Snow and COVID surge cancels or postpones many Alaska Airlines flights in Seattle

Bags at an airport and people in line.
Dozens of suitcases that arrived late are collected at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on Tuesday. Flight delays and cancellations have tangled travelers’ plans and led to baggage confusion. (Bart Rudolph)

Hundreds of Alaska Airlines flights to and from Seattle have been canceled or delayed because of snowy weather conditions and COVID-related staffing shortages. That includes some flights headed to Alaska.

The weather is requiring the jets to be de-iced in Seattle, which can take up to 30 minutes. The added time has ripple effects leading to delays and cancellations. More than 350 flights have been canceled so far. 

Also, according to Alaska Airlines’ blog, the highly contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus is contributing to staffing issues. 

Almost all flights from Seattle to Juneau or Anchorage on Tuesday were delayed.

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On social media, travelers reported long wait times at Alaska Airlines kiosks in the airport and on the airline’s customer service number. The recording at the customer service number advised callers Tuesday that many flights were canceled and many people were trying to get home.

“By postponing your call, it will allow them to get to an agent sooner,” it said. “If your request is not urgent, please call back next week.”

The delays are also tangling up luggage. Dozens of late bags were stacked at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on Tuesday as long lines formed at customer service.

And with delayed flights, it can mean missing a connecting flight. The airline is recommending travelers do their rebooking online instead of calling or rebooking at the airport. And if you don’t need to travel before Jan. 2, the airline is recommending pushing travel plans back. 

RELATED: Hundreds of passengers headed for villages stranded in Bethel over the Christmas holidays

Travelers impacted by the cancellations and delays might be eligible for reimbursement of their travel expenses. 

Are you an Alaskan stranded out of state because of delayed or canceled flights? We’re hoping to talk with you as part of our ongoing reporting. Email us at news@alaskapublic.org.

Bags at an airport and people in line.
Travelers search for their bags and stand in line to talk to customer service at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. (Bart Rudolph)

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Alaska Public Media’s Tegan Hanlon contributed to this report.

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