Saturday, November 21, 2009

Penair Employees: Dillingham, Alaska

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett

Several days out of the year I rely on Peninsula Airways (Penair) in Dillingham, Alaska to fly me to Anchorage or King Salmon. If the weather is just too bad for me to fly myself, I go see one of their ticket agent professionals and climb aboard a Saab, Cherokee Saratoga, or Caravan.

The Penair employees at the counter in Dillingham are always helpful, which is no easy feat. Visitors from the lower 48 states, i.e. hunters, fisherman, and tourists can be a "real pain" for ticket agents. They normally are not use to the weather delays we experience in the Alaskan Bush. Visitors demand things and they want them RIGHT NOW. Most do not understand that once outside of Anchorage "all bets are off" with regard to schedules. The environment is just too harsh in these remote areas to enable perfect travel times.

Only special people can handle this demanding job. All the agents shown below have personally helped me several times when I needed a flight out of Dillingham to Anchorage or King Salmon.

Leticia is a lead ticket counter agent. Talk about responsibility. NO THANKS! She has worked at Penair for three plus years.

What people don't realize is that Penair employees work with weather delays all the time. They KNOW WHAT TO DO and they are good at what they do. For example, they may automatically move you to another flight if one gets cancelled or they could call you if a flight will be late.

Amy has worked for Penair several years. She has proven that she can hold up when the pressure is on...with flying colors. I love her hair, it is about 3 feet long.

Whenever I am flying with Penair, especially into remote areas, I always get the feeling that Penair employees know where I am at all times, even though things may not be running on time. They never forget about me and always keep me updated, so I do not have to keep asking, "What's going on!"

Rodney has worked for Penair off and on for the past couple years. He is blazing away at the keyboard reserving my next flight.

To survive as a Dillingham ticket agent, one has to have lots of patience, be kind, a great communicator, and able to handle maddening super busy times and snail paced times throughout the day. There is no in-between, it is either super busy, or super slow.

One of the newer agents, Shelby, has been with Penair about a year. Ask her about "exchanging" a ticket while there are about 15 people in line.

So as a traveler out here in the Bristol Bay area, have a little faith in the professional employees at Penair, they know how to handle weather delays and keep people moving!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great story. The Pen Air employees in King Salmon, Alaska need to use the example set by the Pen Air employees in Dillingham.