News

Tada Yotsuuye celebrates 55-year milestone anniversary with Alaska Airlines

This year was a special year for both Tada Yotsuuye, Seattle line inspector, and the Alaska Air Group family. Last month, Yotsuuye celebrated 55 years as an employee with Alaska, and he’s the first employee to achieve this monumental milestone in the history of our company.

Leaders recently hosted a special pin recognition ceremony to honor Yotsuuye’s 55th anniversary, and there was no shortage of funny stories and notes of gratitude.

Yotsuuye receiving his 55th anniversary pin at a special ceremony with co-workers and family members.

“Tada is an incredible Alaska Airlines employee,” said Constance von Muehlen, SVP of maintenance and engineering, during the presentation. In reflecting on this major milestone, she did a little math. The aviation industry is 117 years old (starting in 1903), and Tada has been part of the aviation industry for 74 of those years since he started with the Air Force in 1946. He later joined Alaska in 1965.

“That means not only are you, Tada, a fantastic part of our Alaska history,” she said, “but you’re really part of American airline and aviation history, which we are treasured and honored to have among us.”

Tada was named a Customer Service Legend, Alaska’s most prestigious honor in 2006. Photo by Ingrid Barrentine

Not only is Yotsuuye an Alaska Legend, but he’s also a 2006 Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award recipient, which is a prestigious award that only 2,888 individuals in the United States have received. He has had a long and distinguished career.

Scott Miller, director chief inspector, reflected on the 19 years he has spent working with Yotsuuye and what a pleasure it has been to learn from him and share laughs along the way.

“I have been part of Tada’s 40-year, 50-year and now his 55th-year pin recognition,” he said. “I remember when Tada got his 50-year pin we asked him what his plans were, and he said, ‘I wonder what the 55-year pin looks like.’”

Whenever he’s asked by co-workers about retirement, Yotsuuye would say with a smile that he had no plans to put away his tools.

“Fifty-five years sounds like a long time,” Yotsuuye said during his recognition ceremony. “Ninety years sounds ridiculous, but here I am 55 years with Alaska Airlines at the age of 92 and I am glad to be here.”

When asked what has kept him with Alaska for so long, he said, “Alaska Airlines has the most exceptional people I enjoy working for and with, which makes the time fly by.”

Often referred to as the Jedi Master among his coworkers, Miller researched what it means to be one.

“Jedi Master is the highest rank attainable in the Jedi Order, reserved only for those who have shown exceptional skill and devotion,” he said. “I can’t think of a better way to describe Tada as somebody that has displayed 55 years of exceptional skill and devotion to safety and compliance and helped grow Alaska Airlines into the company it is today.”

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CEO Brad Tilden also wanted to express his gratitude during the presentation to Yotsuuye and recognize his dedication to Alaska.

“Tada, thank you for 55 years of service,” said Tilden. “It’s just amazing. It’s stunning. This is a great company because of folks like you. We appreciate everything you’ve done to make this great company what it is.”

So, what’s in store for Yotsuuye now that he’s seen what the 55-year pin looks like?

“Now I can retire,” he said.

In support of other employees who would like to work toward long-lasting careers with the Alaska family, Yotsuuye offers this advice: “Keep busy and have fun.” Those are two things Yotsuuye is likely to do even as he welcomes retirement with open arms and his toolbox at his side.

Photo by Ingrid Barrentine

Please join us in sharing your notes of congratulations and appreciation below for all Yotsuuye has done to help make us who we are today.

Tada, Alaska wouldn’t be the same without you! May the force be with you, friend.

We want you to have a great flight with us – with your mask on

As part of a final warning, this yellow card could be issued to a guest who repeatedly refuses to wear a mask or face covering on our aircraft.

We take the use of masks and face coverings very seriously, like we do for any safety, health and well-being issue for our guests and employees.

Overwhelmingly, those who fly with us understand and appreciate the importance of wearing masks and face coverings during this time of COVID-19. We also rely heavily on our guests to do the right thing for the greater good of everyone onboard our flights.

Our flight crews encounter moments when some travelers disregard or disobey our mask requirement. It creates tension and anxiety for many of our passengers who do have their face coverings on. So, a change is needed.

Starting in early July, our flight attendants will be empowered to issue a final notice to any guest who repeatedly refuses to wear a mask or face covering on board our aircraft. With that warning – in the form of a yellow card handed to them – the guest’s travel with us will be reviewed and could be suspended for a period. That would be a decision we do not take lightly. By working together, we do more for the common good.

