News

5G rollout is disrupting regional air travel, here’s why

As you may have heard in the news, last week, AT&T and Verizon agreed to limit the use of 5G C-Band signals near major airports. This action was essential to avoiding a catastrophic disruption among travelers, shipping and the global supply chain and the U.S. economy. 

While we appreciate the efforts of the telecom industry and government agencies to avert the most significant impacts, the rollout of this new 5G band is still creating disruptions for regional air travel.  

In a nutshell, the new 5G C-band, when deployed within two miles of an airport, interferes with vital flight technology used to navigate aircraft during challenging weather and low visibility. As a result, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued flight restrictions that limit the ability of some aircraft to land in certain weather conditions.  

Since the agreement was reached, Alaska’s Boeing and Airbus aircraft have been cleared for low visibility landings by the FAA. However, some of our regional jets have not yet been cleared at certain airports and are still subject to restrictions on landing/takeoff during low visibility conditions (such as dense fog or winter weather) that were put in place before the agreement to limit 5G. This is causing cancellations, delays and diversions. 

To minimize the impact the FAA’s 5G-related restrictions may have on your travel, please follow these tips:   

  • Always check the status of your flight before leaving for the airport. You can do this online or on the Alaska mobile app.   
  • If your flight is impacted, manage your travel online.   
  • We are always here to help.  Text 82008 or call 1-800-252-7522 for assistance with your reservation.   

We know this situation is frustrating and disruptive to those impacted and we’re asking the government to ensure an effective, safe, reliable and sustainable solution to get all our aircraft back to normal operations.   

Take your shot in Alaska’s Seattle Kraken game

As the airline sponsor of the Seattle Kraken, we’re excited to offer fans & flyers a win-win!

Play our Seattle Kraken video game and see how much you’ll save on your next flight. Plus, you’ll be entered for a chance to win two (2) roundtrip tickets to the destination of your choice when you share your email address.

Honoring Martin Luther King Jr. & beloved designer Adé Hogue

Designer Broderick Adé Hogue | Photos by Ingrid Barrentine

Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote, “The time is always right to do what is right,” on the side of Our Commitment aircraft is meaningful to us in more ways than one.  

It reminds us to always live our values of doing the right thing and to be kind-hearted. It also holds a special place in our hearts for the beloved artist Broderick Adé Hogue, who was taken from the world too soon. 

Known by friends and family as Adé, his memory & kind spirit will live on through his prominent lettering and prolific designs. Adé, was an incredibly talented, Chicago-based artist, letterer (someone who thoughtfully creates words and letters for design projects) and friend of the Alaska family.  

He created the typography and color palette for our special ‘Our Commitment’ aircraft last spring. Adé found inspiration for the design in Civil Rights Movement-era imagery and was a champion for social justice through his work and personal passions. The aircraft represents our joint commitment to advancing racial equity and education with our long-standing partner, UNCF

Adé made an undeniable impact on our team and will be remembered as a bright beacon of creativity, light and strength in the community. Below are remembrances from some of the people who he worked with at Alaska: 

Adé with Jonny Mack at the reveal of the Our Commitment aircraft last spring.

“I met Adé for the first time when I attended the LetterWest type conference in Salt Lake City in 2019. I was there to represent Alaska being a sponsor of the conference, but I was more excited because I was going to get to meet a lot of very creative people that I had been following on Instagram for years. Adé was one of those artists. I remember the first night Adé and some other of the event speakers were going to dinner and he invited me to come with them. He made me feel like I was a part of the crew, not just a fan boy. We spent the evening laughing and eating and over the course of the next few days I got to know him better. He was so kind and welcoming, and I knew that we would be friends. 

Fast forward a year and a half later and I am tasked with creating the design for Alaska’s Our Commitment aircraft. I instantly knew that I needed to have Adé’s talent and voice on this project. We got to work together over the next few months sharing ideas and files back and forth. It was awesome to see him put his special talents into action.

The coolest moment was when we finally walked into the hangar together and got to see the aircraft in person for the first time. We both had tears in our eyes. We got to spend a lot of time talking to each other about the design and how meaningful it was. We heard from the students represented on the plane and their families about the impact we made through our designs. It was just a very special moment that he and I got to share together and one that I will remember for the rest of my life.” – Jonny Mack, marketing design manager. 

“Adé had a magical way of bringing joy into every room or on your screen. I had the pleasure of first meeting him virtually to chat about the design for our blog. He said it was probably the biggest canvas he’d ever worked on, and the hardest part was the plane windows. I’ll never forget seeing his smile when the hangar doors opened as he finally locked eyes on the plane—he stood in awe of it for a while and seemed blown away—we all were—he also liked how the windows split between the lettering he designed.  

Most importantly, I’ll never forget the advice and lessons he taught me in such a short time. He was so enthusiastic about life—specifically about trying new things and focusing on what made him most happy. I assumed it was artwork, but he laughed
that ‘art was his job and wasn’t something he did in his spare time’ it was actually cycling. He said he loved riding his bike around the city—as a former Chicagoan myself, who loved her beach cruiser, I couldn’t agree more. His wisdom to ‘always follow your heart and do what makes you happy’ continues to carry me through the joys and challenges in life. It’s tragic losing such a sweet soul but it gives peace knowing he was doing what made him genuinely happy.” – Ali Garbino, media & content manager. 

Adé grew up in North Carolina and specialized in “lettering,” or working with words and letters in design projects. He taught at DePaul University and lectured on his craft at numerous conferences and colleges. His work has been featured with Alaska, Target, Mercedes, Facebook and more. 

“I will forever remember him at the Our Commitment Plane reveal, silently taking in the crowd’s overwhelming reaction with the biggest smile and tears in his eyes. It was a powerful moment—you could feel that this was more than another art project for him. We owe an insurmountable amount of gratitude to Adé for his work and vision for this beautiful aircraft. I promise, as I have since I heard of his passing, to pause every time I see the Our Commitment and remember this brilliant light gone too soon.” – Cailee Lyngaas, media relations manager. 

