News

Flying with purpose: Alaska sets new climate goals, including net-zero carbon emissions by 2040

Each year we share how we’re caring for the planet and the people we serve in our annual sustainability report. This year we’re also setting our course for the future.

Today, we announced our commitment to reduce our climate impacts with new goals for carbon, waste, and water. We’ve set a course for net zero carbon emissions by 2040, with near-term 2025 targets to maintain carbon neutral growth from 2019. We also set goals to be the most fuel-efficient U.S. airline and cut the climate emissions from our ground equipment in half. We’ll keep up our industry-leading recycling program, continue to source more sustainable packaging for inflight service and offset our water use with investments in local ecology and habitats. With these goals, we are joining Amazon and over 100 other companies in signing The Climate Pledge, a commitment to be net zero carbon across our business 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement.

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Doing the right thing

One of our core values is to do the right thing, and that means reducing the impact of air travel on the environment. Our most significant environmental impact is through greenhouse gas emissions produced through the burning of jet fuel. That’s why we’ve prioritized the work to burn and emit less fuel, to employ greener alternatives and ultimately to transform aviation for a more sustainable future and to keep the incredible destinations we serve beautiful and viable for generations to come.

“Air travel connects us to our friends and families, helps us understand one another, and helps communities across the globe grow and thrive,” said Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci. But we know that to live our purpose, creating an airline people love, we must operate every day in a way that cares for both people and the environment. That’s why we’ve set out on this bold path to reduce our climate impact near and long term.”

Our Roadmap

There are five parts of our path to net zero:

1. Fleet renewal

We recently finalized our order for up to 120 Boeing 737-9 MAX aircraft, with four already delivered this year. Our newest MAX aircraft are 22% more fuel-efficient on a seat-by-seat basis than the aircraft they replace. And we’ll continue to test and adopt technology to further improve our fleet’s efficiency.

2. Operational efficiency

We’re focused on embedding efficiency and sustainability into our culture. That means continuing our leadership in standardizing operational best practices and using technology for the lowest emissions possible. We’re also expanding our use of technology to optimize flight routes for emissions savings, working with the government to make the best use of our airspace, moving toward electric and other renewable options for our ground equipment and working with airports to ensure infrastructure available to support it. We will also continue responsible construction and energy use throughout our facilities – like our LEED-certified hangar in Anchorage and employee “Hub” in Seattle.

3. Sustainable aviation fuel

With up to 80% lower carbon emissions than traditional jet fuel, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is the best possible option to decarbonize medium- and long-distance flying within the next few decades. Alaska has piloted use of different types of SAF for over a decade, and SAF is now certified as safe and available as a fuel to mix with traditional fuel. We currently use and are partnering to advance SAF production, with Neste and SkyNRG. We’ve also partnered with Microsoft to offset the carbon impact of their employees’ travel from Seattle to San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles with sustainable aviation fuel.

SAF represents even greater potential to reduce emissions with government support to increase supply and commercial viability of these fuels, which don’t currently exist in sufficient volume to power US flights. That’s why we’re supporting research at Washington State University to advance SAF in the Pacific Northwest, partnering with other companies to grow use of SAF, and working with the oneworld alliance and Airlines for America to support SAF production globally. This is an area that will take collective action to advance.

Related: Q&A: Why is Alaska Airlines using sustainable aviation fuel in San Francisco?
4. Novel propulsion

Novel propulsion essentially means increasing the use of electric or alternative power without fossil fuels. We believe that increasingly electrified options will be available for regional aircraft by 2040 and are evaluating partnerships and in-kind exchanges with the goal of enabling these emerging and decarbonizing technologies. Alaska’s sister regional airline, Horizon Air, is well positioned to explore this exciting, innovative opportunity in the decades ahead.

5. Credible, high-quality carbon offsetting technology

Aviation is one of the hardest sectors to decarbonize, so credible carbon offsets may be needed to close the gap to our net zero target by 2040, and until SAF and novel propulsion become viable and available at scale. We’ll work with science advisory firm Carbon Direct to identify and vet carbon offsets that add net offset value, are verified in carbon accounting, do no harm, are durable, and don’t just displace emissions to another project.

What does this mean for you?

You can read more about our commitments to fly greener, reduce waste and offset our water use in our Alaska Airlines 2020 LIFT Sustainability Report. In it, you will see more details on our approach to social and environmental stewardship across the company.

Meanwhile, there are things every flyer can do to partner with us on this journey. Want to offset your carbon footprint? Good news! You can invest in carbon offsets with our partner, The Good Traveler, in locally based and high-quality projects to restore the climate balance. Since its founding by San Diego International Airport in 2015, The Good Traveler helped removed 230 million pounds of CO2 from the air by funding projects like tree planting, habitat protection, waste composting and renewable energy. Packing lighter, using our app, pre-ordering your onboard meal, and bringing your own reusable water bottle to #FillBeforeYouFly all contribute to reducing our collective impact.

This is a long-term journey, and it will take all of us. Thank you for having high expectations of us, and for joining us on the journey.

‘I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams’: Albany State Alum shares the importance of HBCUs’ history, legacy and excellence

Travel Writer & HBCU Alum Colby Holiday visiting Amsterdam 12 years after her first trip to the city through her HBCU college program.

Long before Beyoncé brought Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to center stage at Coachella, experiences alike were cultivated by trailblazers centuries before and continue toward a more equitable future.

HBCUs were created out of necessity at a time when Blacks in America were prohibited from attending higher education institutions that were predominantly white. Today, there are now 107 HBCUs that provide education for students from all socio-economic backgrounds while continuing the legacy and commitment to Black education.

‘HBCUs are the embodiment of legacy, history and Black excellence.’

HBCUs have been a vehicle and driving force in the fight for equality and liberation. From freedom fighters to world-renowned writers, from aeronautical math geniuses to the Vice President of the United States. Some of the world’s most notable legends, leaders and innovators have emerged from these institutions.

‘I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams.’

I am a first-generation college graduate. My HBCU experience was immensely transformative. Not only because I finally had professors who looked like me, but because they taught me what was waiting for me on the other side and prepared me for the road ahead.

“A Past to Cherish. A Future to Fulfill” is the motto of my alma mater, the “Unsinkable,” Albany State University. Those words resonate every time I drive down Georgia Highway 300 — a road that used to be lined with cotton fields and dotted with plantations that once housed enslaved people.

The saying honors our past and people whose blood was shed and lives were lost in those fields. It’s a reminder to be eternally grateful for those who came before us, those who weren’t afforded the right to an education. Even if they, the people who diligently fought for those rights themselves, never saw the fruits of their fervent labor.

