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From a plane to a helicopter employee Terri goes above & beyond the mountains to help an Alaska guest

Photo by Susan Ewbank in 2019.

Last year, Terri Gamble-Potter arranged for a helicopter to deliver a delayed bag to a guest who had arrived in Anchorage from the East Coast on his way to a remote area outside Talkeetna, Alaska.

“Knowing that logistics can be challenging for delivery to a remote location, I researched options and was able to have the bag driven to Talkeetna and then airlifted directly to the guest,” says Gamble-Potter, who has been an Anchorage-based customer service agent (CSA) since 1983. On a video of the helicopter’s approach, the guest enthuses: “That’s my freakin’ bag. … Thank you, Alaska Airlines. How ’bout that, huh? That’s service—customer care!”

Terri Potter, Customer Service Agent, 36 years

On another occasion, when a film crew had a tight connection through Anchorage on their way to Nome, she accompanied their checked luggage through security and arranged for a ramp agent to grab it the minute it was cleared so that he could race it to the aircraft.

Gamble-Potter is dedicated to providing excellent service. If someone’s bag is lost, she’s determined to find it. And she not only helps direct guests at baggage carousels, she also assists travelers with offloading their bags.

“Success in service comes from having empathy for people, and follow-through, and doing the very best you can for them,” she says.

Throughout her career at Alaska, she has worked in positions ranging from reservations to the ticket counter to training, as well as bag-gage claim, and she says that Anchorage CSAs are “a very dedicated and caring group of people.”

Gamble-Potter, who was previously a travel agent, joined Alaska Airlines because airline salespeople calling on the travel agency were always talking about how wonderful their jobs were, and how great Alaska Airlines was, and how it was like a family, she says. “I felt the airline had the same values I did, and I thought, ‘I’ve got to work there.’ ”

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

What is important to you at work? Giving 100%. We have a responsibility to help each other as co-workers, and to do things safely, and also to put ourselves in the guests’ shoes. I love everything about my job, including being a cheerleader for colleagues and for customer service.

What do you like to do outside of work? I was born and raised in Alaska, and I love living here and being active in the out-doors. I have cruised the Inside Passage and explored other areas of this beautiful state. Outside Alaska, I have traveled to wonderful destinations such as Portugal and the East Coast, and I was even on the first flight from Anchorage to Honolulu on Alaska Airlines. I enjoy organizing community service and volunteering with charities. Each September, my family hikes in Yosemite National Park in support of the Histio Cure Foundation.

What’s most important to you in life? My husband, four children and five grand-kids, who all reside in Alaska.

KUDOS FROM TERRI’S CO-WORKERS

“Terri goes above and beyond for guests. She is a baggage expert and is always there to help new employees learn. She shows compassion to our guests, and is a valuable and important part of our airline family.” — Misty V., CSA Manager, Anchorage

“Terri puts a smile on everybody’s face. She turns a difficult situation into a posi-tive one. She always has positive things to say. She does what she does, not be-cause she is trying to impress anyone, but because that’s just who she is.” — Nathan H., CSA Station Supervisor, Anchorage

“I can go to Terri if I need anything, and she knows exactly where to go so we can help guests out.” — Duane G., Ramp Service Agent, Anchorage

“Terri is passionate about her family, her friends and her airline guests, and that is why she excels in her job.” — Dana S., CSA (retired), Anchorage

Mandy praises flight attendants, says “they are my true heroes in this pandemic”

You’ve heard the term “walk a mile in my shoes.” Mandy Mundy, onboard product & services senior specialist, is a shining example of that. Although she traded flying the skies as a flight attendant for a job behind the scenes, she makes it her mission to continue to walk in the shoes of Horizon Air’s flight attendants, supporting them in their jobs.

“Everything I learned from all my experiences flying set me up for the role I have now,” Mundy says. “I work for an incredible group of flight attendants that remind me every day the reason I am here,” she says.

Mundy, who has been with Horizon for 15 years (12 years as a flight attendant) makes it her mission to listen—a lot. She’s always looking for ways, large and small, to make inflight processes better for her flying colleagues.

“Flight attendants can go weeks, if not months, without seeing their inflight leaders. We are always observing for opportunities to improve their work and work environment based on the data we receive from their feedback,” she says.

Mandy with her daughter.

Those that work with Mundy know that she spends as much time with flight attendants as she can. You can regularly find her in the PDX Village and attending as many recurrent ground school classes that she can, which she finds incredibly valuable.

“We have had a lot of great discussions. I am given the opportunity to explain the ‘why’ behind our decisions,” Mundy says.

An example of Mundy’s commitment is when we brought on the E175 aircraft and there were differences between the Q and E galleys so mock galleys were created. She took it upon herself to provide over 20 flight attendants one-on-one training on the jet. She helped film videos to explain service expectations, and often stayed long hours to ensure the training was in place to make our employees successful while aiming to deliver award-winning service to our guests.

