On Oct. 16, Julia Jette was half asleep in the Anchorage airport, waiting to board a red eye flight to Seattle, when she heard something unexpected.

“We thought it was the announcement to start boarding, “ Jette said.

Instead it was customer service agent Denise Snow, letting her passengers know that a fallen soldier’s ashes would be traveling on the plane and that she would like to sing in his honor.

“Everyone as far as I could see stood in respect and were silent as she sang,” said Jette, who posted a video of the tribute to Facebook. “I was fighting back tears. The family member carrying the ashes was crying and it ripped my heart out. It was amazing and heart wrenching all at once.”

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As turkeys are basted and gifts are wrapped, airline employees are making holiday preparations of a different sort.

Every year, the week of Thanksgiving and the last two weeks of December are typically airlines’ busiest travel periods. At Alaska, the Sunday and Monday after Thanksgiving are the busiest travel days of the year. Officials at Los Angeles International Airport anticipate a record-setting 2.1 million travelers will pass through the airport this Thanksgiving. At Sea-Tac International Airport, nearly 800,000 people are expected to travel during Thanksgiving week.

To kick off the busy holiday season, Alaska’s airport employees have five rules they say you’ve probably heard before, but that you’ll definitely want to follow.

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Stephanie Yoder is a girl who can’t sit still! She is the Editor-in-Chief of Twenty-Something Travel. When she’s not out traveling the world Stephanie lives in Seattle, Washington.

Visitors are drawn to Puerto Vallarta by the sunshine, the sparkling sea and the food. Most people simply stop in via cruise ship or head to a big name resort, but those who step off the beaten path will be rewarded.  Venture just an hour through the northern jungle and you will emerge somewhere entirely different: the small but cheerful surf town of Sayulita.

Here are some tips on how to make the most of your trip:

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jovell intro

Hailing from Anchorage, Alaska, Jovell Rennie is a photographer who has a love for #SharingAlaska. When he’s not taking pictures, he’s trekking his way through the outdoors looking for his next shot. He just returned from an Instagram takeover in Costa Rica as part of Alaska’s Weekend Wanderer series. For more Weekend Wanderer posts, make sure you’re following Alaska Airlines on Instagram.

Pura Vida!

That’s the phrase I was greeted with when I touched down in San José, Costa Rica.

I was excited to be there as Alaska Airlines’ Weekend Wanderer, especially because it’s so different from my hometown, Anchorage, Alaska. Feeling at first like a snowman in the oven, I was determined to see the sights and make the most of my time. I quickly adjusted to the warmth of the city and set out to meet with a few friends from back home who also happened to be in the area. Great timing! After meeting up and settling down, the six of us set out to explore. We started with an amazing breakfast of tamales and gallo pinto, then hit the road. Between Jaco, La Fortuna Waterfall, and Manuel Antonio National Park, my eyes were in heaven. Costa Rica was absolutely amazing, from the lush landscape to the beautiful tropical jungle and beaches. I recommend everybody make it out there. Here are a few tips for while you’re there.

  1. Set an early alarm, the sunrises are breathtaking
  2. Loosen your belt, you’ll be eating A LOT.
  3. Bring extra socks.This is not specific to Costa Rica, I just always advise it. This is especially important in places where you are doing a lot of walking or hiking.

Best of luck, safe travels, and Pura Vida!

Ready to book? Find flights to Costa Rica.

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It was a welcome home ceremony 50 years in the making.

Alaska Air Group and the USO Northwest officially honored Vietnam-era veterans during a celebration this fall at the Seattle hangar.

“On behalf of a grateful nation, we want to officially welcome you home,” said Greg Mays, vice president of maintenance and engineering.

The event was one of many 50th anniversary commemoration events around the United States to thank and honor those who served. About 40 veterans, including some Alaska and Horizon employees, entered the Seattle Hangar through a lineup of cheering family members, welcome-home signs, and Patriot Guard motorcycle riders who held American flags.

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Some arrived in wheelchairs. Others were aided by walkers or canes. Some came on the arm of a guardian. But all of the veterans who arrived at Alaska Airlines terminals in Seattle, Portland and Anchorage this fall stood tall. The veterans, men and women who served their country during World War II, the Korean War and the Alaska Territorial Guard, enjoyed once-in-a-lifetime visits to Washington, D.C. to visit the national monuments named in their honor, compliments of Alaska Airlines and Honor Flight.

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When the cruise ships and tour buses leave, and the weather starts to cool, the night sky in Alaska comes alive with bands of green, and sometimes red, lights. This phenomenon is known as the aurora borealis, or the Northern Lights.

While the Northern Lights are often visible from various parts of the state, Fairbanks has the reputation for being one of the best places in the world for aurora viewing. Its far north location and nearly constant darkness in the winter months, combined with its accessibility, make it an ideal location for watching the Northern Lights. According to the Fairbanks Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, a three-night stay in Fairbanks during the winter months (October – March) gives guests an 80 percent chance of seeing the Northern Lights.

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Guide Dogs13

Many travelers take the process of flying for granted. Making a reservation, going through security, finding the correct gate, boarding a flight, and finally arriving at their destination may be a routine process, but for those who are blind or have low vision, flying is a much different experience.

“When you’re visually impaired, flying is like going from a seat in one building to a seat in another building that happens to go 500 miles per hour,” said Jake Koch, outreach alumni representative for Guide Dogs for the Blind, an organization that prepares guide dogs to serve those who are blind or have low vision.

Alaska Airlines, along with Guide Dogs for the Blind, Vision Loss Connections, and Washington State Department of Services for Blind, partnered last week to bring a little more ease and familiarity into that experience. They invited a group of people, service dogs, and dog trainers to board a Boeing 737 aircraft at the Alaska Airlines hangar in Sea-Tac for a mock flight demonstration, where they were given verbal information about the flying process and allowed to touch portions of the aircraft. The event was founded by Alaska flight attendant Shirley Purkey, three years ago at the urging of a friend who teaches braille locally.

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Mom and Daughter at Disneyland

Marie LeBaron is the editor of Make and Takes, a popular parenting site featuring kids’ crafts, home projects, recipes, parenting tips and more. She lives in Seattle with her family, and loves to travel.

My daughter and I recently visited Disneyland, the happiest place on earth! From start to finish, our trip was all about Disney adding to the magical experience. To make the most of our vacation, I followed these Disneyland tips to get us through it all:

1. Make a family plan

It’s important to make a family plan before you get to the hotel and the park. Disneyland is a big place and you can make the most out of it by making a list of what’s most important to each person in your family. Set the expectation that you might not get to everything, but that each person will get to do 1-2 things on their list. Disneyland Fast Passes can help with this. They are available for most of the big rides and will help cut down on lines and give you more time. Be sure to grab one for each rider; they are worth it.

Ready to plan your trip? Fly to Disneyland.

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Updated 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015:

Alaska Air Group flight operations are operating normally today after the airline experienced several issues with its computer systems overnight Wednesday.

Alaska started to experience intermittent network issues at about 9 p.m. PDT. The issues continued for roughly three hours, contributing to about 60 delays overnight for Alaska and Horizon.

We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience.

Our Information Technology Systems team is investigating the cause of the system issues and the outage.

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When it comes to skiing and snowboarding around the U.S., Alaska has you covered with flights to the most pristine ski destinations in the West. But before you can enjoy the aspen trees in Steamboat Springs, the beauty of the Rocky Mountains in Crested Butte or the feeling of being at the top of the world in Alyeska, you have to get there. Here are six tips to streamline your day of travel from the airport to the slopes.

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