7-hour wait to rebook Alaska Airlines flight after 737 Max 9 grounding

Fallout continues over the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max 9 planes over safety issues.

Alaska Airlines and United Airlines combined, canceled over 60 flights at San Francisco International Airport on Wednesday, according to flight data tracking company FlightAware.

Both airlines have planes that are grounded.

KTVU spoke with one customer who said the wait times on the phone to rebook a flight takes several hours.

"Please hold while I transfer you to an Alaska Airlines representative," an automated recording greets customers who call Alaska Airlines.

Eugene Kiang of Fremont is fed up with the airline.

"This kind of customer service is just frustrating," Kiang said. "I don’t want to deal with that."

Kiang claimed Alaska has repeatedly canceled the flight he booked in October for his daughter, on a Boeing 737 Max 9, from San Francisco to New York, for four days.

He can’t get through to customer service to rebook.

"All of our representatives are assisting other guests."

When he calls, the wait time is up to nearly eight hours and all he can do online is cancel the flight.

"I can’t wait this long. No one can. You know, this is a whole, whole day. I have to work," Kiang said.


Alaska Airlines cancels all flights on Boeing 737-9 MAX aircraft through Jan. 13 after mid-air door blowout

Alaska Airlines canceled all flights aboard Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft through January 13, equating to between 110-150 flights canceled per day.

Alaska grounded all Max 9s after a door flew off a flight while in the air from Portland, Ore. to Ontario, California on Friday, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing.

The scary situation is still on the minds of some passengers at SFO where KTVU spotted five different Max 9s belonging to Alaska, parked on Wednesday night.

"In the back of your mind, like scrolling through the news, and you’re like, let me check that news report about the door blowing off," Alaska passenger Henry Ing said after landing at SFO.

Natalie Nguyen had to wait up to four hours for airline customer service.

"It took a lot of my time, because I was working, and I have to like be on the phone at the same time," Nguyen said. "Yeah, it’s annoying."

Alaska sent KTVU a statement which reads in part, "We understand this is a difficult situation for so many of our guests. We're working to get them to where they need to go as quickly as we can, while keeping safety top of mind."

"This is very frustrating," Kiang said. "No company should make their customer wait seven hours to talk to customer service. That is unacceptable."

According to Alaska Airlines, the planes will stay grounded through Saturday, canceling up to 150 flights each day.

If he can’t get through to customer service, Kiang said he would be forced to book a flight on another airline, which would be about another $400 out-of-pocket.