Alaska Airlines Responds to Rogue Employee Takeoff

Without authorization, an employee manned an Alaska Airlines plane, operated by Horizon Air in Seattle, and took off. In audio files from the plane, the employee mentions his experience playing video games and wonders whether the airline will employ him if he lands well. Sadly, he didn't: the plane crashed.

On its website, Alaska Air posted a statement, "Information on Horizon Air Aircraft." Included is a quotation from Alaska Air CEO Brad Tilden including this paragraph:

“We are still gathering facts, but at this point we understand there was only one person aboard, an employee of Horizon Air, who was operating the aircraft. I want to share how incredibly sad all of us at Alaska are about this incident. Our heart is heavy for the family and friends of the person involved."

The Horizon Air CEO also included a statement, and COO Constance von Muehlen created a video.

Alaska Air image source.


  • Why does Alaska Air title the web page, "Information on the Horizon Air Aircraft"?
  • Review the message sequence on Alaska Air's site. How well is the company communicating information about the incident?
  • How well do the three executives communicate the news? What, if anything, should they change? What is the value of von Muehlen's video compared to the written statements?