Alaska Airlines Pilot Clashes with Copilot, Walks Off Plane ‘Fuming,’ Passengers Say

July 25, 2022

An Alaska Airlines flight turned around on the tarmac when the pilot and copilot had a “professional disagreement,” according to a statement from the airline.

Flight 1080 from Washington D.C.’s Dulles International Airport to San Francisco was scheduled to depart at 4:10 p.m. on July 18, according to the airline and the flight tracking website Flight Aware.

The flight was already delayed by about 90 minutes because of bad weather, according to One Mile at a Time, an airline and travel news website.

After the pilot disagreement, passengers waited about another hour while the airline swapped crews, according to the statement from Alaska Airlines and passenger reports. The plane landed at San Francisco International Airport about 2 1/2 hours later than scheduled, according to Flight Aware.

“After an hour and a half delay, we now return to the terminal due to ’a failure of the captain and first officer to get along,’” a Twitter user named Chris Schumm tweeted at 5:47 p.m. on July 18. “All I can say is wow.... just wow.”

Other Twitter users who identified themselves as passengers on the flight tweeted about their experience.

“Pilot says he and his first officer can’t get along … so in the interest of safety.. and then leaves the plane,” wrote Al Jackson.

A user called Nica Counselor tweeted that the pilot left the plane “fuming.”

“This is (absolutely) ridiculous,” she wrote.

Alaska Airlines said in its statement that the pilots took the proper action.

“While this situation was unfortunate, in the interest of safety, the pilots did the right thing,” the statement says. “Both the captain and the first officer were evaluated by management and it was determined they remained fit to fly... We apologized to our guests for the inconvenience this caused.”

As more people return to traveling, airlines have been plagued by flight delays and cancellations due to staffing shortages, COVID-19 outbreaks among staff members and pilots, and severe weather, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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