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Where to Travel Based on Your Zodiac Sign

IT’S A SIGN! Your next travel destination could be written in the stars! We joined forces with the @AstroTwins & Create Cultivate to help you figure out where you should go safely in 2021 based on your zodiac. Check it out now!

Fly Alaska, ski for free at stunning resorts

Whitefish Resort.

Did you know you can use your Alaska Airlines boarding pass to redeem incredible ski deals, including free lift tickets? Simply present your Alaska Airlines boarding pass and matching ID at any ticket office and ski free the day you arrive—but double check your destination’s quarantine rules!

Plus, we’re making it more affordable to fly with your gear too. Instead of charging oversize bag fees, skis and snowboards are treated as regular checked bags subject to our standard feesAnd don’t forget: Eligible Alaska Airlines Visa® cardholders get their first checked bag free, including their ski or board bag.

Here’s a look at the resorts offering deals for the 2020-2021 ski season. Please note: some regions have travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19.

Alyeska Resort

Photo courtesy of Alyeska Resort.

Fly to Anchorage (ANC) Flights from Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Portland, Seattle, and Spokane

Alyeska Resort sits in the heart of Girdwood, a glacier-carved valley. To the west and north, the mountains of the Chugach State Park provide a stunning backdrop over Alyeska. Alyeska is an established ski destination known for its steep terrain and deep snowpack. With expansive mountain and ocean inlet views, Alyeska boasts an average 669″ of annual snowfall at the summit. Learn more.

Bogus Basin

Bogus Basin.

Fly to Boise (BOI) Flights from Seattle.

Bogus Basin is much more than a typical hometown ski hill. The nonprofit recreation area boasts 2,600 acres of skiable terrain, four high speed quad chair lifts, and night skiing until 10pm, seven days a week. True to its mission, Bogus Basin offers accessibility (the area is just 16 miles from downtown Boise, Idaho), and affordability. In addition to downhill skiing and riding, Bogus Basin has a Nordic Center with 37 kilometers of trails for skiing, snowshoeing and fat tire biking. Learn more.

Eaglecrest Ski Area

Photo courtesy of Eaglecrest Ski Area.

Fly to Juneau (JNU) Flights from Anchorage, Glacier Bay/Gustavus, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Seattle, Sitka, and Yakutat.

Eaglecrest is Juneau, Alaska’s community owned and operated ski area with big mountain terrain, 1620′ vertical drop, 640+ acres, impressive backcountry access, untracked powder, and hardly a lift line. Never heard of Eaglecrest? They’re a well-kept secret, but closer than you think. Downtown Juneau is only 15 minutes away, and there are daily flights from Seattle and Anchorage. Learn more.

Red Lodge Mountain

Photo courtesy of Red Lodge Mountain.

Fly to Billings (BIL) Flights from Seattle and Portland

Red Lodge Mountain is Montana skiing, pure and simple. No lift lines, no attitude, no big prices – just great snow, great people, and an authentic Montana experience. Located in south central Montana, Red Lodge Mountain boasts 2,400 feet of vertical and over 1,635 acres of groomers, glades, & chutes to explore. The laid-back atmosphere & small-town personality make the town of Red Lodge the “Coolest Ski Town You’ve Never Heard Of,” according to Business Insider. And with its rich history, scenic vistas, and quaint 6-block downtown, Red Lodge will capture your heart and leave you dreaming of your next visit. Learn more.

RED Mountain Resort

Photo courtesy of Red Mountain Resort.

Fly to Spokane (GEG)Flights from Anchorage, Boise, Portland, San Diego, and Seattle

Fiercely independent RED Mountain Resort delivers 3,850 acres of pristine skiing, putting us in Top 10 terrain territory in North America. With a new chairlift on Topping Creek, the skier flow and access to Grey Mountain is streamlined along with an additional 7 incredible intermediate runs over 300 acres of terrain. Read more.

Schweitzer Mountain Resort

Schweitzer Mountain Resort.