“No one had to tell Mandy what needed to be done. She knew the destination needed to be reached and found a path to get there. She truly is a Pathfinder,” said Matt Prainito, VP of Horizon Air station and inflight operations.

Leading the way to help others is a theme in Mundy’s life. A self-described horse-lover, she founded a nonprofit organization for mounted search and rescue. She also recently welcomed a baby girl to her household.

Mundy truly loves her job, because she loves people, especially the flight attendants she supports.

“They are incredible, stepping up to the task at hand and willing to adjust to everything that keeps coming at us as we navigate COVID-19.,” says Mundy. “My heart goes out to all those that have essential roles—but flight attendants, they are my true heroes in this pandemic.”

Hawaii welcomes you back and to malama (care for) the Aloha State

Hawaii is eager to welcome visitors to paradise. Starting Oct. 15, Hawaii’s pre-travel testing program will allow anyone entering the state who tests negative for COVID-19 in advance to bypass the current two-week mandatory quarantine (details below).

Test or no test, it’s important to visit safely and thoughtfully. Everyone is invited to experience the destination on a deeper level—connecting with the community, its culture and taking care of each other and the land itself. 

Malama: take care of yourself and Hawaii.

Malama, meaning “to nurture” or “care for,”  is a core value of the Hawaiian culture, and it relates to preserving the land and taking care of all those living there as well. As tourism starts to recover, the islands encourage travelers to be open-minded and respectful of Hawaii’s beauty and leave with a better understanding of what it means to care for the earth, each other and ourselves.

“We believe our visitors care about perpetuating the uniqueness of this place,” explains Jay Talwar, chief marketing officer at the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (which is part of the Hawaii Tourism Authority). “If even a small portion of Hawaii travelers took part in such activities, the effect would be enormous.”

Here’s how you can help:

  • Fly to Hawaii with either a negative COVID-19 state-approved test or prepare to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival. Learn more.
  • Follow the state’s recommendations to stay safe while in the islands (wear a mask, social distance etc.).
  • Be alert at all times in or near the water, don’t take the sea for granted. Avoid turning your back on the waves. If you or others in your party are not an experienced ocean swimmer, select beaches with lifeguards.
  • Exercise good-judgment when hiking in the islands like carrying essential gear, check the weather and be watchful that you only enter lands that are open to you and respect the landscape and its history.
  • Seek experiences that enhance your knowledge of natural and cultural history. Try booking a tour to hike hillsides to learn about Hawaii Island’s volcanoes or the history of local sugar cane farming on Maui and more.

Fly to Hawaii

Starting Oct. 15, Hawaii will allow travelers from out-of-state to proceed without the 14-day quarantine if they test negative for COVID-19 before they arrive in the islands.

Travelers who are five years of age and older must be tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of your departure flight to Hawaii. Only test results from trusted testing partners approved by the Hawaii Department of Health will be accepted.

Guests can enjoy a safe and relaxing flight to the islands thanks to Alaska’s Next-Level Care, which has more than 100 different ways we’re preventing the spread of COVID-19, including mandatory masks, enhanced cleanings between flights, electrostatic disinfectant spray and more.

Alaska is offering you convenient and reliable testing options.

We’re making it simple and easy for our guests by providing testing options that guarantee turnaround times for results within the state’s required 72-hour timeframe. All tests meet the requirements of the State of Hawaii’s pre-travel testing program.

  • We’re partnering with Carbon Health to offer rapid COVID-19 testing in pop-up clinics — starting in Seattle on Oct. 12, 2020, and expanding in the coming weeks as we resume nonstop service to Hawaii from other cities on the West Coast.
  • We’re also working with Bartell Drugs to offer PCR-based COVID-19 testing at select locations in Seattle, with guaranteed results within 72 hours.

Learn more about flying to Hawaii here.

 

Everything you need to know before you go to Hawaii 

Updated Oct. 12, 2020. Originally posted Sept. 22, 2020

Starting Oct. 15, Hawaii will welcome back visitors with its pre-travel testing program, allowing travelers from out-of-state to proceed without the 14-day quarantine if they test negative for COVID-19 before they arrive in the islands.

Here’s what you need to know before you go:

You must test negative within 72 hours of traveling to Hawaii.

Starting Oct. 15, travelers will not be subject to a 14-day quarantine if they can provide a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their travel—this applies to travelers of age five and older. If the test result is not available once you arrive in Hawaii, visitors will need to remain in quarantine until they get the result. All tests must meet the requirements of the State of Hawaii’s pre-travel testing program.

The test MUST meet state requirements.

The state of Hawaii will ONLY accept test results from trusted testing and travel partners including: AFC Urgent Care, Bartell Drugs, Carbon Health, CityHealth Urgent Care, Color, CVS Health, Discovery Health MD, Kaiser Permanente, Quest Diagnostics, Vault Health and Walgreens. The test must be an FDA-authorized nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), performed using a nasal swab and processed by a CLIA-certified laboratory. Learn more.