‘I wanted to be surrounded by people like me, my culture.’

I didn’t learn about HBCUs through legacy or lineage. In fact, I didn’t have a frame of reference for college at all. I learned about them through the television show A Different World. I didn’t know much, but I knew I wanted to attend a university like Hillman, the fictional HBCU portrayed in the series. As someone who grew up in a small, predominantly white town in Northwest Georgia, I wanted to experience something different.

Vice President, and HBCU graduate Kamala Harris, said it best, “What you learn at an HBCU is you do not have to fit into somebody’s limited perspective on what it means to be young, gifted and Black.”

Holiday, a first-generation college graduate, in her cap and gown at her commencement ceremony at Albany State University.

It was at Albany State University, a school affiliated with UNCF, where teachers like Dr. Bennett, my business communications professor, demanded excellence and nothing less. Mediocracy wasn’t an option because she knew I would have to fight twice as hard to get half as much as other individuals. She was hard on her students because she knew the world would not be easy on us.

Then, there were professors like Mr. Hankerson, my English lit professor who was also my first Black male teacher. The gravity of that alone is astounding.

It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college when I experienced the academic scope through a Black male teacher’s lens — a lens that defied society’s stereotypes of who and what a Black man represents. He was a man of the arts, with a palpable passion for literature. He was my favorite professor by far, simply for his ability to get you so entranced in the literature through his own unique storytelling and spinning the stories in a way that made it relatable to modern-day life. He challenged me to be a better writer and a better storyteller.

Albany State provided me a sense of belonging. It was a place where I could shed the layers of assimilation and the idea of fitting into whatever box I was expected to be in. I realized the viable impact of being taught by teachers who looked like me and the importance of Black role models who paved paths before me who now lead prominent positions.

‘I finally felt I could fully thrive and rid myself from feeling like my blackness was a burden or my existence was a threat to society.’

Representation matters. The defining moments of my HBCU experience were the life lessons that weren’t a part of the syllabus; the history not found in the text books. It was the community and the we’re in this togetherness that forged lifelong friendships and redefined what it meant to be family. This was my HBCU experience. One I wouldn’t trade for the world, and one I encourage all young Black students to consider experiencing for themselves.

The sky is the limit

Beyond the curriculum, Albany State is where I was introduced to the world of international travel through a college program that stationed students on American military bases around the globe as camp counselors.

Holiday with her camp kids in Darmstadt, Germany 2006.

My first flight was at the age of 21. I flew to Germany, where I lived for three months. It was a life-changing experience that led me to live the travel-loving, location-independent lifestyle I do today. My mission is to empower and inspire other young, Black travelers to do the same.

It is programs like this and Alaska Airlines’ LIFT Miles program, in partnership with UNCF, that affords HBCU students the opportunities to pursue their dreams. I would have never been able to financially afford such an experience had my college program not sponsored me, and I know so many other students can relate. For this, I am forever thankful for the programs that put minority college students in a position to reach new heights.

Holiday visiting Tripsdrill Theme Park in Germany, 2006.

I especially love Alaska’s UNCF LIFT Miles program because it has consistently showed up for minority students over the past 15 years and counting. Not only does the program support HBCU students with flights home for the holidays, but they fly students to college tours at HBCUs, career development opportunities and other UNCF programs.

With over 7 million miles contributing and donated, Alaska’s flights help students overcome the financial obstacles of getting a college education.

Cook up an ideal getaway: Chef Renee Erickson shares her favorite oneworld destinations to travel for the best food

Seattle chef Renee Erickson’s new book, “Getaway,” includes recipes inspired by her travels – including a tomatillo and avocado salsa evocative of Baja, Mexico. (Photo by Ingrid Barrentine)

International travel has always been transformative for Renee Erickson, an award-winning chef and restaurateur in Alaska Airlines’ hometown of Seattle. It all began with a trip to Rome.

Erickson was a 21-year-old art student who found herself drawn to bustling markets filled with seasonal produce and cheesemongers handing out samples. She remembers little cookies being offered while standing in line for pizza bianca – and the gelato and negronis that she would skip lunch to afford.

“It was the moment when I woke up to the idea of other cultures and how food was at the center,” Erickson says. “I came home and immediately started thinking about how I could go back.”

Rome launched a culinary journey that led Erickson to buy her first Seattle restaurant when she was just 25. She’s since explored cuisines across Europe from Paris to Normandy and London – all destinations accessible to Alaska guests through our oneworld partners.

Those travels shaped Erickson’s group of Seattle restaurants, including The Walrus and the Carpenter, her lauded oyster bar inspired by French brasseries. And now her love of food and travel come together in her newest book, “Getaway,” a cookbook-meets-travel memoir publishing April 27.

She’s always exploring new places – with Baja, Mexico, a more recent favorite (and accessible to Alaska guests via Cabo San Lucas and Loreto). But Italy remains her first travel love.

And while COVID-19 restrictions still prohibit travel to Europe, Erickson hopes the recipes and memories in her book will transport readers – and whet their appetites for future travel.

Here, Erickson shares a few travel tips to savor some of her favorite places:

ROME

“The magic of getting on a plane and ending up in Rome is just mind-blowing to this day,” Erickson says. “I can’t believe that in nine hours, I’m going to be sipping espresso in Piazza Navona. It’s the greatest thing.” Erickson visiting Rome in fall 1994.

“When my husband Dan and I talk about travel or dream about having an apartment, it’s always Rome. It’s the combination of history and art being everywhere, on top of a culture that’s obsessed with food and wine. And it’s a bit crazy. It’s loud and dirty and beautiful. I feel comfortable there, and I think that has to do with being there so young.”

What to eat: “Go to Testaccio, a market outside of the center. Spend some time and eat some food there. Try these great little pizzette snacks. (There’s also a recipe in my book.) You’ll also get to sample all kinds of vegetables, and there’s a cheese guy who will give you five different samples of pecorino that are all different.”

What to drink, ideally at sunset: ”Make sure you have a negroni somewhere on a piazza.”

PARIS AND NORMANDY

A perfect afternoon snack at Le Café de la Nouvelle Mairie.

“As a young chef and restaurant owner, I wanted to go to Paris because it had tons of restaurants and the experience of dining was masterful there. It was an invigorating place to be and still has some of my favorite restaurants.”

Dining at the market in Deauville.

Where to go in Paris: “La Buvette, a shop that sells delicious snacks like white beans with lemon oil, incredible patés, and a lovely selection of wines, is a must. I am also a huge fan of Martin, a raucous wine bar with the sweetest little pup named Saucisse, who checks everyone out. My favorite spot might be Le Café de la Nouvelle Mairie, which has lovely simple food, a beautiful tree-lined street and friendly people.”