“I’ve never been more proud of a collaboration of such epic proportions. Adé was the most wonderful human who created the bold and impactful typography on the Our Commitment aircraft and his sudden passing reminds us all how fragile life is and to hug your loved ones tight. I’m hopeful Alaska will continue to honor what Adé’s words represent and to do the right thing for many years to come.” – Ingrid Barrentine, marketing photographer. 

“Adé is an incredibly talented and beautiful soul taken from the world far too soon. What brings some peace is knowing that his memory will live on for all of us and our guests through his amazing work on the Our Commitment aircraft. Every time we see that beautiful aircraft on the ground or in the sky, we can take a moment to stop and remember him, his smile, and how he touched us all.”- Tiffany Dehaan, MD culture learning & inclusion. 

Tributes to Adé and donations continue to pour in via the GoFundMe page his family and friends set up shortly after he was involved in a tragic cycling accident in Chicago. Alaska will be making a donation to the foundation his family is creating in honor of him.  

In an Instagram post in April last year, Adé shared how he was proud to check off one of his biggest bucket list items and looked forward to seeing the gorgeous plane grace the skies for the next decade. We couldn’t agree more with that and are honored to fly his typography & Martin Luther King Jr.’s words for many years to come.  

Our deepest sympathies go out to Adé’s family and friends. May they find peace and comfort knowing he left an undeniably beautiful mark on this earth.

Resetting for the new year

Looking back on 2021, one thing remains certain—we’re grateful for every person who packed a bag, wore a mask and had a seat on our aircraft. And for every employee in our operation who shouldered every twist and turn along the way – thank you.

Since the pandemic began, we’ve overcome some of the greatest challenges in our 90-year history. Despite our preparation, including increasing staff and preparing for snow, this was among the most difficult holidays many of us have experienced at Alaska. Unfortunately, last week, winter weather coupled with the impact of the omicron variant on staffing levels caused significant operational challenges. We know you expect the highest standard of care when you fly Alaska. We apologize for the considerable inconvenience and are using the lessons we learned to improve.

As we look ahead to the new year, we are working hard to return to the level of service you know and expect from us while operating safely. Here are just a few things to expect from us in the coming weeks:

We’re reducing our schedule. 

As we have entered 2022, the continued impacts of omicron have been disruptive in all our lives and unprecedented levels of sick calls have impacted our ability to operate our airline reliably. As a result, we are proactively thinning our schedule and reducing departures by about 10% through the end of January. This will give us the time and space we need to build back more reliability into our operation, while continued flexible travel policies will enable our guests to adjust their plans accordingly.

If your travel is impacted, we’ll make every attempt to reschedule you on the next available flight and will try to notify you with as much notice as possible before you head to the airport.

Canceling a flight is always our last resort and we understand how frustrating it can be, especially when many of us have important trips or are eager to connect with friends & family.

We’re committed to Next-Level Care. 

The safety of our guests and employees always comes first, and we want you to feel great about booking a flight with us. Our commitment to Next-Level Care means we’re always maintaining the highest level of safety throughout your travels—from booking and boarding to day-of travel and beyond. Learn more.

We’re finding ways to show how much we care. 

We know we are at our best when we are safe, reliable and caring. We will learn from these challenges, improve where we must and make this year as great as we possibly can for each of you, your families and for Alaska Air Group as a whole.  

With gratitude to everyone who flies with us and the people who make it possible—we look forward to taking care of you on board soon.

Guidance for travel plans as weather improves in the PNW

 

Guidance for travel plans as weather improves in the PNW 

If your travel plans to or from Seattle were interrupted over the last week, we sincerely apologize for the considerable inconvenience and understandable frustration.  

Heading into the weekend, as we get airplanes and crews back into place, we’ve pre-canceled 86 flights operating on Friday, Dec. 31, 2021 and 16 flights on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022 to/from Seattle. If your flight is affected, you will be notified via email and can check or change your flight online.  

Here’s what to do if your travel has been impacted:   

Re-book travel online (NOT at the airport).  

Our team members are working hard to enact cancels far enough in advance, so guests are notified whenever possible before arriving at the airport. We strongly encourage guests to avoid going to or staying at the airport to rebook their travel.  

The best thing to do at this moment is manage your reservation online if you’re able to do so. 

We automatically reschedule canceled flights on the next best available flight(s) to your final destination. If you are unable to reschedule your flight at this time, rest assured that we will hold the value of your ticket until you are ready to travel again.   

  • If you don’t need to travel before Jan. 2 and can extend your trip to a later date, we highly suggest adjusting your flights using our flexible travel policy.  
  • We’ve modified our flexible travel policy to include all ticket types, even non-refundable, for travel Dec. 22, 2021 – Jan. 16, 2022.   
  • Due to winter weather and canceled flights, we’re unable to fly animals in the cargo hold, unaccompanied minors, teen no-assists and teen assists into and out of Seattle through Jan. 3, 2022. 

Flights canceled? Don’t leave your bags behind.  

If your flight has been canceled and you’ve checked a bag, despite the urge to go straight to a customer service counter, please immediately claim them at the baggage carousel prior to leaving the airport.   

Our baggage service teams are working around the clock to reunite unclaimed bags with their owners. It will take a couple more days to complete this work, but our agents will contact every guest to arrange for pick-up or delivery.  

Transportation/lodging accommodation is available. 

We encourage guests waiting for their next flight to find a cozy hotel nearby or stay with friends or family until more flights can be added to the schedule.

Dec. 30

Guidance for travel plans affected by winter weather in the PNW 

Light snow fell overnight in Seattle and Portland, and a mix of snow and rain showers remain in the forecast this evening. As of 9:30 a.m. Pacific time, we’ve canceled 150 flights, as part of our plan to reduce departures by 20 percent in Seattle.  

