Alaskan families make it back home from Seattle

Published: Dec. 30, 2021 at 6:01 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Since Tuesday, Alaska Airlines has reduced outgoing flights from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport by 20% to help with plane de-icing as many Alaskan families continue to struggle to make it home.

“I told myself I wasn’t going to believe that we were going to get home today until the plane took off,” said Emily Leak-Michie said, an Anchorage resident flying from Seattle on Thursday.

Leak-Michie departed Anchorage on Dec. 22 with her husband and 5-month-old son for a family vacation in Bend, Oregon. She said what was supposed to be a quick five-day trip turned into an eight-day adventure.

“Our flight was initially delayed, you know like the two hours, five hours, eight hours — and then our flight was just canceled,” Leak-Michie said.

The trio found themselves stranded in Bend after not being able to get a departing flight back out, so they decided to do a road trip to Seattle, Washington in hopes of catching a flight back home.

“We ended up renting a car in Oregon, driving through the snow storm to Seattle, where we spent the next three nights in Seattle,” Leak-Michie said.

Today, they were finally able to board a flight back to Anchorage. However, Leak-Michie said that even while she sat on the tarmac, she was preparing for the worst.

“I was going through the plan in my head, like when we get off this plane where are we going to go next. What hotel are we going to get,” Leak-Michie said. “Because we had just been through so much to get to that point.”

However, for some who came from Seattle, getting all the way home remains an ongoing mission. Bethel resident Walter Connick arrived in Anchorage only to continue waiting for a flight back home.

“We were in that very long line at the Seattle airport. The line was from 2 o’clock until we got to customer service at 8:30 in the evening,” Connick said.

Connick’s flight out of Seattle was canceled on Dec. 26 after visiting family. In total, Connick said he had five flights canceled.

“We are hoping tonight,” Connick said. “They said the runway lights are working. Yesterday the runway lights weren’t working.”

Both Connick and Leak-Michie agreed that the extra family time was the silver lining on an otherwise stressful trip.

“The silver lining I think was also being able to see family who were also stranded in Seattle. He got to meet aunts and uncles he we weren’t planning on meeting,” Leak-Michie said.

And her 5-month-old son got to check off a few milestone moments on his trips.

“He had his first road trip, that was supposed to be six hours and was eight because of the snow and yeah, his first hotel stay,” Leak-Michie said.

Thus concludes a first Christmas his parents will never forget.

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