What to eat in Normandy: “There’s a shellfish market in Deauville where the ships come in and unload everything, and you can have these giant plateaus of seafood with wine. Nothing fancy. You sit out on the street eating the most delicious oysters that they shuck for you right there and shrimp that they’ve just cooked. They give you a little aioli to dip them in, and they give you some rye bread. And that to me is the perfect meal in Normandy.”

LONDON

Erickson and her husband, Dan Crookston, in London, 2016.

“The last time we were in London was two Decembers ago when a friend had an art show there. We went to the Columbia Road Flower Market. London, especially, does flowers better than anyone. They had amaryllis that were 4 feet long and something like $3 apiece, and I said, ‘Let’s buy a dozen!’ They were so extravagant and so big and so beautiful.”

What to eat: “There’s this place called the Marksman Pub that I love. Try to eat a well-sourced version of classic British food – like something that would have been cooked 100 years ago. Dishes like Yorkshire pudding and peas and haddock, or any sort of meat pie, and beer.”

One food myth: “If people still think that England has bad food, they’re wrong. London is probably one of the top three cities that I would happily go back to any day to eat. It’s dynamic, super sophisticated, and has unbelievably delicious food.”

BAJA, MEXICO

Sunset in Todos Santos, Mexico.

“Baja is so easy to get to from Seattle, just four hours away by plane. And the climate is so different, but still on the water, which I love. It’s like Joshua Tree by the Pacific Ocean. I love to buy a whole fish from the fishermen and cook it. I’ll take a jar of olive oil and salt with me, and make sure to get fruit, veggies and tortillas, plus tequila, of course.”

What to eat: “Fish tacos in Baja are the best. Depending on where you are in Baja, there are different traditions. Try as many as you can. They have giant clams there, too. You can eat them raw, but they also grill them and put salsas in them on the grill. They’re round like a manila clam, but they’re like the size of your fist—it’s pretty fun.”

Best advice: “Don’t be afraid of eating street food. In Italy, I like to follow construction workers into a restaurant. In Baja, I follow construction workers into a taco shop. I want to eat where they’re eating.”

Baja-inspired recipe: Tomatillo and Avocado Salsa

Ingredients:

    • 12 tomatillos, husks removed
    • 1 small ripe avocado, halved, pitted, and peeled
    • 1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves and stems included (about 2 cups/80 g)
    • Zest and juice from 2 small limes (about 3 tablespoons juice)
    • 1 serrano chile, stem removed
    • Salt
    • Makes about 1 cup (240 ml)

Directions:
In a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, cook the tomatillos until charred on one side, about 5 minutes. Turn the tomatillos and continue cooking until they are browned on most surfaces and softening, another 10 to 12 minutes.

Slip the tomatillos into a bowl and cover with a plate. Let steam for 10 minutes, then place the tomatillos in a blender with the avocado, cilantro, lime zest and juice, serrano, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Buzz until very smooth. Taste and season with more salt or lime juice, if desired.

Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator until ready to eat. It will keep well for 2 to 3 days.

Renee’s top 10 things to pack:

In her carry-on:

  • A liter metal water bottle that she fills to prevent dehydration. (#FillBeforeYouFly)
  • Dark chocolate (when the weather isn’t too warm)
  • Almonds
  • Satsumas (a variety of mandarin oranges) in the winter. “They’re easy to peel and they just smell so good.”

In her suitcase:

  • One chef’s knife in carbon steel. “It’s really easy to keep sharp.”
  • A microplane for zesting and grating
  • A wine key
  • A travel kit with a mini mandolin and mini cheese grater. “I love having a mandolin to slice onions and fennel to make salads. These are sharp things that make your life easier.”
  • Sea salt – unless it’s easily available in her destination, like in Italy and France
  • Olive oil

Alaska Airlines to open new lounge in San Francisco this summer

New lounge membership pricing to take effect this fall

Late this summer, we’ll be opening a new Alaska Lounge at San Francisco International Airport’s Terminal 2.

We’ll move into the former American Airlines Admirals Club space, which will allow us to open a new lounge quickly as guests start to return to travel.

“We’re always looking for ways to be more responsive to our guests and amenities that make travel more relaxing. SFO has been the top-requested Alaska Lounge location by our guests for years,” said Sangita Woerner, SVP of marketing and guest experience. “So many people are dreaming of travel this year, so we wanted to open up our newest Alaska Lounge as quickly and efficiently as possible – and renovating this space in Terminal 2 allows us to do that.”

About the new lounge:

When completed, the lounge at SFO will be the second-largest Alaska Lounge, just under 10,000 square ft.

The space is centrally located in Terminal 2, with easy access to additional dining and shopping options for guests

The lounge will have an espresso bar staffed by a trained barista, a full bar featuring complimentary local craft brews, West Coast wines and spirits and a wine selection of guest favorites like made-to-order pancakes from our famous pancake printer, steel-cut oatmeal, fresh salads and hearty soups.

“We’re thrilled to welcome the opening of the Alaska Lounge at SFO,” said SFO Airport Director Ivar C. Satero. “As the recovery of air travel continues, travelers can look forward to more and more amenities at SFO. The Alaska Lounge offers a great way for people to relax, recharge, and enjoy the friendly service that they’re known for.”

Alaska in the Bay Area:

We’re continuing to expand our presence in the Bay Area. We now operate more than 80 daily flights from Bay Area airports (San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland). In June, we’ll begin service to Anchorage and Bozeman, Montana from SFO. We also recently announced:

  • As of April 4, we resumed service to Honolulu and Maui from SFO.
  • We’ll resume service to Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta from SJC in early April.
  • We’ll begin new service to Missoula, Montana, from SJC starting in May.

New lounge membership pricing:

Beginning in October, we’ll be updating our lounge membership structure to give members more options and flexibility as we work to control our costs.

This fall, we’ll offer two tiers of lounge memberships:

  • Alaska Lounge: Members will receive access to all Alaska Lounges when flying on any airline.
  • Alaska Lounge Plus: Members will receive access to all Alaska Lounges and an extended network of partner airline lounges across the country, including all American Airlines Admirals Clubs.

Pricing will update to the following, remaining as one of the best values for lounge membership in the industry:

  • Alaska Lounge membership: $450 annually ($350 for Alaska Airlines MVP, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75k members)
  • Alaska Lounge Plus membership: $600 annually ($500 for Alaska Airlines MVP, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75k members)
  • New lounge membership enrollments and renewals made before Alaska’s two-tier structure goes into effect in October will be grandfathered into an Alaska Lounge Plus membership for the duration of the membership period.