As painful as it is to cancel flights, it allows us additional time to efficiently deice aircraft, an absolute must during winter weather like we’ve been having this week. Our team is working hard to enact cancels far enough in advance, so guests are notified whenever possible before arriving at the airport. 

In the days ahead, it’ll take time to reposition our flight crews and aircraft as we get our operations back to normal. Unfortunately, this has been the perfect storm of severe winter weather coupled with crew members and aircraft being displaced around the country and the continued impact of the omicron variant on staffing levels. As a result, guests may feel the effects throughout our network.

We deeply apologize for the impact all of this is having on our guests and are working hard to return to the level of service you know and expect from us, while operating safely.  

Here’s what to do if your travel is impacted:   

Re-book travel online (NOT at the airport).  

We strongly encourage guests to avoid going to or staying at the airport to rebook their travel.  The best thing to do at this moment is manage your reservation online

We automatically reschedule canceled flights on the next best available flight(s) to your final destination. If you are unable to reschedule your flight at this time, rest assured that we will hold the value of your ticket until you are ready to travel again.   

  • Before you head to the airport, check the status of your flight
  • If you don’t need to travel before Jan. 2 and can extend your trip to a later date, we highly suggest adjusting your flights using our flexible travel policy
  • We’ve modified our travel waiver to include all ticket types, even non-refundable, for travel Dec. 22, 2021 – Jan. 16, 2022. 
  • Due to winter weather and canceled flights, we’re unable to fly animals in the cargo hold, unaccompanied minors, teen no assists and teen assists into and out of Seattle through Jan. 3, 2022. 

Flights canceled? Don’t leave your bags behind.  

If your flight has been canceled and you’ve checked a bag, despite the urge to go straight to a customer service counter, please immediately claim them at the baggage carousel prior to leaving the airport.   

Our baggage service teams are working around the clock to reunite unclaimed bags with their owners. It will take several days to complete this work, but our agents will contact every guest to arrange for pick-up or delivery. Please make sure your contact information within your Mileage Plan account is up to date so we have the best numbers to reach you.  

Transportation/lodging accommodation is available. 

We encourage guests waiting for their next flight to find a cozy hotel nearby or stay with friends or family until more flights can be added to the schedule.

We greatly appreciate the patience of our guests and tireless effort from our employees during this difficult travel week and are doing everything we can to get you to your destination while operating safely!  

This post will be updated with the latest information related to our operations in Seattle as it becomes available. 

Dec. 29 @ 4 p.m. PT 

Guidance for travel plans affected by winter weather in SEA 

With the perfect storm of severe winter weather coupled with crew members and aircraft being displaced around the country and the continued impact of the omicron variant on staffing levels, more flights are being canceled this week to/from Seattle. As a result, guests may feel the effects throughout our network.

As we head into the next couple of days, we’re proactively thinning Seattle departures by about 20% to allow for the additional time it takes to deice aircraft, a requirement during winter weather.   

We deeply apologize for the inconvenience and are working hard to return to the level of service you know and expect from us, while operating safely.   

Tips for guests traveling this week: 

1. Re-book travel online (NOT at the airport). 

With more snow expected this week and staffing issues, we strongly encourage guests to avoid going to or staying at the airport to rebook their travel.  

Your best option is to manage your reservation online

  • We strongly urge flyers with non-essential travel scheduled before January 2, 2022, to consider changing their travel to a later date using our flexible travel policy.  
  • We’ve modified our flexible travel policy to include guests who were scheduled to travel through Dec. 28. 
  • Due to winter weather and canceled flights, we’re unable to fly animals in the cargo hold, unaccompanied minors, teen no assists and teen assists into and out of Seattle through Jan. 3, 2022. 

2. Hotel accommodation is available.

We encourage guests waiting for their next flight to find a cozy hotel nearby or stay with friends or family until more flights can be added to the schedule.

3. Don’t leave your bags behind. 

If your flight has been canceled and you’ve checked a bag, despite the urge to go straight to a customer service counter, please immediately claim your bag(s) at the baggage carousel prior to leaving the airport.  

Our baggage service teams are working around the clock to reunite unclaimed bags with their owners. It will take several days to complete this work, but our agents will contact every guest to arrange for pick-up or delivery. Please make sure your contact information within your Mileage Plan account is up to date so we have the best numbers to reach you. 

Looking ahead: 

In the days ahead, it will take time to reposition our flight crews and aircraft as we get our operations back to normal, especially since Seattle is our largest hub. This could also require further delays and cancelations.  

“We’re deeply sorry to our guests for the delay in their holiday travel plans and are working hard to reposition aircraft and crews back to the West Coast to get everyone where they need to be as quickly and safely as possible,” said Constance von Muehlen, chief operating officer and executive vice president.  

We greatly appreciate the patience of our guests and tireless effort from our employees during this busy travel period and are doing everything we can to get you to your destination while operating safely! 

Dec. 28 @ 2 p.m. PT 

Winter weather continues: 3 things to know if you’re trying to fly to/from SEA

With the perfect storm of severe winter weather coupled with crew members and aircraft being displaced around the country and the continued impact of the omicron variant on staffing levels, more flights are being canceled this week to/from Seattle.

Today, 150 flights were canceled as a result, with more cancellations and delays expected throughout the day. We deeply apologize for the inconvenience and are working hard to return to the level of service you know and expect from us, while operating safely. Below is our advice for impacted guests on what to do next:   

1. Re-book travel online (NOT at the airport). 

With more snow expected this week and staffing issues, we strongly encourage guests to avoid going to or staying at the airport to rebook their travel.  

Your best option is to manage your reservation online

If you do not need to travel before Jan. 2, we recommend pushing out your travel plans using our flexible travel policy. Currently, we are unable to rebook most guests for at least three days. If you were scheduled to travel between Dec. 22, 2021 through Jan. 16, 2022 you can change your ticket online and complete your travel through Feb. 16, 2022.

