Alaska Airlines Announces Safety Changes

Prompted by a midair emergency and other problems caused by workers handling passengers' luggage, Alaska Airlines announced a series of new safety measures on Thursday.

Officials with Alaska Airlines held a news conference at which they acknowledged that poor baggage handling by workers of Menzies Aviation last year drove customers away.

Alaska Airlines said the depressurization of Flight 536 last December became a "catalyst for change."

An error by a baggage handler left a hole in a jetliner when he hit the plane with loading equipment. After the plane took off and reached 20,000 feet, it lost pressure and had to return to the airport.

Alaska Airlines also suffered criticism for damaging bags, late flights and long delays for baggage delivery.

It all came after Menzies took over for Alaska's baggage handlers who were let go after a contract dispute.

After a 90-day operational review starting in January, managers made changes, including adding daily safety briefings for ramp workers, hiring two safety supervisors and offering performance-based raises for workers.

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