By Jess Dale (instagram.com/jess.wandering)
and Quin Schrock (instagram.com/everchanginghorizon)

2 Weekend Wanderer: Los Angeles to Liberia, Costa Rica

The hike to the Oropendola waterfall is short, fun, and photogenic. It’s one of the only waterfalls we visited that allowed swimming, so don’t forget your suit!

When I was 6 years old I was obsessed with bugs. I picked up this interest from my friend’s dad. He was an entomologist, and would travel all over the world collecting insects. After one trip in particular he came back with tales of lush forests, neon blue waterfalls, white sand beaches, and a stunning array of biodiversity. And thus, a new obsession started – Costa Rica. I checked out every book in the library, cut out pictures from my parents’ magazines, and put it at the top of my list of places I would visit when I grew up.

But it wasn’t until Quin contacted me about doing the Weekend Wanderer program with him in Costa Rica, that my childhood dream became a reality. We left from Los Angeles and took Alaska Airlines’ new direct flight to Liberia, picked up our car, and hit the road! Flying into Liberia put us near Costa Rica’s vibrant rain forests, numerous National Parks, and beautiful waterfalls.

Our goal was to see as many as possible during our stay!

Shop: Flights to Costa Rica

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Every December, an annual Fantasy Flight on Alaska Airlines arrives at the “North Pole” to bring smiles and Christmas cheer to about 60 children, many of whom live in shelters or transitional housing.

For most of the kids, it’s their first time on an airplane – and Flight 1225 (as in “Dec. 25”) is the opening act in an exciting day that culminates in an elaborately detailed party in a space that’s been transformed into a wonderland of winter treats.

For kids who don’t have much, the special treatment provides a momentary lift this time of year – and memories to last a lifetime.

 With help from Santa and his elves, Fantasy Flight makes life a little brighter for children in need With help from Santa and his elves, Fantasy Flight makes life a little brighter for children in needWhile happy spirits dominate the evening, there are many poignant reminders of the difficulty each child faces. Last year, after visiting a booth to select pajamas, one girl put on her purple PJs as fast as she could, near tears, because she’d never owned pajamas before.

Since 2008, Alaska Airlines has sponsored the Fantasy Flight in Spokane, Washington, and many Alaska and Horizon employees volunteer as the “elves” who make the magic happen.

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magazine cover for blog Women who are pilots share the moments of inspiration that led to aviation careers

A version of this story appears in the December 2017 issue of our in-flight magazine, Alaska Beyond.

Good pilots are known for their technical expertise, precision, teamwork and customer service. At Alaska Air Group, pilots go beyond that to also exemplify the company’s core values: Own safety, do the right thing, be kindhearted, deliver performance and be remarkable.

These professionals have a deep and unwavering commitment to outstanding flying skills. They take seriously their command responsibility and authority.

At the same time, they know they’re not just flying planes, they’re flying people. That mindset informs everything they do.

Women in the flight deck remain somewhat of a rarity: Only about 5 percent of commercial airline pilots in the U.S. are women. Among the three pilots profiled in the December issue of Alaska Beyond magazine, there is a certain sense of camaraderie. But above all, they’re professional pilots doing what they love – flying our guests.

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Over the past year or so, you probably heard that your standard driver license soon might not be good enough to get you through security checkpoints at the airport. There was even a looming deadline of Jan. 22, 2018 that had a lot of us taking notice and wondering what it all means.

Well, there’s good news.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently approved extension requests for a new batch of states as it relates to the REAL ID Act, including Alaska, California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

The extensions were needed because standard driver licenses are not in line with federal requirements.

The big takeaway: Passengers will still be able to use their regular state driver licenses and ID cards for air travel for another year – at least through October 2018. There’s no need to rush out and do anything, like getting an enhanced driver license.

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raleigh Local Wanderer: Raleigh, North CarolinaBy Chana Lynn, RaleighWhatsUp 

Raleigh is an incredible city to live, work and play – and also to visit!

Raleigh is a creative and closely connected city. Like many other cities, Raleigh and the surrounding Triangle area are currently experiencing a lot of growth these last few years, and it’s exciting to be a part of it.

Raleigh is home to many world-class technology companies and universities, NHL and elite college athletics, several incredible museums, a fast rising destination food scene with award-winning chefs, fantastic coffee shops and plenty of amazing local breweries. I’d say we are pretty lucky to live here!

On my blog, RaleighWhatsUp, I enjoy sharing and highlighting lots of amazing local places in Raleigh and beyond to dine, drink, listen, shop and explore. I’ve put together a few of my favorite destinations in Raleigh but plan a visit and decide for yourself! Shop for flights to Raleigh.

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Alaska Airlines will put limits on “smart bags” starting early next year.

As of Jan. 15, any bag powered with a lithium battery or lithium battery power bank will need to follow these requirements:

  • Smart bags will be allowed as carry-on baggage, if they meet carry-on size limits and if it’s possible to remove the battery from the bag if needed.
  • If the bag will fly as a checked bag, the battery must be removed and the battery must be carried in the cabin.
  • If it’s not possible to remove the battery from the bag, the bag won’t be allowed on the plane.

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By Andrea “Andy” Schneider
Alaska Airlines vice president of People

I am writing today to address a recent situation involving an alleged sexual harassment incident on board one of our aircraft.

This report is very disturbing. We take it extremely seriously and have launched a thorough investigation. The safety and well-being of our guests and employees is our number one priority. We want our guests to feel safe. As a company, we have zero tolerance for any type of misconduct that creates an unsafe environment for our guests and our employees.

Our aim is to create an environment where guests and employees alike feel protected and empowered, and where our guests have a safe and enjoyable travel experience.

As a company with strong values and a deep commitment to our guests and our employees, we will do our part to find solutions to a pervasive societal problem. We are driven to learn continuously, to lead, and to do the right thing.

In the weeks ahead, we will be working with guests, employees, union partners, and other leaders to review and strengthen our approach to preventing, identifying, and addressing these important issues.

12 square Weekend Wanderer: San Diego to AlbuquerqueBy Katie Dillion, La Jolla Mom

If Albuquerque isn’t on your sightseeing to-do list, it should be.

The largest city in New Mexico is a neat fusion of multiple cultures and influences from Native American pueblos to Route 66 to computers and rocketry.  As a result of this and its location, Albuquerque is home to a very unique and mouthwatering food culture.

It also has, in addition to some surprisingly-excellent museums, a lot of outdoor activities beyond hot air ballooning.

Book your flight to Albuquerque.

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Alaska Airlines is excited to announce additional flights between Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for those times when Cougars want them most.

In partnership with Washington State University, Alaska is adding flights during the school’s start to the spring semester in early January, and during dates around WSU’s spring break in March.

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Every year, the week of Thanksgiving and the last two weeks of December are typically airlines’ busiest travel periods.

Bonus tip: On Dec. 15, Alaska Airlines guests who wear their festive holiday sweaters to the airport will be able to board early, in honor of National Ugly Holiday Sweater Day.

To kick off the busy holiday season, Alaska’s airport employees offer five tips for making your journey as smooth as possible.

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