From left: Alaska Airlines First Officer Kim Ford, Alaska Airlines Captain Tara Wright, Alaska Airlines Senior Diversity & Inclusion Specialist Theressa Irigon-Rachetto, Sisters of the Skies President & United Airlines Captain Theresa Claiborne, Alaska Airlines First Officer Mallory Cave
Today’s flight deck is full of incredible professionals, but also lacking diversity. African American female pilots make up about one half of 1 percent of all professional pilots across the industry. At Alaska, we’re all about people and reflecting those we serve, but this statistic is a reminder of how far we have to go.
This morning, we signed a new pledge with Sisters of the Skies, a nonprofit committed to pilot diversity. We aim to increase our female African American pilots over the next six years across Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, and support the path to expose and inspire more young women to get there.
“When we foster an inclusive environment that recognizes, respects, and visibly reflects all people, it makes us stronger,” said Andy Schneider, Alaska Airlines vice president of people. “Quite simply, creating an airline people love is not possible unless we walk the talk around diversity and inclusion.”
UPDATE: 2:08 p.m. on Feb. 12, 2019
The verdict is in: It’s the snowiest month at Sea-Tac Airport in 50 years. Over the past week and a half, the National Weather Service reports an overall snowfall total of more than 20 inches at Sea-Tac.
All that wintry weather has created plenty of challenges, including for our operations. The snow has finally let up, but it’s going to take some time to get things flowing normally. To help do that, we’ve pre-canceled additional flights in and out of Sea-Tac for today – which decreases the number of aircraft landing and departing – to ease congestion, and give us some breathing room.
If your flight has been impacted, you’ll receive an email notification from us. To help our guests adjust their travel plans, we also extended our flexible travel policy for those who are impacted by the winter storms and need to change their flights in and out of Seattle.
When our guests have a frustrating travel experience, so do we. We always want you to have a great flight. If your travel day hit a roadblock recently, we apologize and promise our employees are working hard to get you where you need to go – safely.
We know that information is power, and as a guest, it’s easy to feel in the dark in these situations. Here’s a look at several of the key issues we faced:
- Snow, snow, snow. Another 6 inches bombarded Sea-Tac starting mid-afternoon yesterday. At times, there were near whiteout conditions.
- There was so much snow falling at certain points, it impacted our operations. There were moments when deicing procedures had to be stopped, or planes had to be deiced multiple times because of the intensity of the snow. Crews needed more time and fewer planes to work on to make sure the procedures were done safely.
- The intense snowfall slowed the departure process from pushback, taxi time and deicing times. That meant planes were parked at the gates longer, leaving other aircraft (and passengers) on the tarmac waiting much longer than usual.
- During the snowstorms, the FAA has periodically activated ground stops to prevent arriving aircraft from landing. That happened again Monday for several hours. That’s in additional to ground delay programs at Sea-Tac, which slows down operations at the airport by putting more spacing between planes arriving and departing.
- These extreme weather events just don’t impact the movement of our planes, but also our people. It’s important that our flight crews don’t exceed their FAA-regulated duty period – that’s the allowable length of a safe workday for pilots and flight attendants. If the crew exceeds that duty period, flights are delayed or even canceled.
- In the days ahead, we’ll also need time to reposition our flight crews and aircraft as we get our operations back to normal, especially since Seattle is our primary hub. That could also require further delays and cancellations.
Spring break is just around the corner and, for most of us, it means one thing: sun. Ask a student, and they may be ready to lounge by the pool and enjoy some nightlife. A family might be looking for more structured bonding time with a guide, water activities and kid’s clubs, while single travelers and couples could be looking for culture and a little adventure. Whichever way your compass tilts, Alaska Airlines and their Global Partners will point you in the right direction.
Guanacaste, Costa Rica
An eco-friendly land of mountains, beaches, parks and forests, the northwestern corner of Costa Rica packs all this and more. Also known as Guanacaste or the “Gold Coast,” this Pacific paradise borders Nicaragua and, unlike the wet seasons of summer and fall, enjoys a dry, warm climate in the spring.
UPDATE: 4:00 p.m. on Feb. 2, 2019
As of 4 p.m. Pacific time, today’s wintry weather is a factor in nearly all the 154 Alaska flights that have been canceled to and from Seattle, impacting the travel plans of more than 13,600 passengers.
Thanks again to all of our guests who worked with us on a not-so-great day for traveling at our main hub.
