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Alaska Airlines: Note on wing 'not the best approach'

By Marnie Hunter, CNN
updated 6:07 AM EDT, Thu August 9, 2012
  • Handwritten note on damaged airplane wing referenced repair
  • Alaska Airlines said the repair was made before flight, according to FAA standards
  • Method for heading off repeated damage reports was "not the best approach," airline said

(CNN) -- It's not the kind of view you want from the window seat: a damaged wing flap with a handwritten note on it saying "we know about this," with an arrow pointing to the area in question.

That's what one passenger on a July 28 Alaska Airlines flight from Burbank, California, to Seattle saw, snapping a photo of the rather unorthodox note that generated criticism on social media.

On Tuesday, Alaska Airlines said that a wing flap on the Boeing 737 had received an FAA-approved trim repair before the flight and was safe to fly.

"And before every flight, pilots do a walk around the plane, and they kept seeing the section repair and pointing it out and kept filing a report saying, 'you need to fix it,' " said airline spokesman Paul McElroy.

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Maintenance workers wrote the note to head off further reports, which was "not the best approach," McElroy said. "It is not the best way to report an issue, and we have since removed the writing, and the flap will go in for a total repair in October."

The maintenance technician's intentions were good, said another representative, Bobbie Egan. "But the communication was not appropriate and did not follow company procedures."

"We apologize for any alarm it may have caused," Egan said in a statement.

Egan said a passenger shared the photo with Alaska Airlines seeking an explanation for the note. The photo appeared on the popular website and was shared and discussed on social media.

CNN's Amanda Watts contributed to this report.