The Pentagon could learn a thing or two about transporting troops from the men and women of Alaska Airlines.
Last week, an army of employees across the system teamed up with the airline’s ground handling vendors to successfully move more than 260 veterans with disabilities—the equivalent of an infantry company—and their equipment to and from Anchorage for the 26th annual Disabled Veterans Wheelchair Games. The Herculean effort required a detailed battle plan. See photogallery of wheelchair games
â€œPeople from virtually every workgroupâ€”?Station Operations, Maintenance and Engineering, Flight Operations, Reservations, Inflight and moreâ€”?helped make flying on Alaska Airlines as easy as possible for these very special passengers,â€ said Ray Prentice, director of customer care. â€œIt was a real demonstration of caring, resourcefulness and Alaska Spirit.â€
With as many as 28 wheelchair passengers on some flights, the boarding process was choreographed with all the precision of a major military operation to reduce the potential for delays and damaged equipment.
â€œWe had to be extra careful loading the wheelchairs because they are the only way these passengers have to get around when they arrive at their destination,â€ said Ron Calvin, manager of passenger service in Seattle. â€œEvery wheelchair absolutely had to go on the same flight as its owner and arrive safely.â€