Fly to Spokane (GEG)Flights from Anchorage, Boise, Portland, San Diego, and Seattle

Considered by many as the best skiing in Idaho and the best family-friendly resort in the Pacific Northwest, Schweitzer Mountain Resort is independently owned and proud of it. Schweitzer ranks as one of the nation’s top winter destinations with 2900 acres of amazing terrain thanks to its two massive bowls and renowned tree skiing. Located in the rugged Selkirk Mountains of the northern Idaho panhandle, and only 80 miles from Spokane, WA , Schweitzer overlooks the town of Sandpoint, ID and offers breathtaking views of three states, Canada and the impressive Lake Pend Oreille. Read more.

Ski Marmot Basin

Photo courtesy of Ski Marmot Basin.

Fly to Edmonton (YEG) or Calgary (YYC) Flights from Seattle

Ski Marmot Basin is located 12 miles south of the authentic Canadian mountain town of Jasper, surrounded by 4,247 square miles of protected wilderness in Jasper National Park. Boasting the highest base elevation of any major ski area in Canada, the ski area receives consistent snow from mid-November to early May each season. Skiers and snowboarders can explore 91 runs and two terrain parks on 1,720 acres of perfectly groomed trails, powder-filled alpine bowls, and treed runs at one of the most uncrowded ski areas in North America. Read more.

Whitefish Mountain Resort

Whitefish Resort.

Fly to Kalispell/Glacier Park (FCA) Flights from Portland and Seattle.

Since 1947, Whitefish Mountain Resort has welcomed skiers and riders seeking a mountain that is uncrowded, beautiful, and affordable. Rising above the town of Whitefish, in beautiful northwest Montana, in the backyard of Glacier National Park (only 35 miles away), the resort charms its guests with a friendly fun-loving vibe, variety of terrain, and virtually no lift lines at an unbeatable value. Whitefish’s Big Mountain is the quintessential skier’s mountain averaging more than 300 inches of snow annually on 3,000 acres of bowls, chutes, and glades on all aspects. Read more.

Year in Review: Clean planes, remarkable service from our top-notch crew, here’s a poem bidding 2020 adieu

Though 2020 was far from what we expected,
Alaska did whatever we could to help keep people connected.

From putting on our dancing shoes and masking all of our crews.
We want to share our top moments with all of you.

We continue to stand up for what’s right.

ICYMI: In Palm Springs, we made an airplane shine bright.

We rocked new custom uniforms and holiday sweaters.

We announced more oneworld perks for our loyal jetsetters.

We learned how to pivot during a pandemic.

Protip: get your hands on our free sanitizing wipes—they’re organic.

Remember that special flight for a boy and his Dad?

Or the time our CSA gave her car keys to a stranger? That also made us glad!

We donated iPads and hockey sticks to youth.

And, don’t forget, we also flew the first Copper Salmon,

(we hear it pairs well with honey & vermouth).

You might also recall a familiar face above Seattle’s skyline.

And studies that showed it’s safe to fly was an excellent sign!

From zero to 30,000 feet, there’s HEPA- filtered, fresh air.

Our goal is to keep you safe with our Next-Level Care.

Make sure you wear a mask, unless you’re grabbing a bite.

And sit back, relax on your next Alaska flight.

Did you catch the news? Or the word on the street?

This year, we also announced plans to expand our MAX fleet.

We flew medical workers and the first of many COVID-19 vaccines.

If you liked Alaska’s “Safety Dance”music video, don’t forget to check out the behind-the-scenes.

This year, our planes may not have seen as many of you,

but they saw lots of essential goods and PPE too.

We also offered sweet deals like Russell’s touchdown discounts and Buy-One-Get-One-Free.

We shared tips for travel and what to do in Hawaii.

Alaska even planted trees and donated a million meals,

seeing all the good that can happen gives us all the feels.

For those of you who stayed at home, our Zoom backgrounds and couch getaways helped you explore.

We offered tips for long weekends, seeing the Northern lights and places for golfers to shout “FORE!”