Alaska is offering safe and reliable testing options.

To help guests prepare for travel to the islands, we’re partnering with Carbon Health and Bartell Drugs to offer COVID-19 testing clinics — starting in Seattle on Oct. 12, 2020, and expanding locations in the coming weeks. For more information, including how to schedule an appointment and pricing visit alaskaair.com/hawaii-bound.

No test? Pass go. Head straight to quarantine.

Without a test, both residents and visitors, arriving from out-of-state to Hawaii are still subject to a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine, which is in effect for all islands served by Alaska Airlines. Here’s what quarantine means in Hawaii:

  • It means no leaving your designated self-quarantine location for any reason—except for medical emergencies or to seek medical care.
  • Food must be delivered at your own expense, so no sit down dinners at local spots or trips to the grocery store.
  • Vacation rentals are not permitted as a quarantine location.
  • Failure to follow this order is a misdemeanor and punishable by a maximum fine of $5,000 and/or 1-year imprisonment.

Prepare for a temperature check at landing + your return flight.

Upon arrival, travelers will also have their temperature checked and will be required to have completed a travel & health form that includes your length of stay and return flight confirmation.

Fly Alaska to Hawaii.

On Nov. 1, Alaska’s nonstop service to Hawaii will resume from Portland, Oregon; San Jose, California; and San Diego, California. Hawaii service will begin from Anchorage, Alaska and Los Angeles on Nov. 20. Book your next trip today!

For more information, visit hawaiicovid19.com/travel.

Alliance countdown: Alaska joins oneworld in six months

Alaska enters a new frontier in six months. On March 31, 2021, for the first time in our 88-year history, we’ll become a member of a global airline alliance: oneworld.

“Every airline has pivotal moments in its history. Decisions that are made for future success and stability, and to provide increased service and a better travel experience for its customers. oneworld offers us those opportunities,” said Nat Pieper, Alaska’s senior vice president of fleet, finances and alliances. “We are officially joining a family with some of the best airlines in the world. The possibilities are tremendous.”

There’s a huge amount of complicated work that’s being done behind-the-scenes at Alaska to meet our aggressive deadline. Changes are required to every one of our major systems so they can ‘talk’ to each oneworld member airline, and ensure we have a smooth and seamless guest experience.

It’s a lot of effort, but we believe it’s worth it:

  • oneworld further opens the world to our guests with more than 1,000 global destinations. You’ll fly more easily from Boise to Beijing or Portland to Prague. We’re already Global Partners with six oneworld members which include American Airlines, British Airways, Japan Airlines and Qantas, but soon we’ll add seven new partners under the alliance umbrella including Iberia and Qatar Airways.
  • Connectivity becomes easier with oneworld as our network (especially strong on the West Coast) supports the major, long-haul international flying of our fellow member airlines.
  • With our award-winning Mileage Plan program, our guests will be able to accrue and redeem miles across the oneworld global network.
  • For our elite travelers, oneworld prides itself on providing a consistent, high quality guest experience across the alliance. Status with us means status with oneworld and its 13 member airlines. This includes access to oneworld member airlines’ lounges when traveling internationally, priority check-in, access to preferred and pre-reserved seats, priority boarding and many other benefits. This key improvement to our guest experience will help us compete with our bigger U.S. rivals who offer their own global network.
  • oneworld also boosts the visibility of the Alaska brand. Being a member of a prestigious global alliance will help us be better known around North America – and around the world.

As spring begins next year, the famous blue orb of oneworld will find its home across our airline. It’ll be on employee name tags; in our airport lobbies, ticket stands and gate areas; in our guest emails, in advertisements, on our billboards; and positioned on our aircraft.

Also, you might be wondering about our partnerships with our current Global Partners that are not a part of oneworld. We value the benefits those partnerships provide our guests, and we’ll continue to maintain them as long as it’s mutually beneficial to do so.

8 ways Alaska Airlines is committed to making travel more accessible

Photo taken by Ingrid Barrentine in 2019.

Alaska Airlines aims to make flying and our workplace accessible for everyone. We recognize there’s always room for improvement and continue work to create equal opportunities for our guests and employees with disabilities in the following ways:

1. Building a better future with employee ACCESS business resource group

For nearly a decade, Alaska’s business resource group ACCESS has helped promote inclusive and accessible programs and services for employees and guests with disabilities. Since its founding, ACCESS has helped with countless accessibility related changes and events that have benefited our guests and employees. ACCESS has also helped Alaska continue being a great place to work by promoting diversity & inclusion and respecting people for their differences.

2. Learning and listening from guests and experts on Alaska’s Disability Advisory Board

Gary Peterson

Alaska’s Disability Advisory Board is made up of people from outside the company, who have disabilities and vast experience in disability advocacy. Since 2018, the board has provided recommendations to create more inclusive training, policies and procedures within the company to improve travel experiences of people with disabilities, including our Next-Level Care efforts to combat COVID-19.