Eight things to know about Alaska’s new CEO, Ben Minicucci

Ben Minicucci sees exciting growth on the horizon for Alaska Airlines as he takes the controls as CEO, replacing Brad Tilden, who retired last month after a 30-year career. Looking forward in his new role, Minicucci says Alaska is poised to emerge stronger out of the pandemic. He also reflects on his long partnership with Tilden and shares what the future looks like for people who fly and work for the fifth largest airline in the United States.

While CEO, Tilden led Alaska to become the industry leader in customer satisfaction, and will continue as chair of Alaska’s Board of Directors.

“At Alaska, I know I’ve got everyone counting on me to make sure we guide this airline through whatever is ahead. I have the responsibility, along with 23,000 people, to build on the fantastic legacy of this company.” – Ben Minicucci, Alaska Airlines CEO and President

1. What is unique about Alaska that you will protect and grow as CEO?

Minicucci: Our company has always had strong values around safety and around people. When we merged with Virgin America, we rewrote our values to really reflect who we are: “Own safety. Be kind-hearted. Do the right thing. Deliver performance. Be remarkable.” and our purpose: “Creating an airline people love.” It was a fun exercise to lead but it was also challenging to get a bunch of people aligned on what was at the root of our success. We aligned on these five values, which encompass everything to me that characterizes our success.

2. How has working with Brad Tilden for 17 years influenced you as a leader?

Minicucci: Working with Brad, with his love for the airline and what makes the airline special – the importance of our people and our culture and values – Brad really imprinted that on me. Also, how to survive the ups and downs of the cyclical industry we’re in, and that low costs and low fares are how to get growth. Over the years, as we ran the business as tightly as we could, we never forgot about the other side of the business — creating a culture with our people and delivering great customer service.

During the years Tilden was CEO and Minicucci was president, they worked in lockstep through the ambitious acquisition of Virgin America and the expansion of the Alaska brand. Together, with the entire executive team and Alaska employees, they pledged Alaska’s commitments to racial equity and vowed that the diversity of the leadership will match the diversity of the front-line workforce by 2025. And together they navigated the challenges of the pandemic, implementing Next-Level Care policies to keep guests and employees safe.

3. Your parents were immigrants, moving to Canada in the 1950s. How did your family’s experience shape you?

Minicucci: My parents left after the war in Italy because there was no work, and my father never went to school because, at the time, it was so poor in Italy. So, the work he did was work you do with your hands and your back. My parents worked hard to put food on the table, a roof over our heads, and they believed the way you progress in life was to go to school and get an education and work hard. And they worked to afford a house, and they had gardens where they planted all sorts of fruits and vegetables. They would make sausages and salami and prosciutto, and they made wine every fall. To me, that’s what it was like when you grew up. You just took care of yourself.

When I was 17, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I decided to enter the military and attend the Royal Military College — like the West Point for Canada. I got my engineering degree, and I was fortunate. I was posted to a Transport Squadron and went all over the world. I was responsible for a C-130 and B707 maintenance crew and learned so much about leadership and a lot about aircraft maintenance, and what it meant to be responsible for men and women and be deployed. And it was just an amazing formation early in my career that ended up helping me throughout my professional life.

“For me, equity and diversity goes back to my parents. When they came here, I had the opportunity to get educated. If I wanted to work for it, I could be everything I wanted to be. And that’s what I want people to feel at our airline. I want to provide opportunities for growth and education so you can aspire to whatever job you like. And our leadership team, when you look at them, you should see yourself reflected.” – Minicucci

4. You’ve said diversity, equity and inclusion has been a journey for you. How will you make DEI a priority at Alaska?

Minicucci: So much has happened in our country over the last 12 months with the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor and too many others before. We conducted a lot of listening sessions with employees. And when you talk with our people, you realize the depth of challenges with respect to racial equity. We are far from being where we need to be as a company that’s really diverse and inclusive, particularly a leadership team that’s representative of our front line. Those sessions opened my eyes. When you look at what we’ve done in the last 10 years, we’ve made progress — but not enough progress. So, we’ve got work to do.

I want our company to be a place where people feel like they belong, no matter who you are, where you’re from, your sexual orientation, gender, race, disability, background or language. We want to create a company where people know they belong and they say, “You know what? I feel good here and comfortable to be who I am and can be my best. And my company invests in people.”

I truly believe that one of the best paths to racial equity is through education. We have a wonderful partnership with UNCF and other great organizations, and have worked with local school districts to support youth and education. We want to continue supporting institutions with underrepresented students and communities where we can invest to create opportunities and help make those communities stronger.

5. Rumor has it, you’re trained in mindfulness or practice meditation. How does that play a role in your life and as a leader?

Minicucci: I’ve been really diligent about it, especially in the last six months. I actually took a course in transcendental meditation, which is an easy type of meditation. And I do it twice a day for 20 minutes. What I love about it is it calms me down. These jobs can get really stressful, and it helps me find balance. The second thing that I love is it gives me clarity of thought. So, as you’re bouncing from one topic to another, one meeting to another, it helps give me clarity so I can be the best for those I work with and focus on what’s important. I am actually addicted to it now. When I don’t do it, I find that maybe I’m not at my best. So, it’s really helped me.

“With all the enhanced safety measures we’ve put into our Next-Level Care, when Alaska guests are ready to fly, we’re ready to take them where they want to go,” said Minicucci after traveling to Hawaii when the islands reopened to visitors last October.

6. Many people haven’t flown in over a year. What has Alaska done to ensure the safety of its guests and employees?

Minicucci: Since the pandemic started, our priority has been our guests’ and employees’ safety. We doubled down on that and we introduced Next-Level Care with 100 safety action items. But what I got excited about is how we communicated this to our guests. Safety policies always seem a little rigid — you know, you have to wear your mask, you’ve got to keep your distance from people, and so forth. So, we implemented all these things, yet we wanted to do it our way, the Alaska way. And then, our team came up with the “Safety Dance” idea, and we got our employees involved, which was key. We wanted to communicate that these are the safety expectations when you fly with us and communicate that in a clever, witty, funny way.

7. How is Alaska’s alliance with oneworld a game-changer for its guests?

Minicucci: I can’t tell you how excited I am about oneworld. One of my aspirations is to get Alaska on the national map – to be viewed not simply as a regional airline. What oneworld does is open the world to our airline and customers. I’ll use Seattle as an example: We have a massive domestic network in Seattle. And when you add our oneworld partners, we’ll add at least seven international destinations out of Seattle. For loyal customers of Alaska, they can accrue miles on Alaska and redeem them on British Airways, Qantas, Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, among others. The ability to redeem and accrue miles, and access the 650 worldwide lounges in the alliance, wherever an Alaska customer is, make their Mileage Plan benefits go so much further.