We celebrated a year at Everett’s Paine Field.

And our partnership with the NHL in Seattle was revealed.

Before we bid 2020 adieu,

Please know that this is our commitment to you!

We’re here to make travel accessible and safe for everyone.

And we cannot wait for you to fly with us in 2021.

Most photos by Ingrid Barrentine.

Alaska and Kraken team up to donate hockey sticks to local youth

Photos by Ingrid Barrentine.

Talk about community GOALS! Alaska recently teamed up with the Seattle Kraken and Matt Griffin YMCA to spread holiday cheer with an equipment drive to help kids get excited about ice hockey.

Masked-up volunteers handed out nearly 200 hockey sticks and street hockey balls to families in the Seatac area through a drive-up system. Our hope is every child gets the chance to participate in and develop an interest in the sport.

Talk about community GOALS! Alaska Airlines teamed up with the the Seattle Kraken and Matt Griffin YMCA Saturday, December 12, 2020 to spread holiday cheer with an equipment drive to get kids excited about hockey.

“This was a fun, safe way to not only spread our Alaska holiday cheer, but to support the Seattle Kraken’s initiative of making the sport of hockey available to everyone, especially kids who may not have access to hockey previously,” said Ian Bremner, brand activation marketing manager.

There were also a lot of Kraken fans there to support.

Alaska Airlines has been an ongoing community partner and supporter of The Matt Griffin YMCA, which serves the SeaTac area by providing programming for the health and well-being of youth and their families.

Alaska Airlines transports lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine safely to rural regions of Alaska

Keri Zimmer, Kodiak Station Manager unloading the COVID-19 vaccine in Kodiak, Alaska. Photos by Ingrid Barrentine

Deborah Gantos, a Cargo Air Freight CSA at Alaska Airlines in Anchorage, hasn’t seen her son since February due to her autoimmune condition and the coronavirus.

This week, she was part of a historic turning point in the state’s battle with COVID-19 as some of the first vaccines were delivered to frontline healthcare workers via Alaska Airlines and other distributors, reaching some of the most rural communities in the state.

Deborah Gantos, Air Freight CSA

“This is a really big deal seeing all the vaccines come through here,” Gantos said, who assisted with the verification process of the shipment. “I’m very excited about the vaccine so I can feel good about visiting my son or other family members and for other people to have access to it so we can slow down the death rate—I am very excited about that. I look forward to getting mine soon.”

Alaska Air Cargo worked closely with pharmaceutical and cargo partners, as well as, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services to organize and ensure the safe travels of the critical shipment, which included thousands of doses of the vaccine for health care facilities, leading to the first vaccinations of Alaskans this week.

Pfizer Inc. designed special shipping containers packed with dry ice that are capable of maintaining an ultra-cold temperature for up to 30 days as long as the dry ice is replenished upon receipt and every five days thereafter.

The state of Alaska is unique in that 80% of communities are only accessible by air or water and most vaccines must be distributed by plane. Alaska Airlines has been transporting critical medication and cargo to the state of Alaska for 88 years—in many ways serving as a lifeline to more than 20 communities in the state.

“As the largest scheduled carrier in the state, our cargo team is proud to transport COVID-19 vaccines to destinations across Alaska, as part of this historic, global effort,” said Torque Zubeck, managing director of Alaska Air Cargo.

Rural communities run the risk of getting hit harder by the virus.

Since the surge of COVID cases across the country, there’s been an ongoing effort in the state of Alaska to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in smaller communities where access to large-scale hospitals, critical medication and essential goods are not easily accessible. Rural counties run the risk of a disproportionately high death toll compared to large counties.

The shipping containers include a temperature and tracking device that will ensure the vaccine was kept safe during transport.

In her role with the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC), a healthcare organization that serves over 50 rural communities in southwest Alaska, Tiffany Zulkosky is helping to educate people statewide for broader vaccine distribution. The vaccines, she said, are “monumental,” for parts of rural Alaska.