“We need numerous people with disabilities to advise us,” said Gary Peterson, a recent retiree and former supervisor of line maintenance. “Disabilities are very diverse, and people with even the same disability have different experiences. I have a mobility disability, so I understand what that means. With other disabilities, I may have empathy for what they go through, but I can’t totally understand until I have to live with it every day.”

3. Easing travel anxiety with technology & relaxing remedies

Last year, Alaska launched a free app in the Apple Store and Google Play called “Fly for All.” Designed for first-time flyers, unaccompanied minors and those with cognitive and developmental disabilities, including autism, the app is designed to help ease the anxiety of air travel by walking guests through the steps they’ll follow when getting ready to fly. Since its creation, the app has been downloaded by over 20,000 people.

On a related note, if guests are overwhelmed while flying they can enjoy relaxing remedies like our free Headspace meditation sessions via Alaska’s onboard entertainment or calming lavender scented EO sanitizing wipes which are a couple ways we’re providing Next-Level Care to our everyone onboard.

4. Offering accessible travel options

While Alaska recognizes guests are experts when it comes to their needs, our employees are there to assist every step of the way from boarding, in the air and anywhere in between. We offer many accessible travel services and accommodations to make travel easier, which can be found on alaskaair.com.

5. Organizing airport, flight tours for families in the autism community

Alaska employees come together every year in various cities around the country to offer guests with cognitive and developmental disabilities including autism and their families the chance to go through the steps of air travel in a realistic, relaxed environment without ever leaving the airport.

Photo taken by Ingrid Barrentine at an event last year.

During October, which is Disability Employment Awareness Month, we partner with airports and disability partners to offer unique guided tours that cover the check-in and security process, to waiting at the gate area and boarding an Alaska aircraft. Wings for Autism in Washington and Ability to Fly in California and others in Oregon and Alaska are temporarily on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

6. Traveling with a trained emotional support animal or service animal

Alaska routinely collaborates with Guide Dogs for the Blind and Canine Companions for Independence to provide airport access for puppies in training, partners with the Paralyzed Veterans of America to improve employee education for the proper handling of guests’ mobility devices, and is working with Open Doors Org, United Spinal Association, to increase the hiring of individuals with disabilities and provide inclusive travel experiences for our guests with disabilities.

7. Making travel almost entirely touch-free

With hygiene and safety concerns top of mind, we’ve made it easy for your travels to be almost entirely touch-free. With the Alaska mobile app, you can check in for your flight, generate a mobile boarding pass and so much more. Plus, our improved technology will soon allow us to scan boarding passes up to six feet apart, print bag tags without touching the check-in kiosk and purchase food and beverages on board using your stored payment preference.

8. Always open to feedback

We are dedicated to providing convenient and comfortable service for all our guests. If you have concerns regarding discrimination, accommodations, or services for any guests with disabilities we welcome you to directly share your feedback with us.

Related:

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month year-round with these eats, sights & flights

Photo by Ingrid Barrentine taken in Isla Ixtapa, Mexico.

Now and always, we honor the Hispanic, Latinx, and Latino-identified communities and their tremendous impact on our country. Below are some of our favorite destinations that embody, contribute to and are influenced by Hispanic culture year-round.

Alaska Airlines has a long history of flying to Latin America, starting with the launch of service to Mexico more than 30 years ago — with routes to Cancun, Guadalajara, Loreto, Los Cabos, Manzanillo, Mazatlán, Puerto Vallarta and Zihuatanejo. You can also discover the Caribbean and other parts of the world via our Global Partners, including American Airlines that flies to more than 50 Spanish-speaking destinations including the Dominican Republic, Central and South America.

You can use or earn miles on Alaska for traveling to your favorite worldwide destinations—and book with peace of mind knowing we’ve permanently eliminated change fees and are bringing you Next-Level Care.

So go ahead and take that trip you’ve always dreamed about. Here are some places to keep in mind:

El Paso

“Animo Sin Fronteras” Mural by El Mac | Photo by Federico Villalba

Eats: Enjoy authentic Mexican culinary experience—whatever you do, order the sopapillas.
Sights: Hotel Indigo is a dream location for Instagrammers. This boutique hotel offers some quirky and hip things that you can document with pictures. Animo Sin Fronteras is a giant “Courage Without Borders” mural that pays homage to the Mexican influence in El Paso. If you’re looking for some outdoorsy splendor, the Chihuahuan Desert or the Rio Grande are also a must-see, don’t forget sunscreen & water!
Flights: Fly to El Paso

San Antonio

Photo by Ingrid Barrentine.