If you are unable to reschedule your flight at this time, rest assured that we will hold the value of your ticket until you are ready to travel again.  

2. Hotel accommodation is available.

We encourage guests waiting for their next flight to find a cozy hotel nearby or stay with friends or family until more flights can be added to the schedule.

3. Don’t leave your bags behind. 

If your flight has been canceled and you’ve checked a bag, despite the urge to go straight to a customer service counter, please immediately claim them at the baggage carousel prior to leaving the airport.  

Our baggage service teams are working around the clock to reunite unclaimed bags with their owners. It will take several days to complete this work, but our agents will contact every guest to arrange for pick-up or delivery. Please make sure your contact information within your Mileage Plan account is up to date so we have the best numbers to reach you. 

Looking ahead: 

In the days ahead, it will take time to reposition our flight crews and aircraft as we get our operations back to normal, especially since Seattle is our largest hub. This could also require further delays and cancelations.  

“We’re deeply sorry to our guests for the delay in their holiday travel plans and are working hard to reposition aircraft and crews back to the West Coast to get everyone where they need to be as quickly and safely as possible,” said Constance von Muehlen, chief operating officer and executive vice president.  

We greatly appreciate the patience of our guests and tireless effort from our employees during this busy travel period and are doing everything we can to get you to your destination while operating safely! 

This post will be updated with the latest information related to our operations in Seattle as it becomes available. 

Dec. 27 @ 4PM PT 

Winter weather continues to impact travel to/from Seattle 

Snow and freezing weather continue to disrupt our operation at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, our largest hub. On Monday, we had to unfortunately cancel 214 mainline and regional flights. With forecasts calling for bitter cold temperatures throughout the week and snow on Thursday more flights could be canceled throughout the next several days. 

Here’s what to do if you’re traveling with us to/from SEA:  

  • Monitor your flight status and view recommended arrival times. 
  • If you wish to change your flight(s), a flexible travel policy is in place for travel through Jan. 2. 
  • Our Reservations team is experiencing hold times of up to 11 hours. The quickest way to reschedule or change your ticket is online at alaskaair.com or Alaska’s mobile app. 
  • Guests impacted by cancellations or delays may be eligible for reimbursement of reasonable travel expenses by providing flight information and expense details herePlease note: Reimbursements may take up to several weeks to review and process, and some exceptions may apply.    

We’ll get in touch with you ASAP. Our Reservations team has been coordinating round the clock with our operations to get those who are impacted on the next available flight. If there is an available flight for you to be rebooked on, you should receive an email from us at the email address you shared in your reservation. 

Our call centers are currently experiencing extremely high call volumes and encourage guests to check their flight status and try to rebook on alaskaair.com or our mobile app before calling 1-800-ALASKAAIR (1-800-252-7522). When you call, there is also a convenient option for us to call you back and save your place in line so you can avoid longer hold-times. 

Safety first. These extreme weather events just don’t impact the movement of our planes, but also our people. It’s important that our flight crews don’t exceed their FAA-regulated duty periods—that’s the allowable length of a safe workday for pilots and flight attendants. If the crew exceeds that duty period, flights are delayed or even canceled. 

Other factors can include when the FAA periodically activates ground stops, as it did on Sunday, to prevent arriving aircraft from landing at Sea-Tac. That’s in addition to ground delay programs, which can be activated to decrease the number of planes flying into   an airport, which gives our teams more time to de-ice aircraft and put more spacing between planes arriving and departing. 

Looking ahead: This has been an un-merry couple of days for all of us, and we appreciate the patience of our guests and tireless effort from our employees during this busy travel period and are doing everything we can to get you to your destination while operating safely!  In the days ahead, it will take time to reposition our flight crews and aircraft as we get our operations back to normal, especially since Seattle is our largest hub. This could also require further delays and cancellations. 

Dec. 27 @ 10 a.m. PT

Severe winter weather in the PNW continues to cause delays and cancellations to and from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. We sincerely apologize to our guests who are impacted by this and understand how incredibly frustrating it is when travel doesn’t go as planned.  

Here’s what to do if you’re traveling with us to/from SEA:  

Snow and wintery conditions significantly impacted on our operations over the weekend, resulting in ground delays and ground stops on Sunday, Dec. 26, affecting nearly 250 flights to and from Seattle.  

As we reset our operations and continue to adjust for difficult weather conditions, we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel more than 120 flights today and expect additional cancellations throughout Monday, Dec. 27. 

We appreciate the patience of our guests during this busy travel time and are doing everything we can to get you to your destination, while operating safely!  

Dec. 26 @ 10 a.m. PT

Winter weather is impacting travel in the PNW

Snow and wintry conditions are creating a bit of a bah-humbug for our operations to and from Seattle, including flight cancellations and delays.

We apologize in advance for any potential flight delays and cancellations that could take place due to the weather. And realize it’s incredibly frustrating when travel doesn’t go as planned, especially now as many of us are eager to connect with friends and family. 

  • Stay up to date with the status of your flight online or on Alaska’s mobile app. 
  • Be sure to add your contact information to your reservation so we can get in touch with you if there are changes to your flight. 
  • If your travel is impacted due to winter weather, we will notify you via the email address in your reservation. 

The safety of our operations is our top priority. With the added time to de-ice our aircraft prior to departure, it takes longer for aircraft departing the airport than on a warm sunny day. The pre-cancellation of flights eases congestion and allows all airlines to match the reduced number of aircraft allowed to land and depart.  

We appreciate the patience of our guests during this busy travel time and are doing everything we can to get you to your destination, while operating safely! 

Dec. 24 @ 8 a.m. PT

Winter weather expected in the PNW: Here’s the latest for holiday travelers

If you’re traveling to or from Seattle/Portland this weekend, you could face some winter weather (not the ideal travel present in the Pacific Northwest).  