“In this state, particularly in our region (Bethel), we’re so connected with cultural values rooted in family and connection. For our tribes and residents, we can see how the COVID-19 pandemic has really altered the way our society engages with one another, which makes it particularly difficult for our communities.” Zulkosky said. “I think we feel a sense of hope with the COVID-19 vaccine and how it will help us find some sense of normalcy even if it’s a new sense of normalcy in the coming months and coming year.

Following the first shipment of the vaccine, some health care workers began receiving vaccinations this week at hospitals and health care facilities. We know this is the first of many shipments to come, and we are ready to scale our operation as additional vaccines are produced and ready for distribution.

Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center security department caregivers deliver a box of COVID-19 vaccine to the facility on Tuesday, Dec. 15, after it was picked up from Kodiak Benny Benson State Airport.

During this time of uncertainty, air travel continues to be an essential service. Alaska Airlines remains committed to helping medical professionals and lifesaving supplies get to the places where they are needed most. The health and safety of our guests, employees and communities is a responsibility we take to heart and show each and every day.

Learn more about our Next-Level Care.

Our passenger and freighter fleet played a role in the safe movement of life-saving vaccines to remote locations throughout Alaska.

Related:

10 tips for safe air travel during the holidays

The holidays are here, and many people are weighing the risks of air travel vs. staying home. While the thought of being in a confined space with other people may seem daunting, recent studies have shown flying isn’t as dangerous of COVID-19 spread as once thought, and that cabin air may in fact be cleaner than most homes, hospital rooms and supermarkets.

So if you haven’t seen your loved ones for almost a year and if driving long distance just isn’t an option, Alaska Airlines is here to make your travel journey as safe and seamless as possible. Below are some tips for traveling this holiday season:

1. Know before you go.

When it comes to travel restrictions and information like testing requirements or quarantine rules, every state is different. We recommend researching and getting the lay of the land before you arrive. Check out alaskaair.com for the latest travel updates.

Does the destination you’re flying to require a COVID-19 test? We’re offering Alaska guests testing options with multiple testing providers that offer rapid and standard COVID-19 testing.

2. Pack the essentials.

Don’t forget to pack & wear a mask at any Alaska touchpoint such as in our Lounges, at the gate or onboard our aircraft. While our policy allows guests to not wear a mask while they eat or drink, research has shown mask-wearing is the most effective way to reduce the risk of getting COVID-19.

Bringing a travel sized bottle of hand sanitizer is also probably worth considering, and now TSA allows you to bring even more – one 12 oz. bottle is allowed in your carry-on until further notice. We also offer complimentary EO hand sanitizing wipes to all our guests that are 99.9% effective at killing germs.

3. Get in touch with our touch-free options.

Save time before or after you arrive at the airport with Alaska’s mobile app, which allows you to buy tickets, retrieve your boarding pass, check-in for flights and print your bag tags all without having to touch the airport kiosk. Learn more.

You can also use the app to pre-order meals on select flights and store your payment preference using your Alaska Airlines account so when it comes time to pay for your meal in the air, you can do so touch-free.

Due to COVID-19, our food & beverage service is still limited to reduce the interactions between our flight crews and guests. To see what we’re currently offering on board visit alaskaair.com. Download the Alaska app on iPhone or Android.

4. Breathe easy on our flights.

Not only are each of our aircraft cleaned after every flight but every Alaska aircraft also recirculates fresh air from outside and through hospital-grade HEPA filters every 2 to 3 minutes keeping the air you breathe germ-free. The HEPA filters remove 99.9% of airborne contaminants.

During your flight, fresh air is continuously pulled into the plane from outside, completely refreshing the air onboard every few minutes. This system was initially created back in the days when smoking on planes was common. Learn more

5. Mind your wingspan.

While experts and science affirms that flying is safe we hope to make guests feel more comfortable by blocking middle seats on mainline flights and limiting the number of guests on our flights through Jan. 6, 2021.