San Antonio is a city of deep roots and vibrant culture, located in the heart of South Texas.
Eats: From River Walk favorites to family-owned restaurants, San Antonio’s timeless classics and modern takes on Mexican and Latin American food keep visitors coming back for more. Get ready for flavor & fun!
Sights: Mission San Antonio de Valero, better known as the Alamo—what remains of the oldest mission is one of the most-visited sites in the state and is easily the most sacred.
Flights: Fly to San Antonio

San Diego

Eats: San Diego’s cuisine is a delicious Cali-Baja blend of fresh-inspired ingredients combined with traditional Mexican style eats. At the iconic Barrio Logan eatery Las Cuatro Milpas, locals line up for authentic homestyle Mexican food and freshly made tortillas.
Sights: The outdoor murals at Chicano Park are home to the largest collection of Chicano murals in the U.S., it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2017. Latinx influences can be discovered through the region’s colorful neighborhoods and don’t miss stopping by Latinx and Hispanic owned businesses while in San Diego.
Flights: Fly to San Diego

Los Angeles


In a city where Latinos are nearly 50% of the population according to the U.S. Census, there is certainly much to celebrate.
Eats: A stop at Cielito Lindo is a must. Since 1934, the stand has served up freshly made, mouth-watering taquitos with avocado sauce. Appease your sweet tooth with the chocolate-filled churros.
Sights: El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument is historical, but it’s vibrant draw is Olvera Street, a brick-paved colorful walkthrough that serves as the setting for a lively Mexican-style market to find food, handicrafts like pottery, leather goods, masks, and folk art.
Flights: Fly to Los Angeles

New York

With vibrant neighborhoods, world-class museums, authentic dining experiences, exciting stays and more to safely explore visitors & New Yorkers have lots to enjoy in the five boroughs to celebrate Hispanic Heritage.
Eats: Grab a bite at the Zona de Cuba, a Cuban restaurant offering delicious and authentic food like vaca frita and ropa vieja.
Sights: Wander East Harlem, or “El Barrio” and check out El Museo to see Puerto Rican, Caribbean, and Latin American art.
Flights: Fly to New York

Costa Rica

Tucked into Central America, Costa Rica is packed with stunning tropical rainforests, epic beaches and things to do.
Eats: Seafoodies can eat it up at the Vargas family’s marisquería restaurant. For more than three decades the seafood eatery has offered fresh fish, tropical drinks and cold brews right on the beach. No visit is complete without arroz con mariscos (seafood rice), featuring the day’s catch or the raw ceviche de chuchecas (blood clams) paired with a shrimp cocktail.
Sights: There is no festival in Costa Rica that takes place without a nod to its agricultural heritage, horses and cowboys are ubiquitous to the culture. Take a ride for yourself to see some pretty breathtaking views!
Flights: Fly to Costa Rica

Miami

Miami is home to one of the largest melting pots of Latin and Caribbean culture in the U.S.
Eats: Satisfy your snackable cravings and more at some of the best Spanish restaurants in Miami. Looking for some traditional tapas? Bulla’s bar serves up a buzzy, trendy vibe with deliciosa gourmet tapas and craft cocktails.
Sights: Wander and enjoy Latin activity as downtown’s Flagler Street, the unavoidable Elián González house, and Little Havana’s Domino Park and Tower Theatre, among others.
Flights: Fly to New York

Chicago

Eats: Chicago doesn’t just have deep dish pizza. It’s also known for excellent Mexican cuisine that includes traditional favorites and new fusion flavors.
Sights: The windy city also has vibrant Latino communities such as Pilsen, Little Village and Humboldt Park. That’s where you’ll find top cultural institutions like the National Museum of Mexican Art and colorful street art by renowned Hispanic artists.
Flights: Fly to Chicago

If you have a favorite place that we missed, we’d love to hear from you, comment below!

Captain Mike tells everyone he flies with ‘This is your airline. It’s yours to take care of.’

Photos by Ingrid Barrentine.

Captain Mike Baumgartner set out to join Alaska Airlines in the early 1980s. He’d gotten his pilot training as a teenager and spent time in Alaska flying fish from Dry Bay to Yakutat in DC-3s.

Looking for a chance to join what he felt was ‘the best airline in the business’ he put in his resume at Alaska Airlines. After several tries, he finally got an interview, but says he was so nervous he thought he failed. Only after the hiring manager stood up to dismiss him did finally relax and let his true personality shine through. They ended up talking for another hour and a half, and Mike got the job. That was February 1984.

Capt. Mike Baumgartner

Baumgartner’s been sharing his zest for flying with Alaska over 30 years now and continues to raise the bar for his fellow pilots.

When Captain Mike Baumgartner learned he won the Alaska Airlines most prestigious customer service award, he was so grateful he bought lunch—for the entire back office. Management employees remember that day last summer when pizza, after pizza arrived in the foyer of Corporate Headquarters, with Capt. Mike serving it up with a smile.

“It’s his positive attitude every single day, flying the airplane, working with crews, working with our passengers,” said Capt. Scott Day, system chief pilot. “That’s what makes him special.”

He’s been known to grab a vacuum, cross seatbelts and even get down into the wheel well to get a flight out.

