Brad Tilden testifies on ATC reform

Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden testified before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Aviation earlier this year


As airlines head into the busiest travel season of the year, one big worry looms: the nation’s antiquated Air Traffic Control (ATC) system.

The ATC system is a critical part of the U.S. economy and air travel infrastructure, but hasn’t been modernized at a pace that can keep up with current air traffic levels. In fact, very little upgrades have been made to the system over the last few decades. Today, 27,000 flights land in the United States every single day using essentially the same paper strips and ground-based radar system that have been in use since World War II.

This outdated system while extremely safe leads to delays, cancellations and needlessly long flight paths for the two million travelers who fly every single day. In fact, half of all flight delays are now a result of Air Traffic Control issues.

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After patiently enduring questionable rumors and countless fake line-up posters during the wait for your favorite music festival to announce their bands, the on-sale day has finally arrived: victory – and festival tickets – are yours!  Now, what’s next?

Whether you’re a complete newbie or a seasoned music festival veteran, smart packing choices are key in avoiding frustrations that can distract you from the very thing you’re traveling to enjoy: the music. Here are some tips on planning and packing for your trip to a music festival.

Plan ahead

Before you begin packing, take a long look at your festival’s list of items not allowed (the Riot Fest list is a great example). Then, be sure to recheck this list again before getting in line to enter the festival. Doing so will save you time, money and suitcase space, with no need throw out prohibited items (selfie sticks, metal containers, etc.) before security lets you enter the festival, or getting out of line to run things back to your car.

Flying to a festival that involves camping takes some advance planning. If you pack carefully, you can take along a good portion of your equipment as checked baggage; learn about what camping gear is allowed in checked baggage when flying. For the items you need but can’t check or carry on, do a little research before you fly to discover the best places near your destination to rent/buy gear.

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Full harbor in Cordova, Alaska

Nestled in the thick of the Chugach National Forest, Cordova is quintessential small-town Alaska. It’s a place where everyone knows everyone, and like many coastal areas in Alaska, Cordova is only accessible by boat or plane. It’s a place where neighbors take care of one another, all united by passion for their community and the land they call home.

This humble town is home to a world-class fishery: the Copper River. Like most things in Cordova, the salmon fishery is largely independent, and the operation is as local as the shops and restaurants that line Main Street.

More than 540 independent boats fish for Copper River salmon each year. These boats, known as bow pickers, are manned by one to two fishermen who cast their nets over the bow and then hand-pick the salmon off as they reel the net in. Nets stretch 900 feet long and are mended by hand. And, many of those boats are owned by increasingly younger generations of fishermen and women.

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For most Seattle-area guests of Alaska Airlines, getting to the airport is relatively painless. But for the more than one million residents of northern King County, Snohomish County and surrounding communities, the extra distance and city congestion mean the drive can be longer than the flight itself.

That all changes by fall 2018, when Alaska begins regularly scheduled commercial flights from Snohomish County Airport, Paine Field.

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Adventure seeker, designer, and mom to two, Emmy Jones knows just how to bring her fabulous family life to our Instagram feeds. She and her husband are taking the world by storm with plenty of laughs along the way! She just returned from an Instagram takeover in Victoria, British Columbia as part of Alaska’s Weekend Wanderer series. For more Weekend Wanderer posts, be sure to follow Alaska Airlines on Instagram.

Canada had been on my travel list, but I had never actually been before this trip. Wow, I had no idea what I was missing. While approaching Victoria, I noticed the green, pine-covered islands divided by bright blue water. I knew I was in for something great and was giddy to start my adventure in the island’s biggest city and the capitol of British Columbia — Victoria!

1 Weekend Wanderer: Salt Lake City to Victoria, B.C.

Hi everyone! @ameliahannah here! My family & I are exploring the incredibly beautiful Victoria, BC this weekend, starting with the Fisgard Lighthouse. Excited to document our time here. Hope you enjoy!

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Ask any new parent and they’ll tell you – the newborn period is rough. You’re tired, you’re stressed, and you probably have a mountain of paperwork to complete. If you’re a new parent who’s a frequent flyer, you may also find yourself a tad nervous about what’s going to happen to your elite status while you’re grounded.

That’s where Elite Leave comes in – a brand-new program enabling Alaska Mileage Plan elite members to extend status for an additional year when they go on parental leave. That means members who have taken or will take a parental leave that ends this year can extend their status through the end of 2018.  In future years, status will be extended through the calendar year following the end of leave.

“This is just one less thing for new parents to worry about,” says Natalie Bowman, Alaska’s managing director of brand marketing and a parent of three young children. “It’s such a high stress, high emotion, low sleep time in your life that the last thing you want to be worrying about is losing your status.”

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Having a baby disrupts almost every aspect of your life. Things that were once easy are now mind-bogglingly difficult and even a simple trip to the grocery store can feel like a logistical nightmare. Something bigger, like traveling with an infant, can seem impossible. Trust me, it’s not.

My husband and I are veteran world travelers, so we were so excited about the idea of traveling with our new baby.  Once she arrived though, a tiny screaming tyrant with few interests outside eating and pooping, my resolve started to waver. We pressed on and at less than 5 months old my daughter has been across the country twice, and made several shorter trips around the Pacific Northwest. It hasn’t been as bad as I feared, in fact we actually have fun.

When traveling with a baby, preparation is absolutely essential. Here is what you need to know:

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Alaska Captain Ron Limes and Hamreet Kaur

Hamreet Kaur’s latent passion for aviation just needed a spark.

It found that spark when Kaur’s older brother talked her into joining the Michael P. Anderson Memorial Aerospace program. The program exposed her to a world of aviation and aerospace careers, introduced her to her mentor, Alaska Airlines Captain Ron Limes, and connected her with online aviation projects, Museum of Flight programs and Alaska Airlines Aviation Day.

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Scott and sister on an award trip to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific in 2015


Although I’ve been writing my travel blog for several years, it surprises many people to learn that I first became interested in frequent flyer programs when I was a graduate student in neurobiology. It was the first time I had this much freedom to set my own schedule, and I had spent most of the last 22 years feeling a little stuck in California. I jumped on deals to far-flung places that friends sent my way and started finding my own. Applying my scientific mindset to the travel industry helped me leverage my flexibility to earn miles and elite status more quickly.

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Whether you’re training for a marathon or hoping to break a personal record in an upcoming 5k, continuing your training while you travel is a great way to get to know a city and its notable landmarks. But remember, just like you pack a swimsuit for Hawaii and a parka for Alaska, packing the right gear for training in various climates is equally important. As is having the right food and fuel.

Ultra-marathon runner and Alaska Airlines frequent flyer Alex Borsuk answered several questions about preparation for running in a variety of climates on your next trip.

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