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Robert Reid is a travel writer based in Portland, Oregon, whose writings have appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. He’s been the spokesperson for Lonely Planet, appearing on CNN, NBC’s Today Show and NPR to discuss travel trends. He’s currently the Digital Nomad for National Geographic Traveler.


This is exactly what I wanted. I’m alone on a Chinese mountain, a couple hours north of Beijing, following an unrestored section of the Great Wall of China. After two hours’ of hiking, I’m just 10 minutes short of my goal, a spot on Wohushan Mountain where the Great Wall dead ends atop a gorge. There are no souvenir stands or cable car rides here. Just crumbling ramparts of what’s known as a “wild wall.”

Also I’m terrified.

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As football fans around the country get ready for Sunday’s big game, Bay Area airports are preparing for the crush.

“In advance of the big game Feb. 7, we’re reminding all travelers to plan ahead and don’t underestimate the craziness that a major sporting event can bring to a city,” says Matt Prainito, Alaska Airlines’ managing director of operations and service administration. “Last year in Phoenix we saw a huge influx of travelers, with some customers missing flights because they didn’t anticipate the crowds and long lines on public transportation, rental car facilities and security alike.”

Alaska and its airport partners are preparing for the blitz by opening check-in counters early – Alaska’s will be open an hour earlier than usual in San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco. They are also joining Bay Area airports in encouraging travelers to follow the 5-4-3-2-1 method if they’re flying in or out of one of these airports.

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To five-year-olds in Kotzebue, Alaska (and Internet surfers round the world), the question of just whose face adorns the tails of Alaska Airlines 737s is a heated one. It is an oft-asked question about the Seattle-based airline, but the truth is anything but simple.

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Alaska Airlines has canceled 40 flights in and out of Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Raleigh-Durham and New York for Friday-Sunday, Jan. 22-24, in advance of Winter Storm Jonas.

The airline will be keeping a close eye on the conditions on the East Coast throughout the weekend, and will only operate flights when it is safe to do so.

Alaska has implemented a flexible travel policy waiving change/cancelation fees for customers who would like to change their plans to or from Baltimore, Boston, Newark, New York – JFK, Philadelphia, Washington-Dulles and Washington-Reagan this weekend. Learn more at alaskaair.com.

All customers are encouraged to check the status of their flights online at alaskaair.com or on Alaska’s mobile app before leaving for the airport.

List of affected flights:

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Alaska Airlines has an uncompromising commitment to safety and compliance. We put the safety of our passengers and our employees above all else. We have a zero tolerance policy for employees, including pilots, who fail alcohol and drug tests.  Mr. Arntson was immediately removed from duty. He refused to submit to an investigatory interview. Mr. Arnston left the company before we were able to complete an investigation that would have led to his termination.

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Robert Reid is a travel writer based in Portland, Oregon, whose writings have appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. He’s been the spokesperson for Lonely Planet, appearing on CNN, NBC’s Today Show and NPR to discuss travel trends. He’s currently the Digital Nomad for National Geographic Traveler.


“Suzhou is Shanghai’s back garden,” I’m told at my hotel in this Chinese city a half-hour bullet train ride west of Shanghai. “It’s laid back, peaceful, quiet. You’ll like it.”

“How many people live here?,” I ask.

“About 14 million.”

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A brand-new Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-900ER takes off at Boeing Field. Photo by Marian Lockhart/The Boeing Co.

Alaska Airlines is the best in the business, according to The Wall Street Journal’s 2015 Airline Scorecard.

For the third year in a row, Alaska ranks No. 1 among the nine largest carriers in the United States.

Alaska Airlines is best for on-time arrivals, fewest extreme delays, fewest 2-hour tarmac delays, and fewest complaints, according to the scorecard that ranks airline performance on measures important to travelers.

Alaska has been the No. 1 or No. 2 airline every year for the past six years, including the top spot in four of the past five years.

“We have done remarkably well over a long period of time, and that’s not by chance,” said Alaska Airlines Chief Operating Officer Ben Minicucci. “Our consistent excellence is a direct result of the commitment and dedication of our 15,000 Alaska and Horizon employees. Their work makes a difference every day for our customers – we’re safe, we’re on time, we’re taking care of people – and now that work is being recognized at the highest levels of our industry.”

Data for the scorecard came from GEE Operations Solutions, FlightStats and the Transportation Department.

Read the full Wall Street Journal article online here. (You will need an online subscription).

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Robert Reid is a travel writer based in Portland, Oregon, whose writings have appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. He’s been the spokesperson for Lonely Planet, appearing on CNN, NBC’s Today Show and NPR to discuss travel trends. He’s currently the Digital Nomad for National Geographic Traveler.


“Drink this in one gulp,” says a young nuclear physicist consultant from Maine with a full JFK-like set of hair. “Trust me, it’s not a sipper.”

I eat food but I can’t quite call myself a foodie. So I’m kick-starting my exploration of Shanghai’s food scene on a four-hour night market tour with a dozen others. On our first stop, we’ve tried 10 or so delicacies: ear-shaped xiaolongbao soup buns, “dwarf dumplings,” heavily spiced “little lobster” crawfish, a fish-fragrant pork (with no fish), lotus roots grilled on a stick, purple sweet rice milk pudding.

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In 2015, we saw more than 27,000 mentions of #iFlyAlaska on Instagram and Twitter, and passed more than 50,000 fans on Instagram. We’re closing out the year with some of our favorites.

Join the conversation in 2016: follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram and make sure to tag your posts with #iflyalaska. We can’t wait to follow your adventures.

Happy New Year!
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