This is a photo of an elite Alaska Mileage Plan card

It used to be that a mile flown was a mile earned — and it still is with Alaska Mileage Plan. However, many other loyalty programs have switched to new models that issue miles based on the price of your ticket. Which is more rewarding to frequent travelers? I (and the powers that be at Alaska) believe it is the former, but to fully answer this question, I need to start by clarifying a few terms:

  • Miles flown are straightforward. Most airlines will list the distance next to the ticket you’re looking to purchase.
  • Elite qualifying miles are used to determine your elite status. You will typically earn EQM based on the miles flown, plus a bonus for certain fare classes.
  • Award miles can be redeemed for a future flight. You will typically earn elite qualifying miles based on the miles flown, plus a bonus for certain fare classes and another for your elite status.

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Daydreamer and San Luis Obispo, California native, Karen Grubb knows just how to bring adventure to our small screens with her amazing photography. From epic mountain scenes to dreamy deep forests, we’d follow her to any adventure. She is being featured as part of Alaska’s Local Wanderer series. Follow Alaska Airlines on Instagram as Karen gives you a glimpse of San Luis Obispo through her lens.

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This is a photo of a father-daughter pilot team in front of an Alaska Airlines jet

This Father’s Day, a special pair of pilots is scheduled to fly together for Alaska Airlines: Captain Nick Cosmakos and First Officer Niclina Cosmakos plan to work as a father-daughter flight crew on Sunday.

They are scheduled to fly together all month.

Niclina credits her love of flying to her father, and fondly remembers flying with him when she and her brother were kids.

“He had us in small airplanes flying out of Paine Field as far back as I can remember,” she said. “I really enjoyed the sensation of operating an aircraft, it was fun and challenging. I knew at 16 it was what I wanted to do as a profession.”

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Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden is one of more than 160 U.S. business leaders to sign a “diversity and inclusion pledge” this week, the latest effort by the company to embrace diversity in all its forms.

In signing, Tilden is committing Alaska Air Group to “to cultivate a workplace where different points of view are welcomed, where employees feel empowered to discuss tough issues at work, and where successful—and unsuccessful—practices can be shared across organizations.”

“Fostering diversity and inclusion is not only the right thing to do, it has the power to improve performance, drive growth and engage employees,” says Tilden.

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Virgin America check-in counter

Alaska Airlines and Virgin America have been busy behind the scenes looking for ways to make the travel experience as seamless as possible for guests flying across the airlines’ combined route network. As part of this, some of Virgin America’s travel policies related to boarding and check-in times, bags, pets and unaccompanied minors have been updated. The changes, which are outlined below, and which match policies already in place at Alaska are now in effect on all flights operated by Virgin America.

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People traveling to and from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport today can expect delays due to low ceilings and a temporary Air Traffic Control equipment outage, which has significantly reduced the hourly rate of planes arriving and taking off at Sea-Tac.

Some 90 Alaska Airlines and Virgin America flights scheduled to depart Seattle through noon have been delayed by up to two hours, affecting approximately 10,000 guests.

“Guests traveling through Seattle today should check the status of their flights before they leave for the airport,” said Todd Sproul, Alaska Airlines’ managing director of system operations control. “In the meantime, we’re working with the Port of Seattle and the FAA to restore normal operations as soon as possible.”

For more information about the Federal Aviation Administration and ATC delay, visit

Brad Tilden testifies on ATC reform

Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden testified before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Aviation earlier this year

As airlines head into the busiest travel season of the year, one big worry looms: the nation’s antiquated Air Traffic Control (ATC) system.

The ATC system is a critical part of the U.S. economy and air travel infrastructure, but hasn’t been modernized at a pace that can keep up with current air traffic levels. In fact, very little upgrades have been made to the system over the last few decades. Today, 27,000 flights land in the United States every single day using essentially the same paper strips and ground-based radar system that have been in use since World War II.

This outdated system while extremely safe leads to delays, cancellations and needlessly long flight paths for the two million travelers who fly every single day. In fact, half of all flight delays are now a result of Air Traffic Control issues.

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After patiently enduring questionable rumors and countless fake line-up posters during the wait for your favorite music festival to announce their bands, the on-sale day has finally arrived: victory – and festival tickets – are yours!  Now, what’s next?

Whether you’re a complete newbie or a seasoned music festival veteran, smart packing choices are key in avoiding frustrations that can distract you from the very thing you’re traveling to enjoy: the music. Here are some tips on planning and packing for your trip to a music festival.

Plan ahead

Before you begin packing, take a long look at your festival’s list of items not allowed (the Riot Fest list is a great example). Then, be sure to recheck this list again before getting in line to enter the festival. Doing so will save you time, money and suitcase space, with no need throw out prohibited items (selfie sticks, metal containers, etc.) before security lets you enter the festival, or getting out of line to run things back to your car.

Flying to a festival that involves camping takes some advance planning. If you pack carefully, you can take along a good portion of your equipment as checked baggage; learn about what camping gear is allowed in checked baggage when flying. For the items you need but can’t check or carry on, do a little research before you fly to discover the best places near your destination to rent/buy gear.

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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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