its CEO and president will not take a salary as the coronavirus crisis continues.

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Casey Grove is the host of Alaska News Nightly and a general assignment reporter at Alaska Public Media with an emphasis on crime and courts. Reach him at cgrove@alaskapublic.org.