Local

737 MAX 9 groundings have thousands stranded as Alaska cancellations mount

SEATAC, Wash. — Thousands of Alaska Airlines passengers remain stranded after part of an aircraft blew off mid-flight.

Alaska says the logjam of canceled flights likely won’t end for a few more days.

Some 25,000 passengers learned their flights were canceled Sunday after the FAA re-grounded all 737 MAX 9 aircraft. On Monday at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, roughly 80 Alaska flights had been cancelled as of the early morning hours.

This comes two days after Alaska’s flight 1282 was forced to return to Portland when part of the fuselage blew out shortly after takeoff.

No one was seriously injured in all of this, but a lot of people are still trying to get to their destinations. And some are taking it better than others.

Alaska canceled 10 more flights Sunday than Saturday, although the crowds are lighter. That probably means a lot of people never came here at all. But some people had no choice because they arrived here for their connecting flights.

“It was canceled yesterday when we flew in from Alaska,” said Billy Ray.

Ray was in mid-flight when their connecting flight to Atlanta was canceled.

“And they rescheduled us to fly out today, hopefully,” Ray said.

He was asked if he was confident, they might go Sunday. “I hope so.”

His wife, Patricia Ann, expressed the same emotion.

“I hope so,” she said. “I’m going to a conference.”

“And I sure would like to make it there,” she continued.

“As soon as we got off, we turned the airplane mode off and we saw that it was canceled,” said Kelli Turnbow.

“Got a text,” said her husband, Kerry, “that said our flight had been canceled.”

And that’s just one concern of the couple trying to get home to Arkansas.

“What’s really crazy is the flight from Honolulu to Seattle was also a MAX plane,” said Kelli. “And the accident had happened before we had taken off from Honolulu.”

“They never even canceled our flight,” she continued.

Something she says isn’t happy about.

Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 was forced to return to Portland Friday when a so-called door plug that wasn’t in use blew off in mid-flight.

The airline says it immediately grounded all of its 65 Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft, some 20% of its fleet. The next day, the airline put 18 planes back into service after inspecting them.

However, the Federal Aviation Administration ordered all the MAX 9s grounded to be inspected further.

“So, I was trying to catch a flight to Cleveland yesterday, which got canceled and then rescheduled today,” said passenger Daniel Severin.

It has kept the Covington man grounded, too.

“Now I’m probably going to miss my connecting flight in Chicago,” he said, smiling. “So, trying to figure out if I can still get there tonight.”

“Hey, we’ll see. Worst case scenario just got to go home, I guess,” he added.