A message from Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci: Getting back on track

Running a great operation is part of what makes Alaska Airlines who we are, but at the moment, we’re not living up to that commitment. CEO Ben Minicucci apologizes for the impact and shares how we’re getting back to being the airline you know and trust.

To hear why this happened and the actions we’re taking to make it right, please watch this two-minute video message.

Read Ben’s letter to employees about returning to operational excellence and our commitment to them and our guests.

Full video transcript:

Hi everyone, I’m Ben Minicucci, CEO of Alaska Airlines. For many years we’ve taken pride in running a strong operation. However, we aren’t living up to that commitment right now, and for that, I’m deeply sorry.  

I hear every day from friends, neighbors and guests about how disruptive our flight cancellations have been. Everybody wants to know, “What happened? And what are you doing about it?”  

Simply put, we had 63 fewer pilots than what we planned for when we built our schedule. By the time we caught this error, April and May schedules were bid on by our pilots and flight attendants, making it impossible to sufficiently adjust schedules to avoid cancellations.  

This error is having a continued ripple effect for May. Of the 1,200 flights that we operate every day, we’ve been canceling about 50 of them, that’s about 4%. A canceled flight is frustrating enough, but then you often face long hold times when you try to reach someone in Reservations. This is coming at a time when flights are already full, so rebooking options are limited.  

Even though we made immediate changes, it takes some time for a complex operation to turn the corner. The month of May will continue to be choppy and we’re doing everything we can to minimize the impact on you.  

For June and beyond, we’ve made significant changes to ensure a high degree of reliability.  

This includes hiring and training: 150 new pilots, 200 additional reservations agents. And 1,100 new flight attendants.  

This, along with the reductions we’ve made to our schedule, will ensure we run an operation that you can count on.  

I’m grateful for the people at Alaska and Horizon who are working long hours to take care of you and make the best of this tough situation.  

The foundation of our airline is strong. Long term, Alaska is a resilient airline with 90 years of history – and through it all, you’ve helped shape our airline and make us better.  I’m committed to you, to our people, and to our communities. We’ll get this right and return to being the Alaska you can count on. Thank you.