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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As an avid runner living in Portland, Oregon, David Laney gave us the takeover of a lifetime as he ran thorugh the streets of Salt Lake City, Utah. Scrolling through his Instagram feed, his passion for not only running, but the outdoors in general shines through in every post. He just returned from an Instagram takeover in Salt Lake City, Utah as part of Alaska’s Weekend Wanderer series. For more Weekend Wanderer posts, be sure to follow Alaska Airlines on Instagram.

I love being outside. As someone who spends a lot of time in the outdoors, Portland, Oregon is a great place to have as a base camp between trips. With both Mount Hood and the Oregon Coast about an hour away, great access to outdoor activities is something I often take for granted. I really value being able have a fun trip in just a few days. Spending this last weekend in the Utah really opened my eyes to the ease of travel between Portland and Salt Lake City and the ease of travel between mountains, desert and city near Salt Lake City.

 Weekend Wanderer: Portland, Oregon to Salt Lake City

Hey Folks, pretty stoked to be flying from Portland to Salt Lake City, and to be exploring the deserts and mountains of Utah this weekend! I’ll be taking over the Alaska Air account so follow along and get ideas for your next trip!

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Recycling is fine, but reuse or “upcycling” is better. That’s the thinking behind an innovative approach to find new homes for Alaska Airlines’ aging cargo containers, known as “igloos.”

Alaska Air Cargo uses the cargo containers known as igloos because of their dome-like shape, to transport food and other necessities of life, to far flung communities in the state of Alaska as well as bringing Alaska-produced goods such as Copper River salmon to the lower 48. They are designed to be packed to the gills with supplies, and then slide on rollers to fit perfectly in the cargo freighters, making the most efficient use of space.

Now some retired containers are being used by Puget Sound area farmers as goat-milking spaces, chicken coops, pig pens, storage for garden tools, firewood and more. The igloos were saved from the landfill thanks to employees’ creative thinking and a determination to reduce Alaska’s waste stream.

Last fall, Air Cargo was looking for homes for 150 used igloos as the airline planned to replace them with lighter, more advanced versions.

Two local nonprofits that serve farmers – Seattle Tilth and Pierce Conservation District – both responded enthusiastically to a call put out by Alaska’s environmental affairs team.

When the conservation district put the offer for the igloos on their Facebook page they were overwhelmed by the response, said Chrissy Cooley, agriculture community of interest coordinator. The post received four times more views than anything they had posted last year, she said. Some 164 farmers wanted at least one.

Now that spring has arrived, and a wet one at that, the 440-cubic-foot containers are in heavy use. Seattle Tilth, which has an organic working farm and community gardens in Auburn where 36 people tend a plot or keep their animals, is using most of them as storage sheds for gardening tools and feed, with a couple set aside for a chicken coop and a milking station.

“This has been a great partnership to bring new life to the containers in a way we would have never expected,” said Shelly Parker, director of cargo operations.

Natasha, a farmer who was milking sheep and a goat this week in one of the containers, said she really appreciates being out of the rain as she milks her animals and having a dry place to store her supplies.

One of the Pierce County farmers who claimed an igloo was Scott Gruber, who runs Calendula Farm and Landscaping Services near Puyallup, along with his wife Alina. Gruber is using his igloo to house his organically fed, free-range chickens and ducks. He sells his poultry and rabbits to high end restaurants in Tacoma and at the Proctor Farmers Market.

“These are just so perfectly suited for what we do. We are usually nailing together plywood and plastic for shelter. It’s so cool to get something real that is waterproof,” he said.

The igloos are made out of Lexan, a translucent polycarbonate material on the sides and aluminum on the top and bottom. They came with one side open covered by a blue coated tarp.

You can bet that if more igloos become available, people will be lined up to take them. And that’s good for goats and the environment.

“This is a terrific example of sustainability in action,” said Jacqueline Drumheller, Alaska’s sustainability manager. “Sustainability is about innovative thinking and identifying long-term solutions that benefit the company, the community and employees.”

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