CEO Brad Tilden, who wrote about Baumgartner in Alaska’s Beyond inflight magazine said, “Mike’s a pilot’s pilot. He has flown a ton over his career, but he has also made his voice and his leadership count to help us move our culture forward.”

In addition to his job in the flight deck, Baumgartner has facilitated employee workshops; he’s volunteered at Aviation Days and countless other activities; and even represented employees as an ambassador on Wall Street.

With just over two years until he reaches pilot retirement age, Baumgartner admits he’s getting a bit nostalgic.

“I love this place.” he says. “I tell everyone I fly with, ‘This is your airline. It’s yours to take care of.’”

Feel Good Friday: Our guests applaud Next-Level Care, wish farewell to employees

Photo by Ingrid Barrentine.

There’s no flying around it; we’re living through some turbulent times that challenge us daily, from the way Alaska Airlines’ operates to the size of our company. But no matter what, one thing we can always count on is living our core value of kind-heartedness.

By caring for our guest’s safety and shedding tears of gratitude for one another, our kindness shines through messages from our guests and people. Check out some of our favorite posts below.

Alaska’s Care is Next-Level.

As our guests face the world, we want to make sure they’re doing it safely, and travelers are taking notice.

Rapid COVID testing: A partnership our Hawaii-bound guests will ‘lava’ lot.

Earlier this week, we announced that as Hawaii welcomes back visitors on Oct. 15, we will be working with local clinics to offer rapid COVID-19 testing for outbound guests, starting in Seattle. And well, it was conch shell music to our guests’ ears.

Guest comment: Is there any doubt as to why I love you, Alaska Airlines? We had to cancel three (re)scheduled trips this year and have decided to just wait until next year. But THANK YOU for arranging this!!

Bittersweet farewells to employees: Thank you for your service and dedication

This week, we said goodbye to those who are leaving Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air. Though none of us wanted this to be our reality, COVID-19 has significantly changed the travel industry and our airline. Alaska and Horizon guests and employees wished those leaving the company bittersweet farewells and thanked all who have sacrificed, so that we can rebuild and have promising futures.

 

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I cried at work yesterday. Again. Watching @alaskaair Captain Lee Erickson and wife Brenda, an Alaska flight attendant, turn in their wings early due to the fallout from the devastating effects of COVID-19 on the airline industry. The couple, who met at work, and raised their three children to love the aviation life, took early retirement in part to save their kids’ jobs. Their daughter is an Alaska flight attendant, and son is a pilot, and the third born? He is in flight school. Captain Erickson was able to fly his last flight with his son as first officer. The flight from Dallas was met in Seattle by extended family and several peers. Needless to say, I wasn’t the only one with shining eyes. The six months that have passed since our lives were turned upside down have been hard for so many. But I feel most deeply for my friends in the aviation industry. I know this time will eventually only live in our memories, but I must emphatically say. “THIS IS HARD.” #travel #aviation #avgeek #avitioncouple #aviationcareer #iflyalaska #iamalaska #pilot #flightattendant

A post shared by Ingrid Barrentine (@ingridbarrentine) on

On his last flight, Captain Barton Bennett wrote a letter to everyone onboard.

Don’t get grounded! Make sure your ID is ready to fly in 2021

Let’s try this again! On Oct. 1, 2021, every air traveler will need to present a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, or other acceptable form of identification, to fly within the United States.

The original deadline of Oct. 1, 2020 was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so guests can breathe easier now that they have some extra time.

The REAL ID Act is a federal law.

If you like to use your driver’s license as your main identification to get through TSA security checkpoints at the airport, it’s crucial to make sure it’ll be REAL ID-compliant and ready to fly starting Oct. 1, 2021.
To get flyers ready for this significant transition, we’re providing a resource for our guests, employees and the public to get the latest information about REAL ID and its fast-approaching changes. It’s found on the Alaska Airlines website at alaskaair.com/REALID.

Here are some key things to know:

  • Beginning Oct. 1, 2021, your driver’s license will need to be REAL ID-compliant if you want to use it to fly within the U.S. It’s part of a law passed by Congress. If your license is not compliant, and you don’t have another acceptable form of ID, you’ll have trouble getting through airport security.
  • State licensing agencies and motor vehicle departments are expecting long lines and wait times in the months leading up to October 2021. If you want your driver’s license to be REAL ID-compliant, now’s the perfect time to make the upgrade because the rush is coming. Why not check this off your list now?
  • REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and the processes to get them are different state to state, which can be confusing. In most cases, you’ll need to bring additional documentation to get a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, and you might even need to make an appointment. A few states, like Oregon, have not yet begun to distribute REAL ID-compliant licenses, so residents should refer to their state licensing agency or motor vehicle department websites for details and plan accordingly.
  • Many states identify their REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses with a gold star in the upper right corner, which indicates they’ll be ready to use at airport security checkpoints starting Oct. 1, 2021. But some states, such as Washington, do not use gold stars for REAL ID-compliant licenses.
  • You do have a choice. If you want to fly after Oct. 1, 2021, with other acceptable identification – for example, your U.S. passport or a U.S. military ID – you can do that instead. Just remember to bring that ID to the airport.

