Passenger Says Alaska Airlines Left Him ‘Stranded’ in the Arctic

  • A passenger has accused Alaska Airlines of leaving him stranded at a remote Arctic airport.
  • He told One Mile At A Time that runway work and bad weather halted flights from the isolated airport.
  • The traveler said if he had been informed of the runway issues he would not have flown there.

A passenger has accused Alaska Airlines of leaving him and three companions “stranded” at a remote Arctic airport.

The passenger, only identified as Jim, told the travel blog One Mile at A Time that about 100 passengers were unable to leave the remote airport in Barrow, Alaska.

Jim said he had flown to the isolated airport on August 25 for an overnight trip but upon arrival found that the flight he took “was the first flight that had been able to land in Barrow for the last 3-4 days.”

He said: “Many people we talked with in the hotel have been stranded since Monday and informed us we had little chance of getting out today or even in the next few days.”

The airport, in one of the northernmost points in the United States, is only accessible by air.

The passenger said he had only packed luggage for one night but was rebooked onto a flight on August 29 – four days later.

“Many tourists came here, as we did, for a quick overnight to see the Arctic Ocean,” Jim told the travel blog.

Data from flight tracking site Flight Aware suggests that no Alaska Airlines flights left Wiley Post-Will Rogers Airport (BRW) in Barrow on August 23, 24, 26, or 29.

Jim said that the flight disruption was due to construction on airport runways along with bad weather.

He said the airport radar was not working, resulting in “a much higher requirement for the cloud ceiling – 600 ft instead of the 200 [ft] usually required if all the ground equipment is functional. “

“We are all missing many days of pre-booked and expensive excursions and accommodations,” he added.

“Had we been informed of the fact that no flights had landed for the past several days, and that radar problems combined with the weather would likely result in delays returning, we would never have left Anchorage.”

Alaska Airlines did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

A representative for the airline told The Independent: “Our highest priority is safety, and we will not operate any flight if there’s a safety concern”.

“Runway construction in Utqiagvik [Barrow], Alaska (BRW) has caused lower minimums required to land. Our pilots, who complete rigorous Arctic qualifications to land safely in these locations with challenging environments, attempted multiple flights last week only to have to return to Anchorage due to the minimums. “

The spokesperson added: “Every flight this week has departed with many open seats, meaning that everyone who needed to get to or from Utqiagvik has done so.”

“While still always at the mercy of Arctic weather, the Department of Transportation is expected to complete their runway construction in the next two weeks when we’ll be able to return to normal minimum restrictions.”

Like many other airlines, Alaska Airlines has dealt with a difficult summer of flight cancelations and travel disruptions.

Alaska Airlines canceled 3.33% of its total flights from January to June 2022, making it one of the top ten worst airlines for flight cancelations this year, according to data from the US Department of Transportation.

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