Guests enjoy catching up on the latest movies and TV shows when traveling. The popularity of our streaming and tablet entertainment systems is proof.

For a limited time, we’re taking it a step further by creating a movie theater-like experience at 35,000 ft.

We’ve partnered with innovative French company SkyLights to pioneer a new immersive virtual reality (VR) headset. Wearing the headset is comparable to having a personal movie screen in front of you. When paired with noise-cancelling headphones, it’s easy to feel like you’re at the movie theater instead of flying.

From Sept. 23-27, First Class guests onboard 10 flights between Boston and Seattle and Boston and San Diego will have a chance to experience it for themselves and offer feedback.

With this trial, Alaska becomes the first airline in North America to trial virtual reality headsets as an inflight entertainment device.

Testing VR headsets is part of our continuous effort to elevate the inflight experience. Already this year, we introduced new, West Coast-inspired food and drink menus, reimagined our lounges with the opening of the Alaska Lounge at JFK featuring a barista, and vastly expanded our streaming entertainment library. Later this year, we’ll unveil our first aircraft to feature our new custom interior with a custom First Class seat design, mood lighting and tablet holders.

First Class guests onboard one of our 10 VR trial flights can choose from a selection of 2D and 3D blockbusters provided by SkyLights’ partners 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers and EIM. Noteworthy titles include Academy Award winning “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Spielberg’s “Ready Player One” in 3D, and the family-friendly “Ferdinand.” There are also several 360° immersive experiences that let guests explore different worlds by just slowly moving their head around.

“I’m really excited to see this technology onboard. I was impressed with SkyLight’s Allosky headset early on as it’s the smallest, lightest, and most stylish VR headset in the inflight entertainment market,” said David Scotland, Alaska Airlines Manager of Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity. “These trials will help us understand how comfortable our guests are using the technology, if they prefer it to our current offerings, and let our flight attendants share feedback about its impact to our inflight service flow.”

A member of the SkyLights team will fly on each of the test flights to ensure guests and flight attendants have support. The test is limited to guests traveling in First Class.

“We’re testing with guests in our First Class cabin as it makes for a nicely contained focus group in the air,” Scotland said. “We’ve made no official commitments to pursuing VR long-term but this trial will help us shape our future strategy.”

Feedback from Guest Advisory Board:

Alaska and SkyLights partnered last year to get feedback from the airline’s Guest Advisory Board on the headset. Group members include some of our most frequent fliers. Guests were enthusiastic about the potential for using the technology inflight. Feedback from this session led to design tweaks – including more intuitive buttons for navigating the menu and a wider array of lens adjustment options. As Alaska launches these trials, we’ll monitor if that excitement carries over to the flight experience.

About SkyLights:

SkyLights is an American-French company specializing in immersive in-flight entertainment. The company first showcased the Allosky device, which offers Full HD resolution (1080p per eye), a sleek, lightweight design, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi at the Airline Passenger Experience (APEX) Expo in September 2017.

Photos by Ingrid Barrentine.

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Hundreds of middle schoolers screamed in delight last Friday when Kevin Durant’s 6-foot 9-inch frame emerged onstage at Willie Brown Middle School in San Francisco.

In partnership with Alaska Airlines, the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) and the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD), Durant’s surprise visit was a collective effort to support the students as they start a new school year, and remind them that back-to-school is an opportunity for new beginnings.

“It’s a new start to the school year. Welcome back,” the NBA All-Star said to the cheering crowd of students. “I hope it’s your greatest year ever and leads you into the future. Continue to dream big, continue to believe in yourself and have some fun. And please, please, please be grateful to everyone who teaches and helps you throughout the year.”

To help purchase much-needed school supplies and classroom equipment, Alaska presented a $10,000 donation to Willie Brown Middle School. The students also got some advice and encouragement from former Mayor Willie Brown, the namesake of the Bayview middle school; San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Malia Cohen; SFUSD Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews; and Alaska Airlines Bay Area VP Annabel Chang. Speeches centered around the importance of education in achieving lifetime goals – and ensuring success through hard work and dedication.

“I am truly grateful for the opportunities Alaska is providing for our young people here at Willie Brown,” said Vincent Matthews, SFUSD Superintendent. “We had Kevin Durant here this morning and he spoke to students and really told them to stay involved, stay engaged and keep working hard.”

“Huge shout-out to Alaska Airlines for inviting Kevin Durant here to the school today to greet our students, and for donating the $10,000 check so we can improve our Maker Space and Willie Brown Bookstore,” added Willie Brown Middle School Principal Charleston Brown.

Continuing the surprise, a select group of eighth-grade students, who made the honor roll for good grades the previous year, were chosen to participate in a game of “knockout basketball” in the school’s indoor gym. The energy was high on the court – as two lucky winners received a KD-signed basketball.

Durant also stopped by to share some final words of encouragement, congratulate those who had just made the school’s basketball team, and gather for a selfie.

Photos by Ingrid Barrentine.

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Mention to most people that you’re traveling to Helsinki, Finland and you’re likely to receive one of three reactions: a blank stare, a confused “Where?” or a puzzled “Why Helsinki?”

It’s true that Helsinki, and Finland in general, is relatively unknown compared to its Nordic neighbors. Mention Sweden to most people, and Swedish meatballs, Abba and Ikea immediately come to mind. Meanwhile, Norway evokes images of Vikings, Norse mythology and impressive fjords. Denmark is likely to elicit at least a passing reference to Danish fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen. But Finland doesn’t seem to inspire that type of recognition, nor is Helsinki on the average tourist’s radar.