“We take pride in our excellent customer service, a main reason so many of our guests enjoy flying with us. That stays the same,” said Ben Minicucci, Alaska’s president. “We’re counting on both our guests and employees to be considerate of one another to wear face coverings and contribute to our constant effort to keep everyone healthy and safe.”

We understand not everyone is able to wear a face covering when traveling. A few exceptions include children under age 2; anyone with a medical issue that creates trouble breathing; anyone who cannot remove a mask without assistance; or anyone with a disability that prevents wearing a mask. (It’s okay if the mask is temporarily adjusted to eat and drink while in your seat.)

Another reminder of how seriously we take our mask enforcement policy begins on June 30. All of our guests will be asked during check-in to sign off on a required health agreement to acknowledge and attest to their willingness to adhere to the mask policy.

For guests who might forget their own mask, we will have them available upon request. Starting in July, we’ll also provide individual hand-sanitizer wipes on board.

We’ve recently made significant investments in enhanced cleaning procedures, hospital-grade air filtration systems and other approaches to ensure your safety throughout the travel journey.

Learn more about how we’re earning your confidence with Next-Level Care on alaskaair.com.

We realize a piece of fabric across your nose and mouth is probably not your ideal way to travel. But if we all take that small step while flying, we’ll be better off in the long run.

6 ways to celebrate Pride 2020 at home

Pride is the annual celebration to dignify and increase the visibility of the LGBTQ+ community as well as reaffirm the need for equality and social justice. Photos by Ingrid Barrentine

Due to the coronavirus, virtually all Pride 2020 live events have been canceled or postponed—but you can still celebrate one of the biggest, best, loudest, proudest celebrations out there from home with the tips below.

At Alaska, we’re a big team, inclusive of many people and perspectives. Our differences make us better––especially when we respect and embrace what makes us unique. Alaska Airlines celebrates and supports the LGBTQ+ community year-round and remains committed to helping create a more equitable society. We’re proud to sponsor Pride in Seattle, San Francisco, Honolulu, Anchorage, San Diego, Portland and Palm Springs.

Below are some tips to celebrate Pride from our GLOBE team, a business resource group at Alaska committed to creating an inclusive, safe and supportive environment for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgender Employees.

Here’s how you can do Pride 2020 right:

1. Attend a virtual Pride event at home

Get dressed up (finally, you’ll have an excuse) and invite your friends to join a Pride event over video chat! Just because we can’t get together in person doesn’t mean we have to miss out, right? Download Alaska’s  Pride backgrounds to add some fun & flare to your phone or computer backdrop.

San Francisco Trans March – 6/26

Global Pride 2020 – 24hrs 6/27

Seattle Pride – 6/28

San Diego Pride – Series of events

2. Support LGBTQ+ artists, authors, businesses & more

If you’re able, donating to LGBTQ+ causes or supporting gay-owned businesses is a great way to not only celebrate Pride Month but also helps those who need it most.

3. Just dance

Turn your living room into a dance floor and blast music from your favorite artists that support the LGBTQ+ community.

4. Share your #FlyWithPride moments

Post photos with your friends, family or pets with #FlywithPride (social distancing, of course).

5. Show up for your friends, family or co-workers

Never underestimate the power of being there for someone. For some people, Pride can be a confusing time, especially for those who are not completely out about their sexuality. A small gesture can go a long way like sending a thoughtful text or message on social media.

6. Have yourself a day

Take a minute or two to pamper yourself or do something that makes you happy. Pride is also about loving yourself and taking time to celebrate you! Whether that means pampering yourself with a rejuvenating facial or slicing up your best fruit & cheese platter (which we can’t wait to bring back onboard), or taking a breather using Headspace (which you can also listen to on your next Alaska flight).

What does Pride mean to you?

We asked some of our GLOBE members questions about Pride. Here’s what they had to say:

How do you get to be your true self at Alaska Airlines?“At my department I’m able to look like myself and not have to alter my appearance, which I am very grateful for.” – Amiya, a central baggage agent based in Seattle. She’s worked at Alaska for 1 year.

What inspires you to celebrate Pride?“The reason I am able to live my true life is because brave people have stood up against injustices and fought for my freedom to live. That is something to be proud of, something to be thankful for, and something to celebrate!” – Corey, a flight attendant based in Portland for 2.5 years.