We also have an alliance with American Airlines, the West Coast International Alliance, where our customers can access American’s international and domestic network across the country. All of this is huge in terms of accessibility and benefits, priority bags and priority boarding, so it’s a really exciting springboard for growth.

8. What do you want people to think of when they hear “Alaska Airlines”?

Minicucci: I want people to smile at the thought of Alaska Airlines and say, “Alaska’s a great company.” Not just because we’re a great airline, but also for what we stand for. Whether it’s racial equity, the environment, how we treat our people or how we treat our customers and run the business—it’s all done with the utmost integrity and through our values.

And when I say I want Alaska to be on the national map, it means I want people to say, “I wish they flew everywhere. I want them to fly everywhere so I can fly them all the time.”

Ben’s Firsts & Favorites:

First job in aviation: The Canadian Armed Forces.
First time on an airplane: “I was about 10 when I visited my grandparents in Italy. I can’t remember what type of aircraft or airline but remember sitting by the L1 door and it was very noisy.”
First job at Alaska + one thing from that job that stays with him: 2004, staff vice president of maintenance. “I’ll always remember a graveyard shift I worked with mechanics at the line and how much I enjoyed it.”
Favorite travel destination: Hawaii.
Must-pack item for any flight: Workout clothes.
Favorite sport: Cycling trips with friends. “We’ve been to Corsica, we’ve been to Italy, France, Spain – I just love doing big weeklong bike trips around the world.”
One thing people are surprised to learn about you: “My taste in movies. I love to laugh, and I love movies that are silly – like Will Ferrell movies. Everything from ‘Talladega Nights’ to ‘Wedding Crashers’ to ‘We’re the Millers.’ A lot of people think I’m into sophisticated stuff, but I just want to watch movies that make me laugh.”

What does oneworld mean for me?

Photo by Ingrid Barrentine

We’re in a celebrating mood at Alaska Airlines.

Today, March 31, marks our official first day as the newest member of oneworld. It’s a major milestone – for the first time in our 89-year history, we’ve joined an airline alliance. We’re now part of a family of the world’s best airlines.

As Alaska joins forces with 13 member airlines in oneworld, you might be wondering: What does this mean for me?

There’s plenty of goodness. Starting right away, oneworld opens a world of travel possibilities for all our flyers.

As a Mileage Plan member, you can earn Alaska miles on all 14 member airlines when you fly to as many as 1,000* destinations in more than 170 countries and territories. And as part of oneworld, we’ll have dedicated resources that will allow us to better help you when you’re traveling on a member airline.

“As our guests return to the skies after a year of staying close to home, we’re eager to showcase the advantages of seamless travel with our membership in oneworld,” said Ben Minicucci, Alaska’s CEO. “The alliance transforms Alaska into a truly global airline, connecting our strong West Coast network and destinations across North America with the worldwide reach of our alliance partners.”

If you’re an elite flyer with Alaska – someone who has earned MVP, MVP Gold or MVP Gold 75K with us – there’s a lot to get excited about.

Many of the benefits our elite flyers currently enjoy will seamlessly carry over to the oneworld tiers when they travel on any of the member airlines. You’re an MVP Gold? Without doing a thing, you now also have Sapphire tier status in oneworld (75K fliers are Emerald and MVPs are Ruby in the alliance).

Depending on your tier status, oneworld travel privileges can include priority check-in, access to more than 650* international first and business class lounges, preferred boarding, fast track through security, priority baggage benefits and more.

For example, for a traveler such as Kayla, an Alaska MVP Gold 75K who lives in Seattle, the benefits are incredible. Here’s why:

She just booked a trip to Tokyo in September to catch up with friends. She chose to fly oneworld member Japan Airlines. Why? Because she’ll earn Alaska miles on her trip. Plus, since she invested in extra comfort and booked business class, she’ll earn a heap of bonus miles.

With Alaska being a member of oneworld, she’ll enjoy all the Priority benefits on Japan Airlines that come with oneworld Emerald tier status, which includes lounge access in the airline’s Business Class Sakura Lounge, priority security, priority boarding and priority baggage.

In November, she plans to visit family in Barcelona. To get there, she’ll redeem Alaska Mileage Plan miles she’s saved up for flights on American Airlines and Iberia, both oneworld members. Along the way, she’ll once again receive the same Priority benefits for her oneworld Emerald tier status.

Capturing elite status on Alaska can happen sooner than you think. You can become an MVP once 20,000 eligible miles are earned, which then gives you oneworld Ruby tier status. And through June 30, 2021, you can accrue 50% more Mileage Plan elite-qualifying miles on Alaska flights to help you attain status faster.

Before you know it, you can be redeeming miles for bucket list adventures – maybe sunning in the Maldives, a safari in South Africa, an epic journey to India.

The 14 members of oneworld ready to take you nearly anywhere are: Alaska Airlines; American Airlines; British Airways; Cathay Pacific Airways; Finnair; Iberia; Japan Airlines; Malaysia Airlines; Qantas; Qatar Airways; Royal Air Maroc; Royal Jordanian; S7 Airlines and SriLankan Airlines. Fiji Airways is a oneworld connect partner offering select services and benefits on sponsored airlines.

Get the latest on Alaska’s membership in oneworld at alaskaair.com/oneworld.

As part of Alaska becoming an official member of oneworld, we have a special livery joining our fleet. The aircraft is donned with the signature blue oneworld orb and will fly its inaugural flight today. By this summer, we’ll have three oneworld liveries in our fleet. Photo by Ingrid Barrentine.

See the livery (paint scheme) come to life from start to finish:

Watch other member airlines welcome us to oneworld:

NOTE: * pre-COVID figures

Six things to know about Alaska’s new DEI Director James Thomas

James Thomas in March 2021 / photo by Ingrid Barrentine

This week we are thrilled to welcome James Thomas, an exceptional leader who will help lead Alaska Airlines in delivering on our commitments and goals as director of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

Thomas joins us from the world of wine at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates near the Seattle area, serving as its first-ever director of inclusion, equity and diversity. We couldn’t be more excited to work with James, and we know he will do great things for our guests, employees and company.

“I have always said this work is about humans,” said James. “My motto is: ‘if I can help just one person, then I’ve made a difference.’”

Learn more about him, his vision for Alaska’s DEI efforts and, of course, where he wants to fly next below.

