Alaska Airlines CEO signs a certificate initiating President Barack Obama into the "Arctic Circle Club."

When President Barack Obama announced plans to visit the state of Alaska, the entire state was buzzing with rumors and suspicions as to where he would go. Many suspected Dutch Harbor, some had heard that it would be Barrow. Others suspected Kotzebue. But when Kotzebue Station Manager Dawn Carl received a phone call from the White House, she knew that rumors of the visit were true. Those rumors became reality on Sept. 2, when Air Force One touched down in Kotzebue – the first time a current U.S. president had been north of the Arctic Circle.

Often when customers travel to a destination above the Arctic Circle, Alaska Airlines will surprise them with a certificate signifying their induction to the “Arctic Circle Club.” All of the certificates are signed by Alaska Airlines President and CEO Brad Tilden.

Although the president flew on his own plane into Kotzebue, Tilden thought it would be fitting to recognize President Obama as part of the select group that is the Arctic Circle Club. Tilden signed an Arctic Circle Club card for the president today. While there are no membership benefits to the club, other than bragging rights, the decorative certificates have been available to customers who make the long journey to the Arctic for half a century.

Alaska Airlines serves three communities above the Arctic Circle: Kotzebue, Barrow and Prudhoe Bay.

Have you joined the Arctic Circle Club?

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It’s more than serving sodas and hot meals – when Alaska Airlines’ flight attendants take to the skies they are ready to fight fires, save lives and take on any obstacle. In fact, learning to serve customers in flight only accounts for a fraction of the six-week training every new Alaska flight attendant goes through.

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Wildfires currently burning in the state of Washington are the largest in the state’s history, and Alaska Airlines has pledged to do what it can to help with relief efforts.

Firefighters are battling 16 large wildfires consuming about 600,000 acres (an area nearly seven times the size of the city of Seattle) across Eastern Washington. The fires have killed three firefighters, destroyed more than 200 homes and threaten more than 12,000 additional structures.

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Hardcore runners travel with the goal of completing a race, and then flying home. But what’s the fun in that?  How about traveling to an amazing destination with the goal of having a great vacation—with a little running on the side?

That’s the focus of the Alaska Airlines-sponsored Destination Races Wine Country Half Marathon Series and this fall you can plan your “racecation” around four amazing wine country experiences. What’s better than running and wine? (Well, maybe running and beer, but you get the idea.)

5 tips for planning your racecation:

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Imagine Tomorrow 2015, courtesy of Washington State University.

Washington State University and Alaska Airlines are joining forces to support STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education for high school youth with the newly named Alaska Airlines Imagine Tomorrow Competition.

The partnership is part of the airline’s focus on youth and education as a means of giving back and enriching the communities in which it flies.

Created by WSU in 2008 and housed in the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, Imagine Tomorrow challenges 9th through 12th grade students to develop enterprising solutions for renewable energy. Student teams from across Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana select one of four topics (food, energy and water; the built environment; biofuels; and aerospace) and research, create and provide solutions. Projects are judged by a panel of experts at an annual event on the WSU’s Pullman campus. Winning teams receive up to $70,000 in prizes.

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It’s that time of year again – school has almost started and anxious first-year college students are trying to figure out how to pack their lives into suitcases and move into dorms.

For students who live farther away from school, the move can be stressful. Many students just fill a car with their belongings and take a road trip. But, for those who live too far to drive or are moving from Alaska or Hawaii, the move can be daunting.

Luckily, dorms already have furniture and all you need to do is bring the essentials. Packing the “essentials” into two airline-approved suitcases may seem impossible, but here are five tips and tricks to make moving via air easier.

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Winding through snow-capped mountains and lush green fields decorated with an array of colorful wildflowers is Alaska Railroad’s Coastal Classic Train. The four-hour, one-way train trip carries passengers from Anchorage to Seward in the summer months (May 9 to Sept. 13) and offers views of stunning glaciers and ample opportunity for photos and wildlife viewing.

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Everyone’s been there. That moment when you’ve printed your boarding pass, made it through security, and have found a coveted seat in the boarding area. It’s a moment when you take a deep breath and prepare for what comes next – boarding.

The first thing to remember is a rule that should apply any time you travel – pack your patience. The front wheels of the aircraft leave the runway about 2 seconds before the rear wheels, meaning that everyone takes off at basically the same time. So there is no need to rush to get on. Remember that everyone’s going to the same place and that being patient will result in a smoother boarding process.

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Chocolate means something different to everyone. Maybe it reminds you of Halloween, Valentine’s Day, a special anniversary or even just being a kid. At Seattle Chocolates, chocolate is made to be an everyday luxury and experience.

Seattle Chocolates is nestled in a corner of Tukwila a few miles from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Owner and CEO of Seattle Chocolates Jean Thompson is the innovator behind the company’s latest chocolate line, jcoco. Inspired by fashion and culture, jcoco balances style and flavor to be the “foodie’s” chocolate of choice.

jcoco orange

“Every piece of chocolate should tell a story,” says Thompson.

The line’s debut bar for Alaska Airlines is a sweet and savory combination of white chocolate, cayenne and orange, that was inspired by a friend’s trip to the Yucatan Peninsula. It was very hot and when the friend asked for something to help her cool down, a local sliced an orange in half and dunked it in cayenne chili powder. The story inspired Thompson to create the jcoco cayenne veracruz orange bar.

Every jcoco bar flavor has a story or journey behind it, and with Alaska Airlines, you can try one on your next journey. Alaska Airlines MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K members may now request a jcoco bar as an in-flight treat in place of their complimentary alcoholic beverage.

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The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is expanding its reach with new options to earn and redeem miles on American’s full network, which will include flights that were historically US Airways flights, beginning October 17 – and other enhancements arriving even sooner. These will add value to Alaska’s frequent flyer miles and improve the benefits of MVP elite status.

American Airlines and US Airways merged in 2013 to create the world’s largest airline. Mergers happen in stages, and the pending October 17 migration to a single reservation system will be a significant moment when all US Airways flights become American Airlines flights, making them eligible for the same benefits and opportunities that Mileage Plan members already receive when they fly with American. Customers can book the flights starting today for travel Oct. 17 or later.

More Mileage Plan: 5 ways to earn more miles

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