UPDATE: 2:05 p.m. on Feb. 2, 2019
As of 2 p.m. Pacific time, today’s wintry weather is a factor in nearly all the 133 Alaska flights that have been canceled to and from Seattle, impacting the travel plans of nearly 12,000 passengers.
We appreciate the patience of our guests during this difficult travel day. We’re doing everything we can to get all of our customers to their destinations.
ORIGINAL POST: 12:17 p.m. on Feb. 2, 2019
The beginning of February is giving us a big reminder that it’s still winter in the Pacific Northwest. A potent snow storm has slowed operations at Sea-Tac Airport for us and all other airlines today. We’ve canceled at least 80 flights and there are a significant number of delays.
A Ground Delay Program – instituted by Air Traffic Control – is also in effect at the airport, which slows the number of arriving flights and reduces congestion.
As of 10 a.m. Pacific time, the weather is a factor in nearly all 80 Alaska flights that have been canceled to and from Seattle, impacting the travel plans of more than 6,700 passengers.
You’ve made it. You reached 10,000 feet. Now, how about a good movie?
For some, accessing the Alaska Beyond Entertainment library of 500+ movies and TV shows on a smartphone, tablet or laptop is second nature. But for a lot of us, technology isn’t always our friend. You can use the information below to guide your next Alaska Airlines flight.
This trip was the first of many for our leaders at Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air for the coming year. Called “Leader Immersion,” our managing directors and up will spend a week in the operation. It’s kind of an “Undercover Boss,” without the disguise, as one of our employees said.
The Great Land is beautiful, even in January. The low temperatures create a beautiful frost on the trees and there is something really wonderful and peaceful about the mornings here, (where it is currently staying dark until around 10 a.m.). I was in Anchorage, Alaska for a week in early January on the suggestion of one of our employees, who challenged me to job shadow – walking in our frontline employees’ shoes. It sounded like a good idea to me.
My week started with my flight from Seattle to Anchorage. The Seattle-based flight crew – Shannon Novito, Angela Bolton, Kris McCloskey and Kimberly Sagmoen (pictured above) – were awesome. I had a great time visiting with them, interacting with our guests onboard, and serving a beverage or two. I sat on the flight deck for the last 40 minutes of the flight and was impressed with the expert airmanship of Captain John Lien and First Officer Levi Breidenbach who navigated us into Anchorage amidst a low blanket of fog.
Every day, folks get up and go to work. It’s something that’s easy to take for granted – until we realize that some people are going to work and not getting paid.
In the aviation industry, it takes a complex orchestra of airline, government and other employees to keep our system operational and to ensure flyers get to where they are going in a timely and safe manner. All of us at Alaska Airlines would like to take a moment to thank the federal government employees responsible for keeping aviation safe throughout the year – especially over the last 30 days.
The current government shutdown is having a serious impact on the aviation sector and those who support the industry, and we hope it ends soon. There are roughly 48,000 Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents and 15,000 air traffic controllers among the huge group of dedicated federal employees coming to work every day and not getting paid. They’re committed to the important mission of keeping aviation safe, yet these employees will miss their second paycheck this week. This is not right, and it’s not sustainable. We are calling on all of our leaders to return our system to normal and get these people paid.
We hope you can appreciate the adage “good things come to those who wait,” because we have an update to pass along about our planned flights at Paine Field.
Several key groups within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which conduct crucial certification and oversight work required for the start of commercial air service at Paine Field, are subject to furloughs because of the government shutdown. The FAA’s work on the environmental assessment continues. However, essential work groups within the FAA are furloughed and further delays are expected if the shutdown continues.
It’s a tough decision, but we believe the responsible action is to postpone the start of service at Paine Field. Originally set for Feb. 11, 2019, we’re now scheduling service to begin on March 4 – subject to receipt of all required government approvals.
If you bought a ticket for a Paine Field flight, your first question might be: what now?
There are a few famously great pairings in life: Mork and Mindy, ketchup and fries, movies and popcorn — and airplane flights and a beautiful glass of wine. This season, Alaska Airlines is introducing a new West Coast wine menu to complement their fresh-and-local seasonal cuisine.
Winter wine menu
- First class: Chamisal Vineyards 2016 Stainless Chardonnay, Ranch 32 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon
- Main cabin: Broken Earth 2014 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Canoe Ridge Exploration Chardonnay
This selection will continue to rotate, introducing new and interesting wines from the West Coast, where more than 90 percent of U.S. wine production occurs. Alaska Airlines has the most nonstop flights from the West Coast and is committed to partnering with noteworthy local winemakers. Read More