How do you show your Pride at Alaska?“Alaska has opened the doors for me and welcomed me with open arms and said ‘we take you for who you really are’ and that feeling in my heart is amazing. I’m always grateful and honored to be able to represent this company with pure integrity of who I am. The Drill Team (Alaska’s dedicated group of flight attendants that dance routines at large events like Pride] is my escape to my dance world and allows me to pay forward what Alaska has done for me. Last year, Alaska’s Pride dance routine was amazing! Full attitude sass and pride.” – Orly, a flight attendant based in Seattle. He’s been with Alaska for 8 years.

What’s your most memorable Pride moment?“Being interviewed by Living808 TV on top of our Alaska Pride Float in my hometown of Honolulu with my wife, our daughter, and my sister dancing alongside me in the Parade. I got to tell the world how proud I am to be gay and to work for a company who celebrates me for that!” – Rasha, Alaska flight attendant for 3.5 years, based in Portland.

How do you celebrate Pride?“I celebrate knowing how far we’ve come, but also how far we have to go. All the hard work we put into getting our Alaska contingent in parades, I’m rewarded by watching our employees celebrate the ability to be themselves and represent a company that supports them.” –  Chad, a reservations workforce planning specialist in Seattle. He has been with Alaska for 16 years.

What inspires you to celebrate Pride?“Watching employees at every level of our organization from frontline employees to the CEO volunteer at Pride events and celebrate our ability to bring our whole selves to work is truly rewarding and inspiring.” – Kevin, a central baggage service manager in Seattle. He has been with Alaska for 17 years.

What does Pride mean to you?“Pride means not having to be scared to be who we are, to not hide and show everyone what acceptance is … I am grateful every day working at Alaska Airlines, where coworkers become friends and our passengers reach out to thank me for being a role model for so many.” – Jennifer, first officer based in Los Angeles. She’s been with Alaska for 4 years.

Tell us how your Pride flies nonstop. Stay safe & be kind to one another!

“Welcome aboard, this is your dad from the flight deck.” Pilot flies son on Make-A-Wish trip

Photos by Ingrid Barrentine | Note: Photos & flight were taken before COVID-19. 

One of the most memorable events for Make-A-Wish kids who fly on Alaska Airlines is the chance to visit the flight deck before their flight. For young Haak Mohr (pronounced: Hawk), of Minneapolis, Minn., it was even more special as his dad and uncle were the pilots.

Ryan Mohr (Haak’s dad) was the first officer and Dan Driggs (Haak’s uncle) was the captain for Haak’s special Make-A-Wish flight from Seattle to Hawaii late winter. The trip was a surprise and a long time coming for the Mohr family, whose lives were jolted when Haak was diagnosed with Wilms tumor cancer just over a year ago.

Haak Mohr (pronounced: Hawk), 6 years old with his uncle, First Officer Dan Driggs.

Haak was a running, jumping, healthy 5-year-old who loved his golden retriever puppy and watching the Minnesota Vikings, according to Mohr, who is based in Seattle. Around Christmas of last year, Haak’s parents noticed a paleness in his skin coloring, so they took him to the doctor. “They sent us home with some Miralax and said he’d be fine,” Mohr said.

But Haak wasn’t fine. When they took him back again 10 days later, he was admitted immediately to Children’s Hospital. Within 24 hours, he was in surgery for a volleyball-sized tumor attached to his kidney. After a six-hour surgery, the doctors informed the Mohr family that the tumor had ruptured and that Haak had stage three cancer.

After 18 days in the hospital, Haak went through eight radiation treatments along with nine months of chemotherapy and daily physical therapy.

“He was just a trooper and stayed positive the whole time,” Mohr said. But the chemo and radiation took a toll on his tiny body. “There were side effects, his immune system shut down and we all stayed home. Keeping him fed and healthy were to be our biggest challenges.”

Haak and his family, along with members of the Alaska Air pilot team.

Alaska’s Employee Assistance Fund jumps in to help

Mohr, who has been with Alaska for 7.5 years, took some time off.

“I didn’t leave the ground myself for about 10 months,” he said. It was through assistance from Alaska’s Employee Assistance Fund (EAF) that he was able to do that.

“I applied and they were wonderful, helping with bills so we could focus on Haak,” Mohr said. “It gave me precious moments with my son during a time where he was considered critical and fighting a disease that could be terminal.”

An overdue family vacation

Haak went into remission and became stronger. The family was offered a dream trip to Hawaii to stay at the Aulani Disney Resort, thanks to the local Make-A-Wish foundation. As the family started to plan, Mohr wanted to make sure their flight was on Alaska Airlines. And maybe—just maybe—he and his brother-in-law Driggs, an Anchorage-based captain, could fly the plane?