Some states, like California, mark their REAL-ID-compliant licenses with a star. Other states, like Washington, do not. (Samples provided by state motor vehicle departments)

“We always want our guests to have the best possible travel experience with us and at the airport,” says Wayne Newton, vice president of airport operations and customer service at Alaska Airlines. “We want to do everything we can to help spread the word about the upcoming changes with federal laws taking effect, and how our customers can get prepared.”

Click on the state where you live to find out more on how to get a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license:

Alabama
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FAQ

Refresh my memory. What exactly is the REAL ID Act?

Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005 in an effort to strengthen identification rules at airports. The act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver licenses. Under the law, state driver licenses and ID cards have to be issued only to people who can prove they are legally living in the United States. If state licenses don’t meet the standards, then federal agencies – such as the TSA – will not accept them.

So what happens in October 2021 if I show up at the airport with my standard driver license as my only ID?

You’ll be turned away and not allowed to go through a TSA checkpoint if you don’t have another form of approved identification. And you’ll miss your flight.

So when do the rules actually change?

Currently, the DHS has indicated the enforcement of the REAL ID Act starts on October 1, 2021. At that point, standard driver licenses issued by some states – such as Washington – will not be accepted by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) at U.S. airports. TSA will accept enhanced driver licenses, since they have established your identity and U.S. citizenship.

Am I required to get a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license?

No, it’s up to you to decide what’s best for your travel needs. You can use a current U.S. passport or a U.S. military ID at the airport to get through TSA security after Oct. 1, 2021, just like you can right now. Just remember to bring it. Having a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license is convenient for many of us because it’s something we always carry with us. Other acceptable forms of identification is found here.

Mother and father turn in their wings early, with the next generation in mind

When the Erickson family gets together for the holidays, the conversations go straight to schedules, layovers, trip pairings and which city has the best happy hour.  It’s not that the large family intends to “talk shop” at the family dinner table, it’s because five of them work for Alaska Airlines.

Dad, Lee Erickson, is a captain. Mom, Brenda, is a flight attendant, as is daughter Sidney and uncle Wade. Oldest son, Kalin, is a first officer and youngest son Keaton did an internship with Alaska Airlines and is now finishing flight school.

Together, the Erickson family flew on Lee’s retirement flight on Monday, Sept. 28 , from Dallas to Seattle.

Slideshow through the years

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The right thing to do

You could say that Alaska Airlines and flying is deep-rooted in the Erickson family tree.

That is, until recently. With the world impacted by COVID-19 and most airlines, including Alaska, forced to downsize, Lee and Brenda decided to turn in their wings early, taking retirement after 36 years of service. The decision came after several late nights of agonizing back-and-forth discussions.  But in the end, they knew it was the right thing to do to help protect their children’s jobs.

“Alaska has provided us with careers filled with life-long memories,” Lee says. “Now, I hope it does the same for our two kids and their peers. Leaving gives them a better chance.”

Her parents’ sacrifice struck Sidney Erickson as an example of how that generation of employees at Alaska Airlines are choosing to end their careers early to give back to the younger generation. And, she imagines there are many other stories like her parents’ worth telling.

Watch Seattle salute Captain Lee and his son on Lee’s retirement flight:

Building an airline people love, all comes back to family

Growing up, the Ericksons were the quintessential Alaska family.

“I truly think we had no idea any other airline existed until we were much older,” Sidney admits.  They weathered the storms and rejoiced in the sunshine as Alaska’s history was woven into their own family stories.

Lee hugs his daughter in the gate area of Sea-Tac after flying his last Alaska flight.

Among the memories was the chance to fly together. “I had the pleasure of flying with both of my parents, even getting to do my flight deck observation with my dad,” Sidney says. “There is no better feeling than seeing someone you love take pride in their job.”

Kalin echoed that sentiment, having been able to right-seat for his dad with his mom in the cabin. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be able to fly with both of my parents,” Kalin says.

Lee and Brenda’s dream (long before COVID) was to arrange a flight with an entire “Erickson crew,” but it never happened.  Brenda didn’t even realize that the last time she was on an aircraft would be her last flight, as she had taken a leave of absence in March.

“Retirement was always the end game culminating a long career,” Lee says, “But COVID changed everything. I really didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to so many co-workers who have touched our family’s lives.”

Lee flew his last flight on Monday, Sept. 28, from Dallas to Seattle. Kalin joined him, as first officer.

Lee and son Kalin.

Life lessons from mom and dad

The Erickson kids remain grateful to their parents, and to other employees who are taking early outs and leaves to help the airline.  They know there are no guarantees, but as they move forward to what’s next in their careers, they hold fast to the lessons their parents taught them.