While we hope it doesn’t take the merry out of this holiday for any of our guests, we are preparing for whatever weather comes our way in these locations and will keep you updated on any impact the cold weather or snow will have on our operation in this post. 

  • Stay up to date with the status of your flight online or on Alaska’s mobile app. 
  • Be sure to add your contact information to your reservation so we can get in touch with you if there are changes to your flight. 
  • If you wish to change your flight(s), a flexible travel policy is being offered through Jan. 2. 
  • Check out airport guides for recommended airport arrival times, ticket counter hours and cut-off times for check-in and boarding.  
  • If you’re driving to the airport, give yourself plenty of time to get there in case of any delays or potential road closures. 
  • Check in for your flight and print your bag tags in advance online or on our mobile app up to 24 hours before departure.  
  • Masks are still required through the airport and on board even if you’re fully vaccinated.  
  • If your travel is impacted due to winter weather, we will notify you via the email address in your reservation. 

Holiday sweaters, Kristi Yamaguchi and Hallmark—oh, fly! See how Alaska Airlines surprised guests this week

Photos by Josh Leung and Ingrid Barrentine.

Some might think palm trees and ice rinks don’t go together—but the same can be said when an ugly sweater turns out to be trendy. They grow on you, like a Hallmark Christmas classic this time of year, which is why we’re thrilled to team up with Olympic Figure Skater Kristi Yamaguchi and her Always Dream Foundation and San Jose Public Library to give South Bay Students a memorable holiday ice skating party at San Jose’s downtown ice rink.  

And, of course, in true figure skating form, we upped our fashion game. 

On Friday, elementary school students took to the ice with Yamaguchi, Snoopy and Woodstock for a skating clinic donning our latest holiday apparel. Followed by a tour of the San Jose Public Library’s MakerSpace Ship, an innovative mobile workshop & STEAM lab, and received books from Always Dream. 

“Our long-standing partnership with Alaska Airlines is invaluable, from volunteering at local schools to sponsoring today’s holiday party for low-income students,” says Kristi Yamaguchi, Founder of Always Dream and Olympic gold medalist. “It’s about the power of one, working together for a common cause! Together, we level the playing field, ensuring that all students have access to 21st-century technology and quality books. Being able to read proficiently is the foundation for success in school and in life.”  

Like Yamaguchi’s Always Dream Foundation, we value the power an education can bring to a child and look to provide pathways for success that include career planning, life skills and mentorships among young people in communities that we serve.  

“We’re proud to once again be the official airline of the Kristi Yamaguchi Downtown Ice Rink, while also supporting the Always Dream and San Jose Public Library Foundations,” said Franco Finn, Alaska’s Bay Area external relations & community manager. “At Alaska, we’re always looking for ways to give back to our communities and creating opportunities and pathways for youth to reach their goals. What a great way to give back to the community, support our youth and celebrate the holidays!” 

Share your holiday sweater spirit by tagging your photos and videos using the hashtags #iFlyAlaska and #UglySweaterDay. 

YOU SWEATER BELIEVE IT 

In honor of National Ugly Sweater Day on 12/7, Alaska gifted each child with their very own holiday sweater! Plus, today only, all guests wearing ANY holiday sweater to the airport will land priority boarding on any of our flights where we fly. 

And the fun doesn’t stop there, all month long, you can get a day pass to any Alaska Lounge for just $25 when you are wearing a holiday sweater. 

Cozy up, up, and away with us by booking your next flight on alaskaair.com!  

COAST TO COAST SURPRISES & DELIGHTS  

Today, from coast to coast, we celebrated National Ugly Sweater Day from New York City to San Francisco on a special surprise & delight flight, decked (for the hauls) in sweaters! 

Guests were treated to gate celebrations, our holiday sweaters (of course) and our friends at Hallmark Channel helped put the trip over the top with amazing gift bags!  

To keep your travels merry and bright, now through 12/25, you can enjoy free inflight Wi-Fi access to Hallmark Movies Now to stream hundreds of Hallmark Channel original movies.*  

Plus, if you’re not already a Hallmark Movies Now subscriber, you can sign up for a FREE 7-day trial to get access to all your Hallmark Channel favorites wherever you are! 

Alaska guests can also connect with friends and family from 30,000 feet in the air with our free chat feature during the flight. Just connect to our inflight Wi-Fi and select “free texting.” 

From our team to you, we wish you all a very happy holiday & New Year!  

* Hallmark Movie App Offer is limited to satellite Wi-Fi equipped aircraft. On most other flights, guests can stream Hallmark Channel titles via our inflight entertainment system. And, if you’d like to skate at San Jose’s downtown ice, the rink is open until Jan. 9, 2022. Tickets are available online, and proof of vaccination is required. A portion of ticket sales will benefit Kristi Yamaguchi’s “Always Dream” organization. 

You ‘Sweater Believe’ Alaska Airlines makes the holidays a priority

In honor of National Ugly Sweater Day, we’re spreading holiday cheer by offering guests wearing ANY kind of holiday sweater priority boarding on Dec. 17. The one-day promotion will be celebrated by guests and employees alike and includes all Alaska and Horizon Air flights.

Alaska is celebrating the holidays throughout December, with festive décor, lounge promotions, as well as free holiday movies to help flyers have a merry flight.

COZY UP IN OUR LOUNGES

And the fun doesn’t stop there, all month long, you can get a day pass to any Alaska Lounge for just $25 when you are wearing a holiday sweater. 

WATCH & BE MERRY WITH HALLMARK CHANNEL CLASSICS  

To keep your travels merry and bright, now through 12/25, you can enjoy free inflight Wi-Fi access to Hallmark Movies Now to stream hundreds of Hallmark Channel original movies.* Plus, if you’re not already a Hallmark Movies Now subscriber, you can sign up for a FREE 7-day trial to get access to all your Hallmark Channel favorites wherever you are! 