We’re also providing our gate agents with the ability to scan boarding passes from six feet away—if the conditions are just right. And, to better allow for personal distancing, guests board by row numbers in smaller groups from the back to the front.

At the airport, you’ll also notice plexiglass shields at multiple touchpoints, including the ticketing and customer service counters, the gate areas and our Lounges. And, you’ll likely spot “Mind Your Wingspan” floor decals and signage at check-in as a reminder to stay six feet apart.

6. Watch, chat and be merry.

To keep your travels merry and bright, bring the device you’re most comfortable using and get ready to watch your favorite festive flick. Alaska has many holiday movies, including “Elf,” “Home Alone” and Hallmark Channel original movies.

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

7. Keep calm & carry on.

Anyone needing a little moment of zen can enjoy listening to our free inflight meditation sessions brought to you by Headspace. Just look for Headspace in our entertainment portal, breathe deeply and let the stress melt away.

Have travel anxiety or aren’t used to flying? Alaska has a free app called Fly for All. Designed for first-time flyers, guests traveling with children, unaccompanied minors and those with cognitive and developmental disabilities, including autism, the app will help ease the anxiety of air travel by walking guests through the steps they’ll follow when getting ready to fly. Download it on Apple App Store or Google Play store.

8. Buy gifts for them, earn miles for you.

Whether you’re flying or not this holiday season, consider giving your friends and family the gift of travel with Alaska miles or travel gift certificates, which can be purchased at alaskaair.com.

One fun gift for the ski and snowboarding lovers is our Fly Alaska, Ski Free program where your boarding pass serves as your free lift ticket at some of the country’s top ski resort destinations like Whitefish, Red Lodge Mountain, and Alyeska.

And, if you’re a Mileage Plan member, you can maximize your miles with Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan Shopping and earn up to 10 miles for every dollar spent at any of our 850+ retailers.

9. Land a great deal.

If you’re waiting until 2021 to go on those long-awaited adventures, or to see loved ones, we tend to have great deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Want a deal sooner? This football season, our Chief Football Officer Russell Wilson can help you save on your next trip. During home games, when Wilson scores a touchdown (passing or rushing), you get discount up to 40% off*. Learn more.

10. Minimize your impact.

Even after you land, make sure to wear your mask and follow safe health practices whenever possible – to minimize the impact on the people and places you fly to!

Alaska Airlines offers last-minute gift ideas for the traveler in your life

With holiday shopping going mostly virtual in 2020, Alaska is sharing some of the airline’s favorite gift ideas for the aviation geek, frequent traveler, ski lover and more in your life. Give the gift of travel for 2021, along with some of the most unique airline swag available online at the Alaska Company Store.

For the Frequent Traveler

We all deserve something to look forward to next year. For the frequent traveler in your life, consider giving a travel gift certificate for a new adventure in 2021. Alaska Airlines gift certificates can be emailed or printed, are available in increments between $25-$500, and never expire – and best of all, no wrapping required! Pair it with some Alaska-branded gear fit for the seasoned travel professional they are, from toiletry organizers to luggage tags and reusable water bottles.

For the Snow Bunny

Did you know that if you fly Alaska to some of the nation’s premier skiing destinations, you can ski for free? Top ski resorts in Alaska, Montana and beyond offer deals like free lift passes when you show your Alaska boarding pass. Purchase a travel gift certificate through Alaska, and the snow bunny in your life can hit the slopes for free at some of the best ski resorts with this 2-for-1 gift. Pair it with things to keep them cozy after a long day in the cold, like an Alaska beanie, coffee mug or blanket. P.S. – when you fly Alaska, your skis count toward your regular checked baggage, meaning no oversize or overweight fees, ever.

For the Wine Lover

The only thing better than wine and cheese is wine and an Alaska Fruit & Cheese Platter. If you’re looking for a gift for the wine lover in your life, Alaska flies to some of the country’s top wine destinations – why not book a future trip to wine country to celebrate making it through 2020! As an added bonus: when you fly to one of 30 premier wine destinations on the West Coast, your Wine Flies Free. That’s right – travelers can check a full case of wine for free. And, the perfect pairing is one of Alaska’s famous “fruit & cheese platter” themed gifts from the company store.