Q&A with James Thomas

1. What are you most excited about in your new role at Alaska, and what do you hope to achieve?

James flew Alaska on his first ever trip to Hawaii and Oahu back in 2013—he says it’s one of his favorite trips.

James: I’m a believer that timing is everything, and nothing happens by chance. This stage we’re at in our DEI journey right now is powerful, and I’m excited to be part of it. I’ve always been an Alaska guest, and I’m even more of a fan now that we’re taking bold and courageous steps in the DEI space. I hope to continue to push us on that path, perhaps in ways we haven’t considered.

I know it sounds cliché, but I want to leave it better than I found it. More importantly, I want to make a systemic change that lives beyond any one person. That’s the measure of true change.

2. What’s your take on our DEI goals and commitments – do you have thoughts on how to achieve them, and is there an area you see that needs more attention?

James: I was thrilled to see Alaska’s goals and commitments. To come out publicly and share what the organization wants to accomplish is commendable. I also believe commitments and goals are only as good as the ability to execute and achieve them; otherwise, they are just words.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this work, and it requires thoughtful conversations, intentions and time to create meaningful, lasting change. That said, we will need to be intentional in moving from a space of dialogue and conversation to action.

My first objective is to listen to understand the unique challenges we face at Alaska. From there, we will take strategic steps forward to address this work. I’m eager to tackle the goal of cultivating an inclusive environment that supports our company’s ability to recruit, develop and retain talent. It’s imperative our employees feel safe and welcome, seen and valued, and they can authentically show up every day and be themselves.

I also believe diversity, equity and inclusion help our business. I’m looking forward to helping educate leaders on leveraging diversity to grow our company and create an inclusive brand all customers feel connected to.

3. Where would you like to see Alaska’s DEI program in 3 to 5 years?

James: I’d like to look back and say as a company that we exceeded our goals and are a leader in the DEI space. More than anything, I want guests and employees to say they feel and experience what we say they should experience. So when we say our commitment is guests should always feel welcome on board and our employees deserve to feel safe and a sense of belonging when they come to work, it isn’t just words but truly their experience. The result is as, if not more, important as the desire and commitment to get there.

4. What lessons will you bring to the aviation industry from the wine industry?

James: In the wine industry, a great vino is all in the details. Many variables make or break wine, from the types of grapes used to the fermentation process to the temperature during the winemaking process and more.

BTS of James’ interview with Ste. Michelle Wine Estates CEO David Dearie for the launch of “Diversity Under the Cork,” an internal video series he created and launched focused on authentic conversations about diversity.

The airline industry is similarly unique because it’s the gateway to the world — serving and employing people from around the globe with different cultures, languages and backgrounds. The details may not always be apparent at first glance, but they are essential.

Alaska has a rich history and reputation synonymous for many with quality and customer service. The differentiator will be our ability to identify the details and be the best at them. I’m looking forward to helping Alaska be better at executing the details of DEI that will help improve the overall employee and guest experience while contributing to business excellence and growth.

5. If you haven’t traveled during the pandemic, where is the first place you’ll fly?

James: Although I have safely traveled during the pandemic (albeit locally in the states), I’m looking forward to traveling internationally.

A socially distant selfie in the vineyards of Napa and Sonoma from Oct. 2020. James visited Ste. Michelle Wine Estates employees and properties in the aftermath of the California wildfires to ensure they were okay.

I had a trip to Europe planned for 2020, which included one of my bucket list countries of Portugal. Unfortunately, because of COVID, my trip had to be canceled. When things get better, I’d like to get this trip back on the schedule for sure.

6. Fun fact about you:

James: Many people don’t know I have a Harley motorcycle and like to ride on a sunny, warm day in beautiful Washington state. I’ve only been riding for eight years, but I tell people I love the way the wind feels blowing through my hair (wink, wink).

James on his motorcycle.

Join us in welcoming James Thomas to Alaska!

Constance von Muehlen becomes COO at Alaska Airlines

Photo by Ingrid Barrentine.

Breaking barriers is nothing new for Constance von Muehlen, our newly appointed chief operating officer. At age seven, she had her eyes set on becoming a helicopter pilot. Years later, she served as an officer  in the United States Army and became a Black Hawk helicopter pilot. On April 3, 2021, she will make Alaska Airlines history by becoming the first female COO. Today, 40% of Alaska’s executive leadership team are women.

“I think women often limit themselves in imagining where we can contribute and end up, and I’m certainly an example of that. I am grateful that people, perhaps more perceptive than myself, have seen my skills in action and said I would be good at this and provided me that opportunity,” says von Muehlen.

Most recently, von Muehlen was Alaska’s senior vice president of our maintenance and engineering division. She led all safety, compliance and operational performance of our airline’s mainline Boeing and Airbus fleet. This is not the first COO position she has held within Alaska Air Group. From 2018 to 2019, von Muehlen also served as COO at Horizon Air, our regional airline.

“I’ve managed a lot of complexity in my career while finding ways to simplify, as well as anticipating our business’s demands and will continue to do so as COO. The most fundamental thing I’ve learned as a leader is taking the team we have and unlocking each individual’s potential to be the very best contributor they can be. When we do that and come together, we’re unstoppable,” she said.

With 30 years of aviation experience, von Muehlen brings a strong foundation of safety and operational excellence to the COO role. We sat down with her to discuss this appointment’s significance, her leadership style, and who inspires her (hint — it’s all of our guests and employees). Check the Q&A below.

Q&A

You will be named the first female COO at Alaska, as we celebrate Women’s History Month, what does that mean to you and the women in the industry and beyond?

Constance: “It is super humbling to me. My desire to represent women well is that much higher given the role I’ll serve because I want to make sure there is no doubt in anybody’s mind that all women are capable of this type of work and performance. I’m also excited to bring a different perspective to the role and a new approach than what we’ve seen before. It will be my approach, which is formed and shaped by the fact that I am a woman and have spent 30 years in the traditionally male-dominated aviation industry.”

Tell us about your first 90-120 days, what is your main focus?

Constance: “First and foremost—our people. Whether it be the front line or our guests, I want to understand more granularly what their struggles are and what our team is going through to deliver in their everyday work and to our guests, and how guests perceive us in delivering our service. Longer-term, I’ll focus on strategic opportunities and how to perform at ever-increasing levels despite all of the changes around us.”

Who has inspired you most throughout your career?

Constance: “My parents. In the 1950s, my mom ran her own business, which was inspiring considering the culture back then. I’ve worked with incredibly inspiring people, whether it’s been at Alaska or in the Army, and what inspires me is to support those great people as well as I can. That’s what drives me—the desire to enable every person I work with to unlock their potential.