Alaska guests can also connect with friends and family from 30,000 feet in the air with our free chat feature during the flight. Just connect to our inflight Wi-Fi and select “free texting.” 

Cozy up, up, and away with us by booking your next flight on alaskaair.com!  

From our team to you, we wish you all a very happy holiday & New Year!  

* Hallmark Movie App Offer is limited to satellite Wi-Fi equipped aircraft. On most other flights, guests can stream Hallmark Channel holiday titles via our inflight entertainment system. 

Elves, toys, and a holiday-themed plane: How Alaska delivered an unforgettable North Pole adventure for kids this year

Elf “Snowflake” with Lucian onboard Alaska’s Fantasy Flight to the “North Pole.” Photos by Genna Martin.

Alaska Airlines flew an unusual and truly magical 40-minute charter flight Saturday afternoon from Spokane International Airport to the “North Pole.” For many, it was their first time on a plane—and for all, it was extraordinary.

Inside the festive “Merrier Together” Starbucks-themed aircraft, 58 beyond-excited kids, ages 4 to 10, came together from the region’s homeless and at-risk youth populations to celebrate the holidays in a big way. Their seatmates were special elves sent to escort them specially to the North Pole for a visit. I jumped at the chance to tag along to report on the adventure as an embedded elf, nicknamed “Notes.”  

The day of the flight, I tried my best to blend in with the experienced band of pointy-toed, glittered, and jingle-belled elves with names like Ember, Sugarplum, Sprinkles, Seesaw, McJingles and Ginger Beans. Together, we waited for five school busloads of kids to arrive at the Spokane airport.

I was a bonus elf for Lucian, a 6-year-old child, who was paired with “Snowflake,” also known as Mary Shea-Ferger, one of the many Alaska and Horizon Air employees who volunteer for the event each year.

“Just remember you’re an elf,” she told me, “Try to have fun. Remember what being a child was like. And focus on making this an unforgettable, wonderful memory for a kid who may not otherwise have a great Christmas.”  

Ready, set, jet!

When the kids arrived at the airport lobby, they were met with a sea of elves and live holiday music courtesy of the Inland Northwest’s Rainbow Fiddle Kids. Some children were understandably nervous and wary at first, but Lucian greeted Snowflake with a big hug.

Once he was fitted for an “I Believe” t-shirt, and filled his North Pole passport with elf autographs, he was ready to fly! Lucian had never flown on a plane before or visited the North Pole before—but said he looked forward to both.  

Snowflake, Lucian and I breezed through security and headed up the escalator to a decorated gate area where games, snacks and backpacks filled with school supplies, socks, hats, flashlights and small toys were waiting for everyone.

Anticipation for the flight was palpable.

Saturday’s flight marked the 25th year the nonprofit Northwest Pole Adventures and its hundreds of volunteers, sponsors and donors organized Fantasy Flight — and Alaska’s 14th year as the event’s flying sponsor.

Kids oo-ed and ahh-ed when they spotted Alaska’s latest snowflake adorned Starbucks plane through the concourse windows.

“This is my one of my favorite things,” said Carole Scallon, a senior Alaska flight attendant who has been on every Alaska-hosted Fantasy Flight, “I love being able to help make the event special for these kids.”

 

During the flight, everyone’s window shades remained closed (to keep the North Pole route a secret). Before we knew it, Santa’s Pilot (Captain Hrivnak) came back on the intercom to tell us Santa’s sleigh has been spotted on radar and we’d be going very fast, at “ludicrous speed,” to catch up to him so they could guide us to the North Pole.

“It feels so weird like I’m in a dream,” said Lucian as the plane touched the clouds.

The “North Pole”

When the plane’s front door finally opened, we were greeted by a horde of elves lining the stairway and walkway to a private hangar, which magically transformed into the “North Pole” for the night. Lucian, beamed with joy as he stepped off the plane, high fiving the elves as they welcomed us ‘home’ to the North Pole. He raced around the whimsical new world, checking out every corner as soon as the doors opened.

Santa and Mrs. Claus welcomed guests, followed by lots of fun at craft tables, activity stations and an all-you-can-eat ice-cream bar. Mrs. Claus’s Kitchen was also there, with shelves stocked with decorated cookies, chocolate, cotton candy and other treats.

Best of all, Santa surprised the kids with a giant bag of gifts they wished for, from pink Barbie Dream Campers and guitars to Robot Batman, Legos, Slime studios and more. Lucian was given a pair of radio control laser tag cars in his bag and said they’d be great for his brother, and declared the evening “the best night ever.”

Noah Stiles, the 29-year-old North Pole DJ, named “Jamz,” recognized the excitement Lucien and the other kids were experiencing. He went to the North Pole on a Fantasy Flight when he was about 10 years old.

“I was convinced we’d landed at the North Pole,” he says, “And meeting Santa was exactly as I imagined.” Getting gifts of everything from Lincoln Logs to socks was a real treat, but so was the giant bag he was given to take away all his loot.

“As a foster kid, you’re often given trash bags to move your stuff,” says Stiles. “The really well-made green bag I got became very special to me. I used it to move my belongings from placement to placement until I aged out of the foster program, and I still have it.”

When the evening winded down, Mrs. Claus gathered the children and the elves to read aloud her favorite storybook, The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg, which tells the story of a boy who travels to the North Pole by train and learns the importance of believing. As one final gift (to nod to the story), each child received a large silver jingle bell from their elf.

When the evening wrapped, and it was time for the kids to make their way back, the elves escorted their new little friends to the “Magic Transporter,” a decoratively foggy room made to look like a portal back to reality.

Lucian exited the portal, bound for the awaiting bus. And just when we thought he wouldn’t look back, he ran up to the bus window as quick as he could to wave goodbye to Snowflake and me one more time.

Both exhausted and filled with gratitude, we will forever be grateful knowing we helped deliver a memorable holiday for him—one he and the other children may never forget. 