“My mom has always said what a privilege it is that every day when you get to work you have the ability to make someone’s life better by making their day better,” Sidney says. “And my dad always said to give your colleagues your respect and always be kind. They will repay you in the same currency.”

Lee and Brenda are excited at the prospect of a new adventure. They plan to ease into retirement in their motorhome, traveling the U.S. and visiting national parks.

“It’ll be a change for sure,” Brenda says, as their hearts will remain with their airline and their kids.

Alaska Strong

Many of our employees, like Brenda and Lee, have voluntarily taken early retirements or leaves of absence so the company could save as many jobs as possible.

At Alaska, each and every furlough represents a career and a life that has been disrupted by the pandemic. Since March, 720 people volunteered for early outs or early retirements and another 4,468 have taken voluntary leaves or other furlough mitigation.

Every bit helps, and we are so thankful for those who participated in these voluntary programs – every volunteer saved a job of a fellow employee. The strength of Alaska Airlines is its people and like the Erickson family, our people are showing the world what it means to be Alaska Strong.

A latte coffee recipes you’ll enjoy on the fly or at-home

Photos by Ingrid Barrentine

While it still isn’t possible to cozy up in cafés, there are still *safe* ways to get your favorite cup of coffee—by either stopping by Alaska Airlines Lounges or making it yourself at home!

Alaska Lounge Barista Naomi says her favorite drink to make is the Mocha because “they smell so good!”

Brewing the perfect cup is all about sweetness, strength and temperature—and a perfectly sprinkled plane on top. Our favorite brew is Starbucks (of course), served on all our flights and in our Lounges. Currently, Alaska Lounges in Anchorage, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle Concourse D & N are open with guidelines in place to ensure your comfort and safety. Expect to see our commitment to Next-Level Care on your next visit.

To celebrate International Coffee Day, we asked our Lounges for the recipes behind some of our favorite brews, check out the picks below:

But first, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Hot or cold water
  • Coffee beans (grounded)—We brew our hometown favorite Starbucks coffee in our Lounges and onboard our aircraft.
  • Milk—We offer half-n-half, 2%, non-fat, almond and soy.
  • Syrup (optional)—We love the classics: Vanilla, Sugar-Free Vanilla, Cinnamon Dolce and Hazelnut. We also offer Chocolate, Caramel and Pumpkin Spice syrups. As we move into the holidays, we will add Peppermint too!
  • Ice (if you’re going for an iced latte)

Hot or iced Latte:

Lattes are made with espresso, steamed milk and milk foam.
Recipe
1) Add flavor (if any). If you’re feeling fall try pouring a dash (1 tbsp or so) of pumpkin spice syrup.
2) Steam milk — little bit of foam.
3) Pull shots.
4) Add 1 shot to cup.
5) Pour steamed milk.
6) Spoon about a little foam on top.
7) Pour in the ice (if making an iced latte)
8) Sprinkle on any toppings (if any).

Americano

An Americano is made by adding hot water to espresso.
Recipe
1) Flavor first (if your heart desires)
2) Boil or start hot water.
3) Pull shots.
4) Add 1 shot (or desired amt.) to cup.
5) Fill rest with water.
6) For an iced americano, skip the hot water/go straight with cold and add ice at the end. If you have time, first add flavor then shots and let it sit in the fridge for 5-min then fill the rest with water.

Cappuccino

Caps are very similar to lattes, but have a greater percentage of foamed milk to steamed milk.
Recipe
1) Add flavor (if desired).
2) Steam milk — extra foamy.
3) Pull shots.
4) Add shot(s) to cup.
5) Pour steamed milk.
6) Spoon about an inch of foam on top.

Caramel Macchiato

Macchiatos have no steamed milk added to the espresso, but a little cap of milk foam.
Recipe
1) Two pumps vanilla.
2) Steam milk — extra foamy.
3) Pull shots.
4) Pour steamed milk (remember to leave room for shots).
5) Spoon about an inch of foam on top.
6) Add shot(s) to cup.
7) Swirl caramel sauce on top of foam.

Mocha

Simply put: the mocha is short for a “mocha latte” or a “caffe mocha,” which is just a regular latte with chocolate syrup added to it.
Recipe
1) Two pumps of chocolate sauce.
2) Steam milk — little bit of foam.
3) Pull shots.
4) Add shot(s) to cup and stir with chocolate.
5) Pour steamed milk.
6) Spook about a little bit of foam on top.
7) Give it a quick stir.

Espresso

Espressos are packed with flavor, and the most concentrated form of coffee served in “shots.”
Recipe
1) Pull shots.
2) Pour both into a little cup.

Loose Leaf Tea

Recipe
1) Add 2 scoops of tea to tea steeper.
2) 10 ounces of water.
3) Steep for 2 minutes.
4) Drain into mug.

No matter where you are, we hope you enjoy a nice, relaxing cup of your favorite brew & to see you in the skies soon.

Alaska Lounge Barista Michi A.