For the New Parent

At Alaska, one of our philosophies is to inspire a love for travel from a young age. Alaska has gifts for the new parents in your life – from toys to cute and kitschy onesies. And, if you’re looking for an extra special gift in honor of baby’s first holiday, consider donating Alaska miles in their honor. Alaska’s LIFT Miles program offers Mileage Plan™ members a unique and meaningful way to support important causes, including Make-A-Wish®, Fisher House Foundation™, The Nature Conservancy® and disaster relief organizations.

For the Kraken Fan

As an official sponsor of Seattle’s new NHL team, the Kraken, the Alaska Company Store serves as a one-stop shop for some of the most popular Seattle Kraken gear. For the Kraken fan who just can’t wait for the first puck to drop, make sure they’re ready for game day with gear from head to toe, like hats, shirts and more.

For the Aviation Geek

There’s nothing a true aviation geek loves more than some merch to represent their favorite airline. This year, give the gift of Alaska Airlines history and tradition with vintage-inspired items, license plate covers, branded clothing and more.

Everything you need to know before you go to Hawaii 

Updated Dec. 14, 2020. Originally posted Sept. 22, 2020

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

Note: The pre-travel testing program has been temporarily halted for Kauai County. All travelers arriving on Kauai must quarantine for 14 days. Vacation rentals are not permitted as a quarantine location. Learn more

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

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

All travelers age 5 and older are required to take a COVID-19 test from a trusted testing partner within 72 hours of your departure flight to Hawaii. Negative test results must be uploaded to your Safe Travels profile prior to the departure of your Hawaii-bound flight or you must self-quarantine for 14 days or the duration of your stay, whichever is shorter.  Testing availability may be limited, please schedule your appointments quickly. All tests must meet the requirements of the State of Hawaii’s pre-travel testing program.

The test MUST meet state requirements.

The state of Hawaii will ONLY accept test results from trusted testing and travel partners. The test must be an FDA-authorized nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), performed using a nasal swab and processed by a CLIA-certified laboratory. Learn more.

Alaska is offering safe and reliable testing options.

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

No test? Pass go. Head straight to quarantine.

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

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

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

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

Speed up the process: Hawaii Pre-Clear has arrived! To help speed things up for you and your fellow travelers, Alaska Airlines guests are now able to pre-clear at the departure gate, and bypass airport screening upon arrival in Hawaii. Learn more. Please be sure you have uploaded your test results (PDF file) to your Safe Travels account and completed the mandatory online health questionnaire prior to your arrival.

Fly Alaska to Hawaii.

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

For more information, visit hawaiicovid19.com/travel.

A behind-the-wings look of the Alaska Airlines ‘Safety Dance’ music video

We love safety so much at Alaska Airlines our employees made a music video about it. The video features a number of the 100+ ways we’re focused on keeping our guests and employees safe as part of our Next-Level Care.

“Alaska Safety Dance”

100+ safety measures

Recent research about air travel concluded that it is safe to fly by following a layered approach using masks, hand sanitizer and air filtration. With our safety protocols in place, including mandatory masks, enhanced cleaning between flights, HEPA air filtration and touch-free technology we believe it’s safe to fly.

“We are ready to take you anywhere you want to go, to any of the destinations we fly to,” said Jonathon, a designated trainer lead CSA and employee video star. “We’re the safest airline in the skies and we’re still creating an airline people love.”

Related:

Behind the scenes + masks

“Safety Dance” was directed by Warren Fu who is known for his work with artists such as Dua Lipa, The Weeknd, Daft Punk and HAIM. The video was choreographed by Anna Matuszewski, who is known for her work with Macklemore.

“It was refreshing to work on a project with some much needed levity after such a challenging year. You can highlight the importance of safety and still have fun with it. I hope the uplifting energy and enthusiasm showcased by our Alaska Airlines employee talent brings a smile to people’s faces,” said Director Warren Fu.