Mohr wrote to CEO Brad Tilden with the plan, who put him in touch with Chief Pilot Scott Day and Base Chief Pilots Craig Huffman and Dave Mets who made it happen.

It was a dream come true after a year of hardship. As Haak and his brothers, Bodey (11) and Mavryk (10) and mom, Tory, piled into the flight deck with Mohr and Driggs for photos, onlookers were close to tears. The energy continued upon landing in Honolulu, as Contract Service Lead Kelsey Rollo and the local Hawaii chapter of Make-A-Wish greeted the family with welcome signs and flower leis.

Haak with his brothers Bodey and Mavryk and their dad, First Officer Ryan Mohr

Haak, wearing his mini pilot’s hat, had a smile pasted to his face as he high-fived well-wishers cheering in the terminal.

“He couldn’t wait to see tropical fish,” said Mohr. “We don’t have those in Minneapolis.” The fight’s not over. Haak’s type of cancer has a high relapse rate. But for now, he’s healthy. “He’s a survivor, at six-year’s old.”

Watch this video of Mohr’s onboard announcement:

Juneteenth: Why it’s important to learn from the past to create a better future #WeMustDoBetter

John-Antony, a member of Alaska’s Business Resource Group Air Group Black Employees, Allies and Advocates, at last year’s Juneteenth event in Seattle.

Photos by Ingrid Barrentine

We continue to be heartbroken by the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and too many others. Our CEO Brad Tilden shared thoughts on these tragic events through an open letter to our employees, which you can read here

At Alaska, we are currently conducting employee listening sessions with Brad and our President, Ben Minicucci, to inform both short- and long-term action plans to address racial equity within and beyond our company. Listening and learning are part of the journey. Talking about race isn’t easy, however, it is critical to learn about the history, experiences and perspectives of Black people in America. 

Last year, ABEA members, Alaska CEO Brad Tilden & employees celebrated Juneteenth.

This Friday, June 19, is a significant day to commemorate Juneteenth, the oldest-known tribute to the end of slavery in the United States. While slavery ended a long time ago, racism has not. 

Today, Alaska’s Business Resource Group, Air Group Black Employees, Allies and Advocates (ABEA) is hosting a virtual internal discussion with all Alaska and Horizon Air employees in recognition of Juneteenth in the hope of educating, engaging and uplifting our company. The virtual event will also feature guest speaker LeNesha DeBardelaben, who is the executive director of the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) in Seattle and an African American Historian. 

In 2019, employees celebrated Juneteenth at the airport in Seattle.

“In order to know where we’re going, we need to understand where we’ve been,” said ABEA BRG leader, Sarah [pictured in middle of photo above]. “Our hope is that revisiting the struggles and resilience from the past will help increase understanding and help us gather strength for the road ahead.”

Watch video to hear ABEA members explain Juneteenth:

Pride month is here! #FlyWithPride with these virtual backgrounds

This year, we’re reimagining Pride in a whole new way by virtually celebrating throughout the entire month. There will be countless opportunities for you to get involved and show how you #FlyWithPride – all from the comfort of your home.

“We may not be able to celebrate Pride in-person this year, but that won’t stop us from showing the LGBTQ community – as well as communities of color – our love and support as we stand together in solidarity during these trying times,” said Karen Wilkins-Mickey, director of diversity & inclusion. “As we watch the protests around the country unfold, it is a reminder that Pride parades started as protests led by trans people of color and they were the catalyst for why we have LGBTQ+ rights today. The LGBTQ+ community is made up of an intersectionality of people, so it is vital we stand in solidarity with black Americans and other communities of color. While we celebrate Pride month, we remember and honor those who fought before us and continue the conversations of equality.”

Celebrate Pride with these virtual backgrounds for your phone or computer.

Mobile backgrounds: 1, 2, 3, 4

Make it your Zoom background in 3 easy steps:

  1. Download and save your favorite pictures from the blog.
  2. In Zoom, find the arrow next to the camera icon and click “choose virtual background” OR go to
  3. Preferences/Settings > Virtual Background. Upload the picture you downloaded! Ta-da! A Zoom with a view!

If you’re still having issues uploading a background, please visit the Zoom Help Center.

Make it your Microsoft Teams background in 3 easy steps:

  1. Download and save your favorite pictures from the blog.
  2. In a Teams meeting, turn on your video and look for the icon with 3 dots. Click the dotted icon to find “Show background effects.”
  3. At the top, under “Background Settings,” find and click on “+ Add new.” Upload the picture you downloaded & BAM! New colorful background to show your pride!

