More than 300 flights canceled in two days at Sea-Tac

Jan 9, 2024, 8:35 AM | Updated: 9:12 am

(Photo from Sam Campbell)...

(Photo from Sam Campbell)

(Photo from Sam Campbell)

Delays and cancellations are multiplying at Sea-Tac Airport Monday following the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max 9, stranding thousands of passengers as the changes back up travel.

All 737 Max 9s were taken out of action following Friday’s Alaska Airlines incident over Oregon when part of the fuselage blew off shortly after takeoff.

More news: Door plug found after “explosive decompression” of Boeing Max 9

On Monday, Alaska Airlines canceled more than 140 flights at SeaTac, with dozens more delays. On Tuesday, that total is more than 300 cancelled flights in two days.

Aimie Mattinson was flying back from Hawaii when she got stranded in Seattle on her way to Salt Lake City.

“It was like a three-hour wait, and someone was supposed to call me back, and no one did, and then when we got here today, they said we would have a place to stay, but we didn’t,” Mattinson said. “I got rebooked because my husband had done it while I was on the plane, but they said there was nothing they could do while we wait here for 12 hours.”

Mattinson is glad the planes were grounded but faults Alaska Air for not providing better customer service. Mattinson is booked to fly out of SeaTac later this afternoon to Salt Lake City.

One grieving couple from Alaska told KIRO 7 they had spent the last two days stuck at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. They arrived Saturday only to learn their connecting flight to Atlanta to join family members mourning the loss of their granddaughter was canceled.

“That was our biggest question,” said Serena Stout. “Why didn’t they let us know when we were still in Anchorage that they were canceling the flight? Why we have to get to Seattle to find that out?”

The Federal Aviation Administration ordered the grounding of some Boeing Max 9 operated by U.S. airlines or flown into the country by foreign carriers until they are inspected. The emergency order affects about 171 planes worldwide.

More news: FAA grounds about 170 Boeing 737-9 Max aircraft after Portland flight blowout

The NTSB has begun an investigation that is likely to last months.

Alaska Airlines said it had canceled 170 Sunday flights, affecting 25,000 passengers, and expects cancelations to continue through the first half of the week.

Boeing has released a statement regarding the F-A-A’s grounding of the planes, saying, “Safety is our top priority, and we deeply regret the impact this event has had on our customers and their passengers. We agree with and fully support the F-A-A’s decision to require immediate inspections of 737-9 airplanes with the same configuration as the affected airplane.”

Boeing said it supported the FAA’s decision to require immediate inspections and said it was providing technical help to the investigators.

Alaska Airlines declined a request for an interview with KIRO Newsradio.

Federal regulators have not disclosed how long their investigation might take or how long the planes will need to be grounded while they are inspected. However, in a statement released Wednesday, Alaska Airlines said it expects inspections to be completed “in the next few days.”

A spokesperson with SeaTac airport offered the following statement:

“We mostly are helping facilitate managing the rebooking lines with Alaska. Our Pathfinder staff is helping direct travelers. They’ve been using the overflow plans we’ve had due to the construction on the north end of the ticketing area. That’s opening the area where cruise ship travelers use during their season on the first floor of the garage.

Outside of that, there has been no operational impacts on the airfield or other flights. Alaska is working hard to manage the rebooking process.”

Contributing: Sam Campbell, KIRO 7

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