Honor Flight: Alaska flies veterans from Washington, Oregon and Alaska to memorials in Washington D.C.

Some arrived in wheelchairs. Others were aided by walkers or canes. Some came on the arm of a guardian. But all of the veterans who arrived at Alaska Airlines terminals in Seattle, Portland and Anchorage this fall stood tall. The veterans, men and women who served their country during World War II, the Korean War and the Alaska Territorial Guard, enjoyed once-in-a-lifetime visits to Washington, D.C. to visit the national monuments named in their honor, compliments of Alaska Airlines and Honor Flight.

Honor Flight Network is a national organization working to transport America’s veterans to visit memorials in Washington, D.C. The veterans enjoyed three days of touring and then returned home with memories to share. Alaska provides complimentary travel for the veterans and discounted travel for their guardians.

A hero’s welcome

When Alaska Airlines Flight 767 from Baltimore touched down in Seattle with 53 veterans onboard, the airport was a hub of activity. Standing two-and-three deep, uniformed representatives from all five branches of the military formed a welcome line to greet each veteran—offering a salute and personal escort. Employees, airport workers and passengers joined in lining the concourse clapping and welcoming home the veterans.

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“It’s truly a hero’s welcome,” said Nancy Rutherford, administrative assistant for Alaska at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. “Customers throughout the terminal kept stopping and thanking me for our support of the military. It was very humbling.”

Many Alaska and Horizon employees from the airline’s stations get involved in Honor Flight. In Seattle, Lead Customer Service Agent Julie Motley painted murals on the windows at gate C-9 and maintenance employees coming off the graveyard shift volunteered to load wheelchairs. In Anchorage, Customer Service Agent Denise Snow sang “God Bless America” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” for veterans who joined in singing.

Watch: Alaska employee brings passengers to tears with moving tribute to a fallen soldier

“Alaska Airlines is a proud supporter of all past and present members of our military,” said Marilyn Romano, Alaska Airlines’ regional vice president – Alaska. Alaska is the only airline to operate Honor Flights for veterans in the state of Alaska.

“We work continually throughout the year to make these flights happen and we deeply appreciate our partners at Alaska Airlines,” said Ron Travis, president of Last Frontier Honor Flight in the state of Alaska. “When a veteran who is in their 90s looks at us with tears in their eyes to say thank you, we are honored to do it.”

12 Comments on “Honor Flight: Alaska flies veterans from Washington, Oregon and Alaska to memorials in Washington D.C.

  1. Can you tell me if there will be an Honor Flight foe Viet Nam Vet’s?

    • Hi Patrick. The Honor Flight Network runs the honor flight schedule, and they usually post the flights on their website once they are confirmed. I’d suggest you go to this link and look up by state/chapter: http://www.Honorflight.org

  2. I think that the Honor Flight is a wonderful program; however it is difficult for an escort to come up with the $1000 to accompany a veteran candidate on the AK to DC trip. I am a disabled veteran and wanted so much to accompany my WWII veteran Dad on one of these, but it was not feasible. I lost him 2 years ago today. I thought about being an escort for another veteran, whereas helping both the veteran accompanied and still being with my Dad; in spirit. Maybe something could be done to assist escorts who are also veterans to do this. Appreciation

    • Thanks for sharing, Colleen. I’ve passed along your feedback to the team.

  3. Thank you Alaska Airlines for providing transportation for our veterans. I have known two very special men that were selected to go on the Honor Flights. Randall McCluhan and Don Colbert. What a lovely way to thank our veterans.
    Alaska Airlines you are the BEST! I am proud to fly with you. Miss your napkins with an inspirational bible verse served with every meal. I know it’s not p/c these days. Longing for peace and goodwill in our world.

  4. Judy Oliver
    10 November 2015

    When my dear husband passed away (USCG, Capt., ret.) 5 years ago, he was buried with “military honors” at Arlington Cemetery. He was in World War II, Korea and Vietnam……a proud veteran. It is my wish to be able to go back to Arlington, sometime in the next year, to visit his graveside……so, will fly Alaska Airlines from the State of Washington. I think Alaska Airlines is making a wonderful tribute to the Veterans of the states of Washington, Oregon and Alaska. Bravo!!

  5. I have been a part of a previous Honor Flight with my father, a WWII vet. It was an overwhelming sense of pride and honor that was poured out on the vets and brought me to tears several times(even now as I think back on it). Thanks Alaska for stepping up to the plate to do this. Please make this a tradition.

  6. I would like to know how to nominate a veteran for the opportunity to participate on the “Honor Flight”.

    • Honor Flight is a national non-profit with regional chapters. Honorflight.org is where more info can be discovered. Here is the phone number for the main office, 937-521-2400. Most veterans go in a large group such as described in this article, however, if the veteran lives where no group exists, there is a program available for them, too. A companion travels with the veteran. Thank you, Alaska Airlines, for transporting this group of Veterans to participate in the Honor Flight program.

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