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Alberta Couple Wages Social Media Battle Against Alaska Airlines

An Alberta couple has thrown down the social media gauntlet in their compensation battle with Alaska Airlines.

Dan Blais and Colleen Roberge traveled to Las Vegas for the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, with their eight-month-old son Levi.  The purpose for the trip – their wedding!

The couple enjoyed the weekend and were ready to consider Levi’s first trip a raging success, when disaster struck.  Disaster took the innocent, though gag inducing, form of a diaper explosion.

Dan and Colleen arrived at the gate 20 minutes ahead of the scheduled departure for their flight from Vegas to Edmonton, via Seattle.  That’s when Levi had a moment of poorly timed incontinence.  The couple was then faced with a dilemma; board the plane with poop running down Levi’s leg, or run to the bathroom for a quick change.  Colleen chose to dash to the bathroom, while Dan approached the Alaska Airlines agent to let her know what had happened and that his wife and son would be back momentarily.

He was floored by the agent’s response, “I’ll give you two minutes.”  He was informed that if his wife and son were not at the gate in two minutes, their tickets would go to passengers waiting on the standby list.

Despite a frantic race to change and dress Levi and return to the boarding gate, Colleen’s seat on the plane was gone.

So was their luggage – off to Seattle leaving Dan, Colleen and Levi in Las Vegas with nothing and no plan to get home.  They were told they could join the standby list, but there were 20 people ahead of them.  They were also told they could purchase alternate tickets with Alaska Airlines but there were no seats available for a couple of days.

In the end, Dan and Colleen forked out the doe for an unexpected night’s stay in Las Vegas and an additional $1,000 for tickets on a WestJet flight the following day.

The couple has contacted Alaska Airlines to request compensation for their ordeal but they have judged the airlines offers inadequate.

So, in an effort to shame the airline into cooperation, the couple have set up a blog and a Twitter account @AlaskaAirH8sFam.

The airline has posted an explanation of their policies in the comments section of the blog.  In the explanation they say that they cannot accommodate passengers who are late to the gate, as it disrupts everyone.  They offered two $400 travel vouchers as compensation, but the couple have refused them.

I have heard a lot of different opinions on this situation and I have visited the blog and have read many of the comments.  Honestly, I’m not sure which side I’m on.  Part of me thinks, ‘be on time for your flight, no matter what.’  But another part of me empathises with their situation.  After all, there but for an inopportune poop go I.  Knowing me, I would have boarded the flight, poop and all and dealt with it on the plane…but that’s just me. – Jen R, Staff Writer

Editor note:  Tonight the couple was contacted by a director at Alaska Airlines to resolve this issue.  They have apologized for what happened and offered to reimburse the family $1000, which was all they were looking for. Congrats to them.  Traveling with kids is tough, but it gets tougher when everything goes wrong. We hope their future trips are less dramatic.

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About the author

Jen R

Jen R should have been a spy; she would have been really great at it. Instead, she has found limitless happiness raising a future international man of mystery. She is a writer, a maker of suppers, a kisser of boo boos and a finder of lost things. She would always prefer to watch politics than sports and will never watch a soap opera...ever.


  • Dan, you are an idiot. As has been pointed out numerous times, you should have (per your ticket etc) been at the gate not 20 minutes prior to departure, but 40 minutes prior to departure. The fact that you were not there even close to 40 minutes prior, yet complain that you were not late indicates a number of things. First, that you can’t do simple math. Either that or you didn’t feel you could be bothered to. Second, you planned poorly. That is, you apparently did not plan to arrive at the airport early enough to ensure that you would be at the gate by the 40 minute deadline. Third, that you are extremely self-absorbed. I’m giving serious thought to launching my own series of social networking groups to point out to the world what a whiny man-child you are.

  • This is insane. They were late to board the plane, expect the airline to accommodate them regardless of the hundreds of passengers waiting to leave, refuse a more-than-fair settlement and then bitch and moan until the airline, basically in fear of public reprisal from their slanderous blog, agrees to pony up $1000 which essentially comes out of the pockets of all future travellers. The moment that ridiculous blog went up (Alaska Air hates “families” … really? What does this have to do with families?) the airline should have retracted their offer and sued the couple for libel.

  • i am embarrassed that you are a canadian, how dare you make some broad statement such as alaskan airlines hates families.

    i have travelled alaskan airlines numerous times with children and have always been treated fairly. my children have even got to sit in the cockpit. the difference between you and i is that i arrived on time and don’t expect everyone to cater to me.

    no i am not a perfect parent nor am i an employee…i simply have common sense & believe in common courtesy.

    i hope alaskan airlines sues you for defamation. i actually agree with the gentleman above – you are an idiot!

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