“Notes” sure won’t forget the magic! ✨

Fantasy Flight requires juggling thousands of details each year. This year, with COVID-19 top of mind, Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air and Northwest North Pole Adventures ensured all safety-protocols and precautions were met to ensure the safety of attendees.

Prepare to ooh and ahh in Alaska’s reimagined space at Portland International Airport

Concourse B at Portland International Airport

We have some new digs at Concourse B at Portland International Airport (PDX) – and it’s B for beautiful. We’re thrilled to report the brand-new Concourse B is now open for business and think you’re gonna love it when traveling to, from or through PDX.  

The completely redeveloped space is bigger, brighter and bolder with Pacific Northwest flair. Our guests arrive and depart at 10 gate locations for Alaska Airlines. Most flights at Concourse B are regional flights operated by our sister carrier Horizon Air.  

“PDX is a crucial part of Alaska’s future, especially as one of our key West Coast hubs,” said Shane Jones, vice president of real estate and airport development at Alaska Airlines. “Our partnership and joint investment with the Port of Portland highlights our commitment to provide our guests with an excellent travel experience by making improvements that will make their journeys more enjoyable.” 

Here’s what you can expect at Concourse B:  

  • Let there be (lots more) light! More sunshine now streams in through massive floor-to-ceiling windows that offer great exposure to southern light. Even on the gloomiest of Northwest days, the concourse feels more open and brighter.
  • With better sightlines and improved visibility to what’s going on outside, plane watching just got a major upgrade. You can take in the action happening down on the tarmac and enjoy a front-row seat to endless takeoffs and landings. There’s upgraded technology throughout the concourse, including hundreds of power outlets in the gate areas so you can plug in and charge your devices without going on a treasure hunt. There’s also faster Wi-Fi to get you connected.  
  • The concourse is a short, easy walk from the security checkpoint. 
  • A new guest service counter is in place to help you with travel plans. 
  • A pair of well-known Portland eateries will call Concourse B home in the spring: Good Coffee (acclaimed specialty roaster) and Screen Door (acclaimed for its fried chicken and waffles). 

“The unveiling of Concourse B is an early holiday present for our flyers and employees – many of them call PDX one of their favorite airports,” said Michael Pastrick, airport affairs director at Alaska Airlines. “After a tremendous amount of hard work, we’re very happy to have created an enhanced travel experience for our guests and a more comfortable, collaborative workplace for our employees.”  

In 2019, PDX said farewell to Concourse A with its dim lighting, low ceilings and crowded seating areas that greeted Horizon passengers. A new Concourse B is part of its replacement with a project cost of $115 million. See more of the ongoing transformation of PDX at pdxnext.com

“For those of you who remember the dark, cramped Concourse A basement, you’re in for a treat in this new space that serves important regional flights, said Curtis Robinhold, executive director of the Port of Portland. “Concourse B will provide a quintessential Pacific Northwest welcome and an experience with food and art that passengers and employees of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air deserve.” 

Prior to the pandemic greatly disrupting air travel, our bigger and smaller jets flew about 133 daily departures at PDX in 2019. Speaking of departures, we all love a nonstop flight! This month, we’ll fly to 44 destinations nonstop from PDX. Recent additions include new nonstop service to Cancun, Denver, New Orleans, San Luis Obispo and Tampa. 

Book your next trip to or from Portland on alaskaair.com.

Alaska Airlines adds Clorox to disinfect 90 airports & lounges

We love having good, clean fun—while keeping your safety at the forefront of everything we do.  

And with holiday travel making our airports busier than we’ve seen in 20 months (we love to see it 😍) and new variants of the coronavirus (😐), we’re excited to team up with Clorox to take our cleaning and disinfection procedures to the next level.  

Since the pandemic hit, we’ve implemented 100 different ways to help support a healthier and safer return to travel for our guests and employees. Travelers can now expect to see Clorox products (sanitizer stands and wipes) land at our most popular airports & Lounges where we fly and on our aircraft. 

Wipes can be used to clean arm rests and tray tables. Please note: The use of commercially available cleaning wipes on our leather seats can deteriorate the top coat of the leather. The cloth might look dirty afterward, but it’s actually the leather dye color that’s coming off.

“We’re excited to be working with Alaska Airlines to help make your travel experience cleaner, safer and more fun,” said Tony Matta, Executive Vice President and Chief Growth Officer at The Clorox Company. “Travelers like you can be even more confident in knowing Alaska is taking yet another important step to help safeguard your health and make your trips something to remember.” 

A HIGHER STANDARD OF CLEAN 

We’re leveraging the disinfecting expertise and suite of products from Clorox, the #1 trusted brand for powerful cleaning, to deliver an industry-leading standard of cleanliness. And have developed and validated enhanced aircraft cleaning procedures in partnership with the University of Washington Medical Directors, specializing in Infectious Diseases. 

AWARD-WINNING CARE 

Thanks to the 100+ ways we’ve implemented as part of Next-Level Care, we were among the five largest U.S. carriers to be awarded Diamond status by APEX Health Safety powered by SimpliFlying for our cleanliness and sanitization efforts.  

“Alaska Airlines has raised the bar for health safety standards in the industry by initiatives such as mandatory mask requirements, social distancing at baggage belts and hospital-grade aircraft cleaning efforts. These steps in ensuring health safety go a long way in bolstering trust among travelers,” said Shashank Nigam, CEO of SimpliFlying. 

Diamond ratings indicate that an airline has put in place hospital-grade health safety measures, processes and training, along with an end-to-end focus on wellness.

BOOK WITH PEACE OF MIND

The safety of our guests and employees always comes first, and we want you to feel great about booking a flight with us. Here’s what you need to know before you fly Alaska. 

You must wear a mask to fly. 

We take a layered approach to safety, which starts with the requirement that all employees and guests wear a face mask or covering through the airport and on board. This requirement applies even if you are fully vaccinated. 