Read this article about using virtual backgrounds in Teams.

Unpacking Alaska Airlines Next-Level Care

Photos by Ingrid Barrentine

We’ve thought through every single stage of your travels—from booking to boarding, and beyond—and implemented nearly 100 ways to keep you safe every time you fly with us.

Drawing on the expertise of the University of Washington Medical Center’s medical and infectious disease experts, Next-Level Care is our commitment to keeping you healthy and safe.

All of these actions together offer guests layers of safety that are making a difference. In our most recent post-flight survey of guests, 82% shared that they had a safe and healthy environment and 95% said their seat area was clean.

Here are some key things we’re doing to bring you Next-Level Care:

We’ve got you covered.

PRE-TRAVEL & WELLNESS AGREEMENT
Before your flight, you can make your trip as smooth and contact-less as possible with the Alaska mobile app, where you can check-in for your flight, check the flight status and generate a mobile boarding pass.

Starting June 30 guests will be required to take a health agreement during check-in to verify that they haven’t exhibited COVID symptoms in the past 72 hours, didn’t travel with someone who is symptomatic and agree to bring and wear a mask.

MASKS + SANITIZERS
Face masks are required for all guests 12 and over, and for all employees. Mask and face covering exceptions include: religious practices, children under age 2, anyone with trouble breathing, anyone who cannot remove a mask without assistance or anyone with a disability that prevents them from wearing a mask. If you forgot yours, we have them available upon request. The same goes for sanitizing wipes starting in July. Learn more

HEPA FILTERS
We have one of the newest fleets in the country which means our planes have the latest air filtration technology. Our planes are equipped with two hospital-grade HEPA filters that remove 99.95% of airborne particulates. Our air filtration system cycles outside air on board every 3 minutes. Studies have shown due to the frequency of air recirculation, cabin air filtration is comparable to what’s found in hospitals. Be sure to open your personal air vent after you’re seated.

Personal safety

EXCEEDING CDC CLEANING GUIDELINES
Cleanliness has always been important to us, but the next level involves techniques that reduce the already low risk of onboard transmission.

Our cleaning team uses high-grade EPA disinfectant and electrostatic sprayers to clean critical areas of the plane. Learn more

GIVING YOU SPACE
To help our guests create extra space on board, through July 31, 2020 and beyond, we’re limiting the number of guests on our flights and blocking select seats. Families or large groups may request to sit together. Learn more here.

At the airport, we’ve installed social distancing decals to remind people to ‘Mind Your Wingspan.’ The stickers, spanning 6 feet apart, help minimize crowding and promote distancing at ticketing counters, baggage drops, customer service centers and gate areas.

LIMITED ONBOARD SERVICE

We’re temporarily reducing inflight food and beverage service to limit the interaction between our flight crews and guests. Feel free to pack your own snacks and #FillBeforeYouFly. You’ll also notice we have removed all seatback contents, except for the safety card, to limit the spread of germs.

Our care is always there.

Besides keeping our planes clean, we’ve rolled out a host of “Peace of Mind” policies to give our guests flexibility and more options.

PEACE OF MIND
We’re offering change/cancellation fee waivers for travel and are extending travel credit expiration dates, lounge memberships and extending elite status into 2021, visit alaskaair.com for more details.

SUPPORTING OUR COMMUNITY

Employees in Lihue handle donations with care & nonstop gratitude

In partnership with the Alaska Airlines Foundation, Alaska Airlines continues to support the most vulnerable communities affected by COVID-19 and help local food banks across the country with our #MillionMealsChallenge.

We’re also partnering with organizations such as the Seattle Foundation and other local businesses to help our most economically vulnerable communities and deliver critical medical supplies. Learn more about how to get involved.

Learn more at alaskaair.com/NextLevelCare.

Related:

Frequently asked questions about face masks & social distancing

Photo by Ingrid Barrentine.

Updated July 2

To keep our guests and employees safe and align with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations, Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air guests will be required to wear face masks and/or coverings starting May 11.

Guests will be expected to wear a face covering throughout any Alaska Airlines touchpoints and during the flight experience until further notice. Additional masks will be available, as supplies allow, for those who forget to bring one. Details about face covering requirements will be shared with guests in pre-trip communications before their date of travel. The temporary policy will be reevaluated periodically as guidance evolves.

FAQ:

Who is required to wear a face covering?

