An Alaska Airlines flight from Washington DC to San Francisco was allegedly delayed on Monday because the Captain had a disagreement with the First Officer and decided to walk off the plane rather than fly with the other pilot.
The incident aboard Alaska flight AS1080 left passengers speechless after the Captain took to the intercom to inform them that he was going to return to the gate because she wasn’t “getting along” with the co-pilot.
Passengers say the flight had already been delayed due to thunderstorms in the Washington area but they were then left on the aircraft for more than two hours while Alaska tried to find a new pilot to operate the flight.
The Airbus A320 operated service should have departed Dulles at 4:10 pm but in the end, the flight didn’t get underway until nearly 7:30 pm and eventually landed in San Francisco nearly two and a half hours late.
“This is a first for me. Alaska #1080 from IAD to SFO, already delayed due to weather, comes back to the gate. Pilot says he and his first officer can’t get along… so in the interest of safety..’ and then leaves the plane,” wrote Al Jackson, executive vice president of health at public relations from Ketchum in a tweet.
Another passenger said the Captain left the airplane “fuming” after returning to the gate.
A third said the pilot initially told the passengers they were returning to the gate due to a “failure to get along.” The Twitter user continued: “Very scary that your pilots could be this careless and flippant”.
Describing the incident on Reddit, a fourth passenger said the replacement pilot was met with “roaring applause” but passengers never found out whether they were flying with the “hard to get along with passenger”.
Pilots at Alaska Airlines have been in dispute with the airline for years now over protracted contract negotiations but things took a turn for the worse in May when pilots voted overwhelmingly in favor of authorizing strike action.
One of the main issues affecting Alaska pilots is that they believe they are being overworked and don’t have the kind of scheduling flexibility that pilots at other airlines enjoy.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.