… So, it isn’t necessarily a person, but it’s everyone, in the sense that we all deserve to have that kind of fulfillment at work. The question is, how do we do that across all these teams, processes and demands while we meet and exceed our guests’ expectations? My inspiration is doing the very best we can as a team and everyone contributing to meet a common goal.”

You’ve accomplished many groundbreaking things in your career, what propels you forward and how do you inspire other women to be trailblazers?

Constance: “I would hope someday it’s less of a ‘pioneering type’ conversation, that it’s not a path unusually followed by women but regularly followed by women. Since I was seven years old, I wanted to fly helicopters. The bug bit me —that was it, and I went from there. I never envisioned in my wildest dreams I would end up in a COO role.”

Alaska has had great COOs, how will you build on their legacy and position the company to be even better, especially when COVID is behind us?

Constance: “Fantastic question. I don’t have the answer yet. Part of it is unlocking everyone’s potential at Alaska to meet and exceed our guests’ expectations. The shortest answer I can give is, I’m only as good as my work tomorrow. I prefer to come back in a year or two and say, ‘did I or did I not do that?’ I intend to do everything we set out to do, and a big part of that success is how we can achieve that as one team.”

Related:

Black employees and allies are driving meaningful change for a more equitable future at Alaska where everyone belongs

Photos by Ingrid Barrentine—Outdoors at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Cultivating a culture of belonging and connection is a prime focus at Alaska Airlines. Whether it’s safely connecting people across the world or within our company through employee-led Business Resource Groups (BRGs), we are committed to creating an equitable workplace for all.

BRGs offer a haven for employees to champion the diverse workforce we have within our wings while engaging, educating and uplifting us as a whole, making our business, culture and communities better. Groups dedicate their free time to share similar interests, give back to communities and provide professional development and support. They also help inform important business decisions where relevant and deliver on our goals.

ABEA leaders and members outside at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in February, 2021.

Air Group Black Employees, Allies and Advocates, or ABEA, is a space for Black employees—and all people of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, our regional airline—to be themselves, lead and thrive and educate others on critical issues that can drive diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

DeMarco Best, one of the founding members of ABEA and duty manager of simulator operations in Seattle, says in the 25 years he’s been with the company, Alaska has made enormous strides when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion. However, he admits, there’s still a lot of work needed to advance racial equity within our organization and the airline industry as a whole.

“My philosophy is: you shouldn’t complain about what is wrong in the world if you aren’t doing something to make it better. I love Alaska because I have been given an opportunity to represent and engage with our community, both locally and nationwide. As an active member of ABEA, I’ve volunteered with our recruitment team during job fairs to demonstrate an inclusive culture, and traveled to Washington DC to help the company lobby for equity and inclusion,” said DeMarco Best. (Photo from before March 2020).

Recently Air Group announced its commitment to advance racial equity with goals for representation, inclusive culture and public leadership.

“People ask, ‘what does success look like?’ It’s so hard to quantify success when you know this is a journey we’re always going to be on,” said Best. “If we can get to a place of mutual understanding that we need to move beyond just tolerating each other and see the goodness our differences make, this company will be successful—in so many ways we’re better because we’re different.”

“There’s no shame in where we are. We are trying to take this on, and it’s going to be hard, that’s all there is to it, but at least we’re navigating it. We’re taking our time and trying to do things that are going to last,” said John-Antony Dubreuil, ABEA leader and ITS senior test manager.

Holding space for hard conversations.

Black employees have been navigating systemic racism their entire lives and, in the past year, the disproportionate effects of COVID-19. Immediately following the tragic death of George Floyd, ABEA organized listening sessions for employees and leaders to come together across the company—prioritizing recovery and resilience, both from an organizational and personal perspective.

“There was so much energy from our employees and allies to take action and do more, so we harnessed that as an opportunity to have open and critical dialogue with peers and leaders to listen to understand and respond in a meaningful way,” said Sarah Keimig, ABEA leader and Seattle lounge manager.

Seattle Lead Customer Service Agent Cinamin Wise, ABEA Leader & Seattle Lounge Manager Sarah Keimig, Phoenix Reservation Sales Agent Shari Fauntleroy (right).

From these sessions came a lot of hard conversations, incredible moments and realizations.

“Just in the past year, we have learned so much together and created more resounding change, so employees feel empowered, supported, and heard,” Keimig said. “We will continue being the driving force and voice among our leaders when we say that this is what our people need right now.”

ABEA leaders continue to encourage Black employees to rest, recover and create space for long-term care and positive affirmation of Black identity. (Photo of ABEA leaders and allies in February 2021).

Today, about 10% of Alaska and Horizon employees belong to one or more of our BRGs, which include Air Group Black Employees, Allies and Advocates, Accessibility Group, Air Group Pan-Asian, AAG Military Group, GLOBE (Alaska’s LGBTQ+ Group), Green Team, Latin Culture Resource Group, Native Employee Network Group, Pacific Islander Alliance, Women’s Interactive Networking Group, AAG Women in Tech. Our goal is to continue to increase the membership of our BRGs as a way to drive connection, foster inclusion and support employees.

Alaska Airlines stands against hate with the Asian American Pacific Islander community

In the year since COVID-19 impacted the United States, there has been an alarming rise in violence against the Asian American Pacific Islander community. We are appalled and heartbroken to see these attacks and harassment continue to grow.

Our Asian American Pacific Islander guests and employees are living in fear and experiencing great pain from these racist acts and rhetoric. We stand with our Alaska and Horizon employees and guests in denouncing this behavior and are actively working to ensure Alaska is a place where everyone feels safe and welcome.

We have taken actions to ensure our people feel supported, including creating safe places to be heard and offering Anti-Racism, Bystander Intervention and Unconscious Bias training for our teams. We have a zero-tolerance policy that is strictly enforced for any type of racist behavior or activity. We also recently shared our new diversity, equity and inclusion goals which include a commitment to making Alaska an inclusive culture as well as using our public platforms to advance racial equity progress.

At Alaska, we are driven by our values of being kind-hearted and doing the right thing. We will lead with those values and continue to always embrace and care for our Asian and Pacific Islander guests and colleagues.

Groundbreaking pilots have their sights on closing the gender gap

Kisa Wiley, captain and base chief pilot Kisa Wiley at Horizon Air. Photos by Ingrid Barrentine.

Chances are, on any given flight, your pilot isn’t a woman—an irking approximation both Captain Kat Pullis and Kisa Wiley hope will change during their lifetime.

