Few things are as frustrating as sitting on an airplane waiting out an “ATC delay.”

ATC is airline-speak for Air Traffic Control, a program governed by the Federal Aviation Administration. It manages the flow of planes as they arrive and depart airports. ATC’s top priority: safety. That includes maintaining a safe amount of separation between aircraft.

In perfect conditions, planes can fly closer together. When airport conditions deterio­rate – wind, snow, poor visibility, or even too many flights scheduled in the same time period – controllers ensure the highest levels of safety by requiring more space between planes as they arrive or depart. Instead of 60 airplanes arriving every hour, for instance, ATC might restrict the flow to 30 airplanes. Of course, that slower rate creates a backlog.

Airplanes must wait their turn in the air, at the departure gate or on the taxiway. Other times, airlines cancel flights to help minimize the snowball effect of delays, and passengers are rebooked on the next available flight.

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wff map How to check a case of wine for free on Alaska AirlinesAlaska Airlines has expanded our popular Wine Flies Free program to include wineries throughout the state of California.

That means Alaska Mileage Plan members departing from 29 airports in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California wine regions can check up to a case of wine – 12 bottles – for free!

Not a Mileage Plan member? Join for free.

Wondering how your Wine Flies Free from the West Coast? It’s easier than you think.

Here’s a step-by-step guide.

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Keep an eye out for our big heart the next time you fly through Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport.

The sculpture was unveiled on Valentine’s Day and signifies Alaska Airlines’ ongoing commitment to delivering kind-hearted service to the Bay Area community.
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holding hands Love at first flight: Alaska Airlines flight attendants fall for each other in class, get engaged 1 year later

Alaska Airlines flight attendants Benjamin Cripps and Carline Kintigh. Photos by Victoria Fitch.

It sounds like a Hallmark movie: Two people “meet cute” in Alaska Airlines flight attendant training, fall head over heels for each other, covertly find ways to spend time together, are separated by their jobs for a time and then come back together and become engaged exactly one year after they met.

Oh, and one other thing: Both sets of their parents met working at Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, and still work there today.

But it’s not the latest Hollywood rom-com starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. It’s the real-life story of Portland-based flight attendants Benjamin Cripps and Carline Kintigh.

In a nod to Alaska Airlines for bringing them together and their deep roots with the company, they recently had all of their engagement photos taken on and around the Portland Timbers-themed airplane and Portland International Airport. The photos were taken by Victoria Fitch, also a Portland-based flight attendant. Their wedding date is set for Sept. 6, 2018.

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My alarm clock started loudly chiming at 7 a.m. and I sprang out of bed with excitement.

While I normally loathe the idea of waking up that early, the day I had been impatiently waiting for had finally arrived.

Today … I’m finally exploring the idyllic Rottnest Island!

Now if you’ve never heard of this place before — prepare to add it to your bucket list! I’ll never forget the first time I saw pictures of Rottnest Island off Australia’s west coast near Perth, and I immediately knew that I had to visit this place someday. It’s been at the top of my “dream destinations” list for years now, and I was ecstatic to experience its beauty for myself.

I could barely contain my excitement while on board my business class flight from Sydney to Perth with Qantas, an Alaska Airlines Global Partner. During the flight, I definitely enjoyed some Rottnest Island dreams in my comfy lie-flat bed.

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Aiming to improve onboard storage and make flying easier for customers, Alaska Airlines is the first carrier to get Boeing’s innovative Space Bins. The larger overhead bins have a similar look and feel to Alaska’s Boeing Sky Interior pivot bins yet hold more bags.

All 79 of Alaska’s 737-900ER aircraft have Space Bins, which hold as many as 174 standard carry-on bags, a 48 percent increase compared to traditional overhead bins that hold up to 117 bags. Space Bins are deep enough to store nonstandard items, such as a guitar.

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By Abe Kislevitz 

2 Weekend Wanderer: San Diego to Steamboat

We made it to Steamboat! The skies are blue and the snow is soft. Knowing where to go on a good day like this is key to finding the goods!

Last week I got the chance to escape sunny San Diego for a weekend, and get thrown straight into winter!

My friend and fellow content creator Chris Rogers accompanied me as we explored Steamboat Springs, Colorado for three days in partnership with Alaska Airlines. They run a social media campaign called #WeekendWanderer where they’ll send you somewhere for a weekend to explore and document your travels! When you only have a few days to explore a new location, it’s best to have done some research beforehand. I tossed out a couple Instagram posts asking for recommendations and got a good list going!

Even more, we linked up with local mountain guru Alex Pashley, who works for Smartwool, a rad company based in Steamboat! With all the plans set it made 3 days feel like 2 weeks! It was the perfect weekend getaway.

  • Need a ride to Steamboat? Turn your dream into reality with these flight deals.

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jon6394 Heres why the Great Ocean Road should be on your Australia bucket list – and catch a ride with Qantas, Alaskas Global Partner

Travel writer and photographer Dave Anderson.

What’s on your “Australia bucket list”?

Many people might include snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, seeing a koala or a kangaroo, and learning to surf in Sydney.

While all of these experiences are indeed awesome, no Australia bucket list should be complete without driving the Great Ocean Road – one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives – along the south-eastern coastline of this undeniably beautiful country.

The Great Ocean Road begins in the town of Torquay, about 60 miles southwest of Melbourne , and follows B100 west about 150 miles/243 km to the small town of Allansford. Along the drive are sandy beaches, lush forests, and historical and geological sites.

Here are just a few of my favorite stops.

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We recently closed the books on a very good 2017, and before we get too much further into 2018, I want to pause and reflect on what you, our customers, have helped create.

Measured as a whole, 2017 was a remarkable year. We flew 44 million of you around this incredible country – and beyond – with the great value and the caring and genuine service that has made Alaska Airlines successful for more than 85 years. We also made significant progress in our merger with Virgin America, achieving a single operating certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration in early January. By the end of April, we will have a single shopping/reservations/check-in system, and we will be 75 percent complete with the process of merging our companies – which means a more streamlined experience for you.

Looking ahead to 2018, Virgin America is bringing fresh energy and ideas as we update our guest experience. A recent article in Condé Nast Traveler says the merger of Alaska Airlines and Virgin America is “what happens when the cool kid of the skies hooks up with the straight-A student. You get a straight-A student who’s now dressing a little more punk rock and cracking open a beer in the parking lot.”  

Our teams have been working hard at Alaska to incorporate all that guests love about Virgin America into the Alaska Airlines brand they respect and can count on. We’re two incredible, pioneering airlines in the business and we’re linking arms for the future.

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If you’ve been to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., you know how spectacular it is – a place filled with history and exhibits that inspire, educate and entertain.

That’s why Alaska Airlines is donating $1.5 million in support of the “America by Air” gallery, part of the overall remodeling of the museum’s flagship building. From large aircraft to smaller artifacts – such as uniforms, models and engines – the gallery traces the history of commercial aviation in the United States.

“Alaska Airlines is committed to working in our communities to introduce young people – especially those most at risk – to job opportunities in aviation and beyond, to set them up for success in future career options,” said Diana Birkett Rakow, Alaska Airlines vice president of external relations. “We are honored to support one of the world’s most premier education centers and a national treasure as it gears up to inspire future aviators and young adults in person, around the country and around the world. And for Alaska Airlines guests traveling to our nation’s capital, you can go see your favorite airline playing a part in our nation’s history.”

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