  • All guests 12 years and older are required to wear a face covering. Parents or guardians are strongly encouraged to provide a face covering for children ages 2 to 11.
  • Alaska Airlines employees who are unable to keep six feet of social distance will wear masks, including pilots, flight attendants and customer service agents.

Who is exempt from wearing a face covering?

  • Exceptions will be made for young children under the age of two, who cannot maintain a face covering on their own.
  • Guests who have an underlying medical condition (including the use of a breathing device) that prevents them from being able to wear a face covering in alignment with best practice guidelines from the CDC  or guests who are unable remove the face covering without assistance.

If a guest is exempt, how should they notify Alaska Airlines?

Guests are encouraged to communicate their exemption with an Alaska Airlines representative when they arrive at the airport. Note: In line with health privacy laws, guests are not required to disclose or prove their specific medical condition to airline employees and are asked to notify our airport staff upon boarding. Airport staff will inform the flight attendants of guests who have a medical exemption.

Where are guests required to wear face coverings?

Guests will be required to wear a face covering at all times they are near an Alaska Airlines touchpoint including the check-in lobby, Lounges, boarding gates, jetbridges, loading ramps and stairs, on the aircraft, during the flight (except when consuming food or drink) and at baggage claim. Usage is also highly encouraged in high traffic areas such as security lines, restrooms and other areas throughout the airport.

Are guests allowed to take their face coverings off to eat or drink on a flight?

Yes, guests will be allowed to remove the mask or face covering to consume food or drink during the flight.

What types of face covering are considered acceptable?

Face coverings should cover a guest’s nose and mouth in alignment with best practice guidelines from the CDC. These include but are not limited to scarves, bandanas, or other forms of face protection.

When does this policy go into effect?

This policy goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. May 11, 2020. It will be in effect until further notice.

Will Alaska Airlines be supplying face coverings for guests?

Guests should bring their own face coverings, but we will have face coverings available, as supplies allow, in the check-in lobby and boarding gates for guests who forgot their mask at home.

Will Alaska’s employees also be wearing masks?

Yes, Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air employees, and our business partners, who cannot maintain six feet of social distance during interactions with guests or co-workers, started wearing face coverings May 4. This includes pilots, flight attendants and customer service agents.

What if a guest refuses to wear a face covering at the airport?

If a guest arrives at the airport and refuses to wear a face covering, they will be denied boarding. If a guest is denied boarding, they can rebook their travel with one of our agents at the airport or update their travel online at alaskaair.com or contact our Reservations team at 1 (800) 252-7522.

Has Alaska Airlines installed social distancing stickers at airports they serve?

Yes. We’re installing social distancing decals to remind people to ‘Mind Your Wingspan,’ at each one of our airports where we fly. The stickers, spanning 6 feet apart, can be found at our ticketing counters, baggage drops, customer service centers and gate areas. The Alaska branded stickers will be deployed systemwide over the coming weeks.

Can families or large groups sit together if they want to on the plane?

Yes. Families or large groups who choose can sit together by reaching out to our Reservations team at 1 (800) 252-7522 or to one of our agents at the airport. Additionally, First Class seat sales are capped at 50 percent. Read more

Related:

Giving you the space and flexibility you need to mind your wingspan when flying Alaska

Post updated July 1

While health and government officials around the world continue to urge people to practice physical distancing, we know it can be challenging maintaining personal space on an aircraft. To help our guests, we’re taking additional precautions to help you create extra space on board, including:

  • Through July 31, 2020 and beyond, we’re limiting the number of guests on our flights and blocking select seats. Families or large groups may request to sit together. Learn more here.
  • Families or couples wanting to sit together can make the request with reservations in advance or at the airport on the day of travel.
  • There can be limited occasions where extra space cannot be guaranteed due to unforeseen changes such as reaccommodating guests from a previously canceled flight.
  • If you’re uncomfortable with the distance between you and others on your day of flight, please speak with a customer service agent about your options.

While this is a stressful time, it is important to remain calm and cooperate with airline staff. In a case where relocation may not be possible (due in part to aircraft weight and balance concerns), taking personal hygiene steps is also another way to help reduce your risk of contracting the virus.

Here are some other ways to ensure you’re keeping a safe distance when it comes to onboard service, crew interaction, boarding and more:

Before your flight

    • Check or change your seat assignment through the Alaska Airlines app or online. Note: If you purchased a Saver fare, you may need to wait until your departure date to request a seat change.
    • If we are unable to properly distance our guests on the aircraft, we will allow you to cancel or rebook your travel as part of our existing flexible travel options.