Women in the flight deck remain somewhat of a rarity: Only about 7 percent of commercial airline pilots in the U.S. are women. However, Pullis and Wiley want the industry to celebrate how far it’s come in recent years and set an example for future generations of women in aviation.

“We are rare, but for us to be successful in whatever we choose to do is not.” — Captain Kisa Wiley, Base Chief Pilot, Horizon Air

Capt. Kisa Wiley with an E-175 Horizon aircraft in 2021.

Both pilots agree the path to becoming a pilot is not always linear, and the aviation industry still has work to do to reach gender and racial equity.

As a company, we celebrate their unwavering tenacity, achievements and paving the way for women alike in the industry every day, especially today, International Women’s Day.

Captain Wiley didn’t always dream of becoming a pilot. Fate has a funny way of putting you in the right place at the right time.

While studying Art History in college, her sister asked her to go to ground school with her—to take classes to gain all necessary aeronautical knowledge before flying. That fall, she turned in her history books for a pair of wings at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace.

Capt. Wiley in 2021.

Today, she is a captain and base chief pilot for Horizon Air, Alaska’s regional airline, which she has been part of since 2015. When she’s not flying, she is the first point of contact for management when a pilot needs something—similar to an HR representative. She helps pilots navigate medical appointments, jury duty, a death in the family or answer questions they may have about X, Y and Z.

“My favorite thing is being able to make a difference for somebody,” Wiley said. “Because I’ve been that pilot who needs something and it might seem like a little thing, but it can mean a world of a difference to them.”

Captain Pullis, also a base chief pilot, is the first female to assume this role at Alaska Airlines. Her path to aviation was a bit different. Growing up in Hawaii on Oahu, she looked at travel as a way to spread her wings and see the world.

Capt. Pullis in 2019.

She says her strength and inspiration come from her Hawaiian ancestor Queen Ka’ahumanu, who removed taboos and barriers for women in Hawaii.

“I named my daughter after her. She means a lot to me culturally and as a female,” she says, and like a queen, Capt. Pullis takes pride in not fitting the mold. “As soon as I embraced my differences, everything worked out. I didn’t have to pretend to be the ‘perfect’ pilot—I just had to be myself.”

“At the end of the day, if you’re just yourself, and you don’t put up a wall, and you can just be another human sitting next to another human and try not to make it this male-female thing, it is great, and all the walls fall,” said Capt. Pullis. Photo from 2019.

Wiley quickly learned that flying came naturally to her—call it perseverance or family genes—both her dad and grandfather were pilots. Her mom also worked for Alaska in the 70s with maintenance and later on as a flight attendant.

Her dad was one of the first Black pilots hired at Alaska in 1975.

Wiley’s parents both worked for Alaska Airlines. Her dad was one of the first Black pilots hired at Alaska.

“I didn’t really think of my dad as a pioneer growing up; it wasn’t until I was older and started learning about some of the history and some of the challenges and discrimination he may have faced when getting his career started that I realized how impressive it all was,” Wiley said.

Growing up, she says she was fortunate not to be told certain things were for boys or girls.

Capt. Wiley in 2021.

“I realized the upbringing I had was a privilege, not the norm. And that is extremely unfortunate because it should just be the norm to tell people of color or women that they can do the same thing that white guys do,” Wiley said.

When asked what sort of changes she’s noticed since her parents’ day, Wiley says the industry is more welcoming, but there is still more work to improve gender inclusivity and racial equity.

“The number of female pilots has increased, but it’s still a male-dominated field. However, I’ve noticed recruiting has changed, and we’re trying to hire more women of color,” Wilesey said.

As a Black Asian female pilot, Wiley says she was happy to see Horizon and Alaska actually put a plan in action to advance racial equity.

“I was glad to see it extend beyond the period of time when the outrage dies down, and the steps toward progress do too,” she said.

Pullis agrees the field could use more women, but it starts with education and setting realistic expectations like what flying will be like while trying to balance a family and personal life.

Pullis’ husband is also a pilot with Alaska. She says “even though I’m a groundbreaking woman, none of this would be possible without the support of my husband! I’m so fortunate to have such a great partner!”

“When I first started, I was like ‘I want to fly the biggest airplane around the world and just travel.’ If you were to ask me now, that’s the furthest thing from what I want … I want to go up and down the West Coast and then come home and have dinner with my kids. That’s my priority now,” said Pullis.

Wiley, a mom of two, says finding balance as a pilot can be challenging but isn’t anything she can’t handle. Someday, if her daughter chooses to fly, she would be a fifth-generation pilot — and hopefully her chances of sitting next to a female co-pilot will be much greater.

Wiley with her family pre-pandemic. Her husband is a fourth generation pilot—his dad actually flew with Wiley’s dad once in the 80s (talk about a small world).

5 reasons Alaska Airlines employees are truly remarkable

The people of Alaska, including our regional airline Horizon Air, are the heart of our business and the reason we’re an award-winning airline. We celebrate their passion, dedication and hard work every day—especially today, Employee Appreciation Day, with heartfelt thanks for all they do!

Here are five reasons our employees are remarkable:

1. Safety is always top of mind.

Safety is at the forefront of everything we do at Alaska Airlines. Every employee is empowered to stop the operation if something feels unsafe. In fact, we love safety so much, our employees made a music video about it. Featuring our actual employees, the video highlights the number of ways we’re focused on keeping our guests and employees safe as part of Next-Level Care.

2. Kind-heartedness comes naturally.

Our people put their hearts into everything they do. They are the foundation of who we are as a company and live out our purpose of creating an airline people love. And we will continue to advance racial equity with goals for representation, inclusive culture, and public leadership. Learn more.

3. Make travel carefree and easy.

Alaska employees are empowered to think differently, so they can provide the best experience for our guests and employees. Innovation is a huge part of who we are, and our teams are always looking for new ways to enhance the travel experience such as offering touch-free travel options that allow guests to scan boarding passes up to six feet away, print bag tags without touching the check-in kiosk and purchase food and beverages on board using pre-stored payment preferences, and Pre-Clear requirements for seamless travel to Hawaii.

4. Community giving is nonstop.

Our employees are heavily invested in the communities we serve and support the charities they care about most. Through matching gifts, our LIFT Miles programs, the Alaska Airlines Foundation and community events, Alaska makes it easy for employees to give back, and recognizes employees each year for going above and beyond in service to their community. Our people are especially passionate about making flying matter for good and connecting young people with opportunities for a better future – including career paths in aviation!

5. Resilient beyond measure.

Our employees always go above and beyond—nights, weekends and holidays—to take care of our guests, each other and our communities. They never stop working to make Alaska the best we can be, including through a year that was anything but normal. Together, we go far.

Thank you!