On my flight from Las Vegas to Seattle Olinga, a gate staff helping me through was so friendly. He was comfortable gesturing, using pen and paper and did so in a way that was smooth and non-awkward. He was not scared to communicate with me and was a very clear communicator (although he didn't sign). He really went out of his way to help me get my needs met and I appreciate that. Then, once I boarded the plane, he even followed up with the flight attendant who came to greet me in ASL! She was a beginner, but was such a nice surprise!
It's not often I have a bad experience flying Alaska Airline, but recently when I flew with them to Seattle from California, they had a wheelchair waiting for me at the gate. I do not have a physical disability that would prevent me from walking so I was very surprised and thrown off. They embarrassed me in front of my travel companion. Now I'm afraid to self-indetify during the reservation/check in process in fear it will happen again.
I have had several bad experiences with this airline-- after several trips with them in 2013, I learned that there are many incidents not accessible for someone like me. For example, gate and flight announcements (early boarding, mechanic issues for delay, any last minute check in bags, meals, last call (drinks), pick up movie devices, etc) where not accessible, making traveling more difficult. We are having an ongoing conversation with Alaska and my hope is that they'll improve their accessibility to provide Deaf/HH passangers the same level of customer service that hearing passangers receive.
This is my second review on Alaska Airlines. My rating started at 3 star the first time and went up to a 5 Star. Why? Because this time I flew with Alaska, our flight attendant (Freddy from Huntington Beach, CA area) was FLUENT in ASL. Not only did I have 100% access to communication, I also got ALL of our flight announcements just like every other passenger. I learned cool things such as how fast the plane was flying (450 MPH!), that we were flying over the Missouri river... and even that the Pilot was using the restroom and no one was allowed to get up from their seats. All of this information, I never knew was being shared to hearing passengers. I felt as if, finally after 20 years of flying on planes, I was finally getting the true flight experience. Alaska -- hire flight attendants that are fluent in ASL and I will fly with you forever!
I flew with Alaska Airlines a few times last month. In both instances, the stewardess were very helpful, patient, and friendly with me. They spoke clearly and repeated things without an attitude when I could not speech-read them appropriately. I would give them four stars for this. However, both times I flew last month, I requested they come and inform me of any overhead messages such as landing times, weather, or information. In each situation, there were a few instances where they used the overhead speaker to communicate with their flyers. Yet, not once did they come to me to inform me what the message was as requested. I deducted one star from this review as a result since they committed to taking the time to keep me informed and they did not follow through. Overall, a positive experience with room for improvement.
UPDATE: I flew Alaska again over the holidays and have updated this review to 4 stars. When I asked the stewardess on my flight to DC to keep me posted on any announcements, she gladly came and told me about announcements related to safety, food being served and landing info. Good improvement Alaska!