“Helsinki is the quiet capital that people often overlook for the more buzzing neighboring capitals,” says my friend, Nora, a Helsinki resident. I think of how packed the streets of central Stockholm were on my last visit and have to agree.

After a smooth flight on Finnair, an Alaska Airlines Global Partner, I’m ready to explore this hidden gem. Luckily, Helsinki doesn’t disappoint.
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With affordable, nonstop Pittsburgh flights departing Seattle daily, those from the Pacific Northwest can get a feel for why the city is becoming known as one of the country’s most livable.

Pittsburgh has reinvented itself. Gone are the days of factories and pollution; instead, the steel city is a hub of culture and innovation set amidst beautiful hills and rivers.

Whether you’re visiting for a weekend or a week, here’s how to make the most of your trip to Pittsburgh.
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Forget what the playbook says: tailgating starts at the gate.

Seattle football fans flying to the regular season opener in Denver are in for a treat this Friday. Gate C9 at Seattle Tacoma International Airport will be decked out in blue – and a new Russell Wilson plane will be waiting at the end of the jetway.

180903 rwplane 05 resized Dream Big, Fly High: What Russell Wilson’s new plane is all about

The 737-800 features Wilson’s new tagline, “Dream Big. Fly High,” above the aircraft door. Credit: Rochelle Bergstrom

The Boeing 737-800 features Wilson’s tagline, “Dream Big. Fly High.” above the aircraft door. The tagline is a reminder of what our partnership with Seattle’s star quarterback is about – celebrating our hometown football fans and building a strong local community.

“At Alaska, we don’t just care about the laws of physics lifting a plane into the air – though that’s remarkable no matter how old you are or how often you fly. We know are all better off when we can create lift together, across communities,” says Diana Birkett Rakow, Alaska Airlines vice president of external relations. “Our guests and partners, including our Chief Football Officer, inspire us to invest in the next generation – to champion young people, to show kids a path to aviation jobs or whatever their goals and dreams may be.”
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Have you ever been stuck in traffic and thought: “There has got to be a better way to get where I’m going”? Pilots often think the same thing up in the air.

In the hours before takeoff, airline dispatchers specifically plan flights and file flight plans using the best information available at the time. But conditions change: turbulent weather moves in, the airspace suddenly becomes more congested or better flying lanes open up but go undiscovered.

What if pilots – much like drivers – could hop off a busy thoroughfare and jump on a less crowded backroad? Today, it’s not that easy. Soon, it could be.
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By Kachet Jackson-Henderson and Ruthie Ridley

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When we arrived at the Sheraton Grand Los Cabos Hacienda del Mar, we knew we were in for a treat. The AAA Four-Diamond resort has five pools, eight restaurants and entertainment. But, arriving at an amazing resort is just the start of an epic girls’ trip – it’s about the experience and how you spend your time. Here’s how to make the most of your visit to Los Cabos.
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Update: 1:15 p.m. on Aug. 11, 2018
View today’s press conference with our CEO, Brad Tilden, Horizon Air CEO, Gary Beck, the FBI and the Port of Seattle.

  • All of us at Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air are saddened by last night’s unauthorized flight of a Horizon Q400 aircraft that resulted in the loss of life of the individual involved.
  • Our top priority is the safety of our guests and employees. Simply put there is nothing more important to us.
  • We are working closely with the FBI, the NTSB and the FAA to better understand the circumstances of this unauthorized flight. The FBI is the lead investigator for this incident.
  • Yesterday’s events will push us to learn what we can from this tragedy so that we can help prevent it from happening again at our airline or any other.

There are no further updates planned at this time.

The toll-free number for anyone who believes they may know the person involved in the incident is 1-888-283-2153.
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When we heard Seattle’s Sub Pop Records was celebrating 30 years and had always dreamt of having their own plane, we figured it was the least we could do. They gave us Nirvana and The Shins after all.

The independent record label got its start in 1988 and is known for signing central players in the grunge movement. They’ve since put several independent artists (and a store at SeaTac) on the map. We love them so much, we offer their music for free on our flights.

meganjasper sarahcass 03 web Sub Pop plane makes Alaskas fleet sing

Sub Pop Executive Vice President Megan Jasper

“It means so much for Alaska to say yes, music is important – music does make people’s lives better and brings us together as people,” said Megan Jasper, the label’s executive vice president.

We spoke with Jasper, who started as Sub Pop’s punk receptionist years ago, about our partnership and the iconic label’s anniversary concert in West Seattle this weekend.

Alaska: Wow, 30 years. What does it mean for Sub Pop to hit this milestone?

Jasper: It’s kind of crazy. When Bruce and Jonathan started Sub Pop, they weren’t thinking 30 years from that point. For an independent label to last 30 years is something special. It’s not lost on us that we wouldn’t have lasted this long without great artists and community support. We’re very fortunate.
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pj 2018 seattle admat 11x17 11 Alaska Airlines and Pearl Jam band together to fight homelessnessPearl Jam is home for the first time in five years. To say Seattleites are excited is an understatement. The Rock & Roll Hall of Famers are playing two sold-out concerts at Safeco Field tonight and Friday. Fans are already waiting hours in line to get merch, and Pearl Jam-branded wine sold out in 12 minutes.

But seeing what many believe to be the most influential band of the ‘90s isn’t the only reason people are flocking to “The Home Shows.” As part of their homecoming, the band is dedicating proceeds to fight homelessness in Seattle – and we’re joining that effort.

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