At the airport – mind your wingspan!

We’re installing social distancing decals to remind people to ‘Mind Your Wingspan,’ at each one of our airports where we fly. The stickers, spanning 6 feet apart, can be found at our ticketing counters, baggage drops, customer service centers and gate areas. The Alaska branded stickers will be deployed systemwide over the coming weeks.

    • Ask a check-in or gate agent for the opportunity to move your seat. Our employees will make sure you are seated with as much distance as the flight allows. Note: If you purchased a Saver fare, you will be able to request a new seat when you arrive at the gate.
    • On your way from the gate to the aircraft, we are doing our best to space out the boarding groups to limit crowding in the jetway.

Other safety measures to expect on board:

      • To align with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations and to keep our guests and employees safe, masks will be mandatory for all our guests starting May 11. Additionally, Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air employees who cannot maintain six feet of physical distance during interactions with guests or co-workers will also be required to wear masks starting May 4. This includes pilots, flight attendants and customer service agents.
      • Guests will be expected to bring their own mask and will be required to wear it throughout the airport and flight experience. Additional supplies will be available for those who forget their face masks. Specific details about the face mask requirements will be shared with guests in pre-trip communications before their date of travel. The temporary policy will be reevaluated periodically as guidance evolves.
      • We’ve updated our onboard service to limit the interaction between our flight crews and guests. Learn more.
      • We’ve removed all seatback contents, except for the safety card to limit the spread of germs.
      • We’ve enhanced our aircraft cleaning procedures between flights. Watch video.
      • We’ve suspended our warm towel service in First Class.
      • We’ve discontinued onboard sorting of recycling items to reduce touching guest-handled materials.
      • We’ll continue to collect and recycle materials on Horizon Air’s simplified service of water.
      • We’ve removed inflight entertainment tablets to make room for additional trash carts (except on flights to Hawaii and Florida).

Related:

Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden email to employees: ‘We must do better’

I am writing to share a letter I sent to our employees this weekend about the recent racist attacks, about racial injustice more broadly, and about the imperative for us all to work together to ensure our country is a place where all people are treated equally and have equal access to opportunity.  Black lives matter.  They matter in our company, onboard our aircraft and within our communities.

Hello,

I’m writing you this evening to acknowledge the pain, anxiety and stress that many of you, particularly black, brown and other employees of color, are appropriately feeling in the wake of recent racist attacks in our country. I want to say at the outset of this note that there is much work left to be done to make this country and our company places where everyone is accepted, respected, feels safe, and has equal access to opportunity, regardless of the color of their skin.  I want to do more and be better as a leader, and I’m asking you to join me in this effort.

The coronavirus pandemic is a public health crisis the likes of which none of us have seen in our lifetimes. We all know in our hearts, and data shows, that the impact of the virus on employment, health, and mortality is far more severe for Black Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Americans, Latinx, and Asian/Pacific Islanders than for others.

On top of the tragedy of the coronavirus, we’ve had the senseless and tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. It is sickening to see these occur in the present day.  We must be better than this. And I think we all also know that it’s not the responsibility of Black Americans and other communities of color to correct the conditions which led to the attacks. That responsibility lies with all of us.

As one very small step, Ben and I will be meeting in focused sessions this summer with several groups to listen and better understand the realities of our black and brown employees. We will be working with the Business Resource Groups such as ABEA (Air Group Black Employees Allies and Advocates) and others. It’s not enough, but we are grateful for the chance to listen and better understand what’s going on in our country today.  These factors have existed for generations and have impacted the experience and realities of our employees, guests, and communities.

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air are fortunate to have a diverse and culturally rich employee base. Working with our people from across the company has been one of the real honors of my life. Some of you have come to me, or other leaders, and you’ve shared your anxiety about the times. You’ve shared how you’ve had to teach your black and brown children how to act when confronted by police or other authorities to minimize the chance of escalation. You’ve shared that you’re nervous about your kids being out alone in the neighborhood. I want to make it clear that all of us at Alaska, starting with myself and those of us in leadership, stand with you as we stand behind you. We stand for helping one another and we stand for being good to one another. Being kind-hearted and doing the right thing are our values.

If any of you feel like you need help, need someone to talk to, or need other resources, please call the Employee Assistance Program. If you don’t feel that this is working, please talk with your Supervisor, or their Supervisor, or any of us in leadership.

