An Airline Doing Good In A Time of Travel Tragedy

I’m sure you’ve heard about the derailment of the Amtrak train in Washington State that happened yesterday morning. While making its inaugural trip from Seattle to Portland, train No. 501 was going too quickly and, while on a curve, ran off its track. The accident involved thirteen train cars that fell from the bridge they were on, which then hit 5 cars and 2 trucks on the I-5 freeway below. At last report, there were, tragically, at least 3 confirmed fatalities as well as several dozen people who needed to be hospitalized.

The accident completely blocked off all lanes of Interstate 5, a major north-south route. In response to that, one airline is providing an alternative for holiday travelers on that normally busy stretch of highway, at deeply discounted rates.

As seen on Twitter on Monday afternoon:

The price for a flight from Seattle to Portland, the route the train was taking, usually costs about $214 but has been dropped to $99, making the flight within more financial reach for many would-be I-5 travelers.

This isn’t the first time this year that airlines have substantially lowered the fares of flights following a tragedy – in the days before hurricane Irma, several airlines capped the price of their flights out of the southeast so people could flee before the storm hit. In the wake of hurricane Maria, airlines also lowered last-minute fare prices substantially to allow passengers to leave the battered Puerto Rico. Both times it took cajoling and tweeting from people to make it happen but hey, at least it happened. Alaska lowered its prices just a couple of hours after the unfortunate event occurred and apparently did it proactively (it sounds as if they had made the decision before @pstanley92 tweeted to them), so good for them!

Delta Airlines did report that it’s willing to allow travelers to make a one-time change to a ticket without paying a penalty if they are scheduled to travel from, to or through Seattle on Monday or Tuesday of this week, but tickets must be reissued on or before Friday.

During the 11-hour blackout at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport the previous day, over 1,000 flights were grounded and restaurants and shops closed due to lack of power. 5,000 meals were provided to stranded passengers and Delta, by far the largest carrier at ATL (it’s their hub) once again waived the $200 fee for passengers flying in or out of that airport, without cajoling or tweets from customers beforehand. Christmas miracle, anyone? 😉

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