Travelers with mobility scooters cannot depart Bellingham International Airport on Alaska/Horizon flights because the airline cannot carry the mobility device on its new aircraft.
Tony Taft was traveling with his mother, Kay, but was denied boarding In Seattle on the last road to Bellingham the night flight because the plane cannot carry Kay’s mobility scooter.
Horizon Air, Alaska Air’s sister airline, recently switched all Bellingham flights from a Q400 turboprop to an Embraer 175 jet, which currently cannot carry mobile devices in the hold.
The problem will likely persist for weeks. Horizon Air is working with the FAA and the plane’s manufacturer, Embraer, to fix the problem, Horizon Air said. spokesman Bobby Egan. Meanwhile, alternative measures are being taken for passengers affected by the issue.
“We understand the significant impact on our guests who rely on these mobile devices and are working with any affected to accommodate them on another main flight or on another airline. We also reimburse reasonable additional costs or offer a full refund,” Egan said.
The Tufts were accommodated by the airline on Sunday, January 15, and Tony Taft said that: despite the problem, he remains a loyal Alaska Airlines customer. The airline allowed them to fly out on E175, but they had to leave the mobility scooter behind in Seattle. Horizon/Alaska provided a temporary mobility device when they landed in Bellingham and shipped their scooter at the airline’s expense.
“It was very traumatic,” Tony Taft said. “Bringing my disabled mother home after a very long journey and then being denied entry for the last flight of the night, getting home was not a good situation.”
Sunday, there were two reasons portables could not be transported on the E175. Taft’s problem was that the seat belts used to secure luggage in the hold area of the aircraft did not meet the requirements for securing a mobility device. According to Egan, this issue has been resolved. The other problem that still exists is balancing the aircraft. Mobility devices are often heavier than standard baggage and must be evenly spaced on the aircraft.
Horizon Air discovered the problem in December after it began flying the new aircraft on the Bellingham flights and there were some flights with portable storage devices. After discovering the balance issue, Horizon Air stopped putting the devices on planes and posted notices of the problem on its website.
“We told people to contact us if they are traveling on the E175 mobile,” Egan said. “For any customer check-in or ticket where we knew they were traveling on a mobile device, we made an effort to contact them. However, not everyone lists whether they travel with a mobile device, nor do they have to.”
People traveling with mobile devices are encouraged to contact the airline prior to flight.
He had eighteen people On Tuesday, January 17th, the issue was affected. Egan said Horizon does what it can to help these passengers, including offering them other flights that can accommodate their mobility device or providing temporary mobility devices such as wheelchairs at the arrivals location. and delivery of passenger’s personal device to them. According to Egan, the cost is covered by the airline.
Travelers are also being offered alternate flight tickets, Egan said, adding that the airline does not want to “break” any travel parties.