At Alaska and Horizon, we have the gift of flying to and serving some of the most diverse regions of our country. We have the chance to be a role model for safety, respect, and dignity for each other and for our guests. Our country has made necessary and difficult changes in freedom and liberty and justice when we’ve collectively decided that enough is enough, and we must do better.

It is my fervent hope that the time for change is now, and that each one of us at Alaska and Horizon do everything we can to effect permanent and positive change in our company, in our communities, and in our country. I’m asking for your help with this. On our own, I don’t think we’ll solve the problem, but together I know we can.

Thank you for reading this and thank you for being the best people in the airline industry.

Sincerely,

Brad

Employees dance & share what Asian Pacific American Heritage Month means to them

The month of May marks Asian Pacific American Heritage month. As it comes to a close, we asked Alaska Airlines employees what this month means to them and how they have been celebrating in quarantine or during a lunch break.

“This month is a very special time where we get the chance to share our culture with the rest of the world. Tonga is known for being the friendliest island and so I’d like to keep that spirit alive whether I’m at work, home or out running errands. Be a light wherever you go.” — Ila Langi, a customer service agent in San Jose California

“This month has become a little more meaningful to me than it has in the past because I have finally taken initiative the past couple months to expand more on what I know of my culture. Especially being married to my husband, who knows the language and culture almost so fluently, he has helped me so much. He’s so encouraging and he makes it so enjoyable to learn and love our culture!” — Angelica Mapa, a customer service agent in San Jose California “Every day, I always try to make it a habit to pass on my knowledge to the younger generation in my family by trying to speak as much Tongan in the home and teach them traditions that we still hold on to today. At work, I always try to answer questions about my culture and heritage to anyone that asks. I always admire my coworkers who openly share what traditional foods they love to make or traditional events they keep up with their family because it also encourages me to share mine as well. It’s always a safe place to share about our heritage at work because no one judges,” she said.

Watch Ila & Angelica take over TikTok to celebrate API Month:

@illaa676

Wait till Sam comes in,he’s TONGAN at heart.We need a tulafale.(dc:@mtuipelehake) kataki toko we tried@mrsheitonga #fyp#polynesian#tongan

♬ original sound – lauakimasima

“This month means so much to me because not only does API month highlight my culture, it allows me to honor the generations before me that have paved the way for me, by their sacrifices and hard work. I am so blessed to have grown up in a multilingual household, and speaking multiple languages helps me stay connected to my heritage.” — Daniel Remigio, Seattle-based flight attendant

Watch Daniel & other Alaska employees hula to honor API Month

“When most people think of Polynesians, they usually think of song and dance, and rightfully so, as it is the root of our culture. Dating back thousands of years, singing and dancing has been an ancient tradition used to communicate and connect, from ceremonial rituals to preparing for war to reciting history through storytelling and more. And although hula might be one of the first types of dance that comes to mind, there are actually many forms of ancient melodic traditions from around the South Pacific, like Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand, Fiji and Tahiti. But no matter which island or country, we all share that same heartbeat of Polynesia through dance.” — Shanyn Wright, multimedia communications specialist

Shanyn Wright (middle) hula dancing with her mom (left) and sister (right).

Russell Wilson, Ciara, Macklemore, Joel McHale salute 2020 grads in special video

This is a senior year for high school and college graduates like none other.

Among so many things, the pandemic scuttled graduation ceremonies – one of life’s proudest moments. Those public events canceled for safety reasons.

But make no mistake: The Class of 2020 deserves to be cheered.

So, we brought together some of our friends to salute all graduating seniors in a special video, led by our Chief Football Officer Russell Wilson. He’s joined by Ciara, Macklemore, Joel McHale, Gov. Jay Inslee, a few surprise appearances and some of our frontline employees, as well as a personal message from Brad Tilden, our CEO.

“In world of uncertainty, one thing was certain for us – we needed the Class of 2020 to know their milestone moment still shines,” said Shaunta Hyde, Alaska’s managing director of community relations. “The importance and value of education should never find its way out of the spotlight. We see you! And, c’mon, graduating from high school or college is a huge deal!”

The short video is being shared today with more than 88,000 high-school seniors in Washington state by their school districts, and it’s landing in the inboxes of thousands of college graduates across the state. The video will also be shown during virtual graduation ceremonies in the weeks ahead.

To all graduates, congratulations! May you and your dreams continue to soar.

Feel free to share this post with family and friends on your favorite social media channels! And don’t forget to use our special hashtag #SeniorsTakeFlight and @alaskaair.