Experts agree—it’s safe to fly due to exceptional air quality. 

Travelers wearing a mask have a .003% or NEAR-ZERO CHANCE of being exposed to the virus, even on a full aircraft (according to a Department of Defense study). Air travel is safer than eating out or shopping at a grocery store thanks to:  

We don’t charge change fees. 

Your peace of mind is always top of mind, which is why we’ve permanently eliminated change fees for Main and First Class fares* purchased on or after May 1, 2021. Fare differences may apply. Learn more

Learn more about our Next-Level Care and what to expect while traveling on alaskaair.com

Gift ideas for the travel lover in your life

Whether you’re spending the holidays at home this year or flying Alaska to somewhere special, we have gift ideas for all your wander-lusting needs!

Visit our company store Monday through Friday, 9:30am – 5:00pm. Located in our new office building, “The Hub” at 19235 International Blvd, Seattle, WA 98198.

Give the gift of travel for 2022, along with some of the most unique airline swag available online or at our company store, located in SeaTac, Wash. 

Give the gift of travel

Treat yourself with miles or share miles with someone else. You can buy Alaska Mileage Plan miles for friends and loved ones or top off your account to jet off onto your next great adventure.

Model Planes 

Our shop is full of model airplanes in various designs & sizes, including Alaska’s new Pride plane, Our Commitment aircraft and more! Each plane has spinning engines and rubber tires that roll and turn. Collect them all!

Cozy all the way with our holiday Sweater!

We’re continuing one of our coziest traditions & celebrating the holiday season in the merriest way with our 2021 Holiday sweater. Due to high demand, the best way to get your hands on our threads this year is to pre-order them in-person at our Company Store. We’re expecting more sweaters to arrive soon, please stay tuned!

Enjoy the little things

Sometimes it’s the little things that make our day (like our holiday sweater, but fun size!). Give something small & great to someone this season! See more.

#FillBeforeYouFly

Did you know every time you use the hashtag #fillbeforeyoufly, Alaska helps plant a tree with the National Forest Foundation? Since 2019, our initiative has encouraged guests and employees to bring their own water bottles and become active partners in our goal to reduce single-use plastics. BYO-Alaska-bottle & other drinkware.

Bags that have your back

Well equipped for the person on the go, Alaska’s Herschel backpacks, fanny packs and more are perfectly designed with a versatile range of storage pockets for all your travel essentials — you’re less likely to forget packing that must-have with these bags! Buy now.

Fan out with Alaska apparel

Show your airline pride with apparel that looks great & will keep you comfortable and warm on your next adventure. Shop all our new beanies, tees, puffers & more!

For little av-geeks in training 😉

Our adorable airplane backpacks & bomber jackets are just the ticket to bring smiles this holiday season! Or keep the little one’s toesies nice and cozy with our baby socks! Check out more gift ideas for the kiddos.

Buy something for the co-pilots in your life 

Treat your co-pilot pupper with an Alaska placemat, bowl and more. And, for those sweet moments to have a picnic, indulge yourselves! Last but certainly not least, give the gift of accessories for the traveler (or golfer) in your life!

Check out Alaska’s company store in-person or online for more gift ideas.

Happy holidays to all our guests, community partners & employees!

Merrier together: Starbucks & Alaska take coffee to new heights with a holiday plane and delights

This holiday season we linked up with our hometown friends at Starbucks to spread joy through craft and travel. Because, like coffee, travel is better together. 

On Dec. 7, we unveiled our newest brew-tiful aircraft. It will fly throughout our network all season long. To top it off, Alaska guests had the chance to buy one ticket and get one for just the taxes & fees* using promo code STARBUCKS. The offer has expired, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get a great deal on flights. Find our lowest fares with flight deals.

Jet setting & offsetting + RED CUPS

And because you can’t have too much cheer – Starbucks and Alaska will provide passengers on 50 flights with reusable holiday cups and treats through December 12th! We’re also offsetting the carbon impacts of these flights through The Good Traveler program, as part of our commitment to be carbon net-zero by 2040

Enjoy flights to sunny destinations like Belize, Hawaii and Palm Springs or chill out in Jackson Hole, Anchorage or Boston and more. And if you’re flying from our hometown, you can now fly to over 100 destinations from Seattle, see more reasons to fly Alaska, below!

Reasons to fly Alaska —

First, you can sip Starbucks coffee at 30,000 feet on every Alaska flight.

Guests enjoy streaming the most movies and TV shows in the sky* for free on their own device(s)––plus, Wi-Fi, free texting, and in-seat power to keep your devices charged. Learn more. You can also preorder meals 20 hours before your travel on Alaska’s mobile app or online.

As the newest member of the oneworld Alliance, Alaska and its Global Partners are proud to help you safely reach more than 1,000 destinations worldwide, including amazing places like the Maldives, London and beyond! Book your next global getaway and redeem miles today!

Alaska has a 20-min bag guarantee. If you don’t get your bags in under 20 minutes, you’re eligible for a discount on future travel.

Alaska is also committed to Next-Level Care, which provides a higher level of cleanliness and safety throughout your entire journey, including enhanced onboarding cleaning, mask requirements, health agreements, contactless touchpoints. Learn more at alaskaair.com/NextLevelCare.

Alaska’s loyalty program is for anyone who loves to travel. Earn miles for EVERY mile flown on Alaska, even on the lowest fare. Plus, earn when you shop, dine, rent a car, stay in a hotel and more. Membership is free, and it’s easy to sign up!

Alaska cares about people, places and the planet. We’re also known for our on-time performance, low fares and award-winning customer service. You’ll get that and more when you fly with us!

For the latest travel updates and destination inspo, follow @AlaskaAir on social. Our Social Care team is here for you 24/7.

Book now, mask up, let’s go!

*For complete terms and conditions, visit alaskaair.com//starbucks-bogo