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For six years, flight attendants have danced down the streets of Seattle in the city’s annual Torchlight Parade, showing everyone that the famous “Alaska Spirit” doesn’t stop in the air.

The team walks 2.5 miles through downtown Seattle in full uniform, armed with suitcases, performing choreographed dances. This year, the team is expected to be 45 flight attendants strong, dancing to Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars and More by Usher.

Seafair is such an integral part of summer in Seattle, being able to participate in the parade and share that energy with all of the spectators is amazing,” says Jessica Eller, who leads the drill team with Maya Anderson. Eller and Anderson also coordinate the team for the parade and any other events leading up to it.torchlight 2014 1 Fact: Our flight attendants can dance

“We work with incredible people who are really committed to their communities,” says Eller. “I love coming together and sharing in that.”

Beginning in May, flight attendants countrywide begin practicing in preparation for the Torchlight Parade in July. The choreography is posted online for everyone involved and everyone on the team is encouraged to practice during breaks or layovers.

“If there’s one thing I would tell everyone about the team, it would be that yes, flight attendants can dance,” says Orlando “Orly” Tercero, a member and four-time choreographer of the drill team. “It’s our chance to show our spirit in the air and on the ground.”

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By Doug Branch, Alaska Airlines captain

Doug Branch’s interest in aviation began around the same time he could say the word “plane.” Captain Branch has deep roots in the Pacific Northwest, including growing up on Bainbridge Island and learning to fly at Eastern Washington’s Big Bend Community College. After three years flying for a commuter airline in the Midwest, Doug joined Alaska Airlines in 2001. Captain Doug BranchAfter 14 years, he has a passion for doing things safely and efficiently and is honored to have the opportunity to educate passengers and to facilitate life’s great memories by getting them safely to where they need to go.

In the “Ask an Alaska Pilot” series, he will address common questions he gets from friends, family and travelers. Do you have a question you’ve been wanting to ask a pilot? Let us know in the comments and your question could be featured in a future post.

Do you get to choose your flights? (Arthur H., Facebook)

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Everyone loves a good deal. When you choose to fly Alaska Airlines, not only are you always entitled to our low-fare guarantee, but if you’re a member of the award-winning Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan you’ll earn miles every time you fly. The more you fly, the more miles you accumulate, which can eventually get you an award trip on us or any of our 14 partner airlines. Fancy a trip to Dubai? How about Buenos Aires, Seoul or Paris? All of these and more are possible with our more than 800 partner destinations.

But you don’t have to be a frequent flyer to rack up miles. Here are a few other ways to help you get to your next award flight that much quicker.

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alaska fire

Photo via Alaska Dept. of Natural Resources Twitter (@AK_Forestry)

An unusual number of wildfires in the state of Alaska over the past two weeks has required evacuations of many residents and some have lost their homes.

Alaska Airlines’ operations in the state of Alaska have not been impacted to date, but the airline is doing what it can to help residents affected by the fires. Alaska employees are also in touch with businesses that move tourists throughout the state, such as the Alaska Railroad and the cruise companies. If their operations are impacted by the fires, particularly between Fairbanks and Anchorage, we stand ready to help fly those passengers, if necessary.

map Alaska Airlines helping fire efforts in state of Alaska

A map of the 300 active wildfires in the state of Alaska. Photo courtesy of Alaska Interagency Coordination Center – Fire Information

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For most families, an airplane just takes you to your destination where new people and experiences await. For families with children on the autism spectrum, the plane itself is an experience, and not always a good one.

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The entire Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air family is saddened today to learn of the passing of Dr. Elson S. Floyd, president of Washington State University. Alaska and Horizon have many ties to WSU and we were honored to have the opportunity to work with Dr. Floyd. His contributions in leading the university were significant as is described in the tribute below from WSU alum and former Alaska Airlines communication leader Greg Witter. Our deepest sympathies go out to Dr. Floyd’s family and the entire WSU community.

Brad Tilden, CEO, Alaska Airlines

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Carpet Header Picture

Portland International Airport’s carpet is the best kind of celebrity — it’s always around for pictures, supports the community and never gets caught in a scandal.

After nearly 30 years, the PDX carpet is retiring and Portlanders are cherishing every moment until the final foot of carpet is pulled up at the end of this year.

The carpet has been an icon of Portland culture since the 1980s and will officially be retired by the end of the year. In response, more than 40,000 “foot selfies” have been posted on Instagram, local companies created carpet-themed merchandise and carpet-loving Portlanders have been getting the pattern tattooed.

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By Kurt Repanshek, National Parks Traveler

It’s all about the gradient. And the rock gardens. And, of course, the snowmelt.

Take all three, surround them with soaring mountains, from the Rockies to the Sierra and even off to the Northwest where the Alaska Range rises, and you have a whitewater playground that won’t disappoint.

Ready to get outside? Explore outdoor adventure deals at alaskaair.com.

The Middle Fork in northern Montana, the Main Salmon in central Idaho, and the Nenana in Alaska are just three of many watery options in the West that rafters and whitewater kayakers and canoeists can choose from. These are not artificial water parks or lazy rivers. Rather, they’re adventure grounds with a variety of experiences set against stunning scenery.

They’re landscapes where you might float past a bear or bighorn sheep come down to river’s edge for a slurp before you go bucking through the next rapid. These are places where the piney aroma comes not from air fresheners but from trees themselves, where the tweeting you hear is from birds, not Twitter.

In other words, deciding where to dip your paddle is your first challenge.

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Mountain lake in Alaska

It’s called “The Milk Run,” but could just as easily be known as “The Salmon Run” or “The Grocery Run.”

If you’re looking out the oval window of a 737, you might call it the “Peak-and-Glacier Run.”

The Milk Run refers to the daily circuit of Alaska Airlines flights that hop between towns in Southeast Alaska, serving as a lifeline for the communities that aren’t always connected by roads to the outside world.

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For Susan Devine, staying fit on the fly is all about the small choices she makes each day.

Devine is a Boise-based consultant who manages a team in Seattle and travels around the Pacific Northwest each week.

Between early morning flights, limited food choices, and hotel rooms far from home, Devine said she is intentional about the choices she makes to stay active and eat healthy.

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