Service that could make a difference

Posted: Sunday, June 09, 2002

I wanted to commend Alaska Airlines on a situation that happened Thursday night for a client of mine who also happens to be the pastor of our church. John Bigelow, pastor of Bethany Baptist Church, has been on a liver transplant list for some time. They gave him a beeper and told him to be prepared when a liver becomes available. He got a call Thursday night from his liver coordinator stating that he needed to get down to Seattle for a liver that was waiting for him. He called me at 6:30 p.m. with this news asking if there were any flights to Seattle. I checked in the computer and saw flight 66 was the last one to Seattle and was leaving in five minutes. I called to the airport to see if it was running on time, and it was. I checked another option to route him through Anchorage, however, he would not get to Seattle until 5:15 a.m. He called his liver coordinator to see if that would work, and she said no, he needed to be on the operating table at 5 a.m. While he was on the phone with her, I called Alaska Airlines' counter and asked for a supervisor. I spoke with Judy Hickey who informed me that flight 66 was ready to be pushed back. I asked if there was a freighter he could hop on in the middle of the night and she said no. I then asked if there was any way they would hold that flight for my pastor. She put me on hold for several minutes and came back and asked how soon he could get there. I told her 10 minutes and she said send him over. He rushed out the door in a sweatsuit and his wallet only. His wife left Friday morning with their bags in tow.

John made it to Seattle and was prepped for surgery. Unfortunately, the donor liver turned out to be unsuitable for a transplant.

I know Alaska Airlines held that flight for a good 20 minutes, and I just wanted to really thank them. It really shows the commitment Alaska Airlines has to customer service. I truly thank the airline and I am sure his family does, too.

Cyndi Isaak


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