The faces behind the masks are our very own employees! Employees were chosen for the video in a variety of ways including a few from our Alaska Flight Attendant Drill Team—who dance through the streets of Seattle for the Torchlight Parade and other events around the country to represent the company. Others were chosen based on workgroups, ability and willingness to dance, and leader nominations.

To prepare, our employees were given videos of the choreography in advance and asked to practice at home prior to arriving on set.

“I’ve never danced before in my life,” said Michael, a ground service agent at Horizon Air. “I focused on working hard at rehearsal and doing my best to keep up. I kept practicing the moves in order to successfully pull this all off.”

The day prior to filming, employees did a full 8-hour dress rehearsal where the group perfected the moves with the choreographer.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of something so important to our industry and country right now. It sends a clear message of the safety measures we have in place and the seriousness of wearing a mask.” – Natalie

Filmed over two full days in our Boeing cabin trainer and the Alaska Maintenance Hangar in Seattle, employees did a phenomenal job showcasing our safety measures in a memorable way.

A production crew of approximately 40 people followed strict safety measures including everyone being COVID tested, masks had to be worn at all times and onsite COVID compliance officers made sure everyone was keeping safety top of mind.

“From the director, to the choreography, the cameras, the music, makeup and hair artists and so on it was like being on the set of a movie,” said Natalie, a Horizon Air flight attendant in Seattle, who also starred in the video. “Everyday was filled with excitement and anticipation. It was very professional, well organized and definitely on my top 10 things in life that I have been a part of.”

Overall, employees worked together really well and continued practicing on the side during downtime.

“It was such an honor to be part of this campaign,” said Orly, an Alaska flight attendant, who was in the video. “I have so much pride in this company and it was amazing to get to represent Alaska.”

Dianne McGinness from Alaska Airlines Communications team contributed to this article. Photos by Ingrid Barrentine.

A perfect match: Alaska’s elite flyers will receive matching tier status in oneworld when flying with a member airline

The good news keeps coming for our elite Mileage Plan members. Alaska and oneworld announced today that those flyers will receive matching oneworld tier status in the global alliance:

MVP Gold 75K = oneworld Emerald
MVP Gold = oneworld Sapphire
MVP = oneworld Ruby

Many of the benefits our elite flyers currently enjoy on Alaska with their status will seamlessly carry over to the oneworld tiers when they travel on any of the 13 global oneworld member airlines. This means they’ll be able to take advantage of a variety of privileges, including priority check-in, access to international first and business class lounges, preferred boarding, fast track through security, baggage benefits and more.

Alaska joins oneworld on March 31, 2021. Matching oneworld tier status for our elites happens automatically at that time.

For example, beginning March 31, an Alaska MVP Gold member will receive oneworld Sapphire status right away. If that traveler then takes a trip from San Francisco to Doha on Qatar Airways, they’ll have access to business class lounges, business class priority check-in and priority boarding, regardless of the class of service they’re flying in.

“Our upcoming membership in oneworld opens up endless possibilities, especially for our elite Mileage Plan members,” said Ben Minicucci, Alaska’s president. “As the airline industry continues to recover, we expect an increasing number of our guests to look ahead to international travel once again. If you’ve worked hard to earn status with us, all that hard work will go even further with benefits in oneworld to make your journey even more enjoyable.”

Alaska will be the 14th full member of oneworld. The current 13 members of the alliance are: American Airlines; British Airways; Cathay Pacific; 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. Prior to COVID-19, the alliance’s global network offered flights to more than 1,000 destinations in more than 170 countries and territories.

“We are excited to announce the oneworld benefits that Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan customers can expect when Alaska joins the alliance next year – unlocking more benefits and destinations for the airline’s frequent flyers,” said oneworld CEO Rob Gurney. “With its strong network on the U.S. West Coast and award-winning customer service, Alaska’s membership will position oneworld to offer even more privileges and options to our member airlines and customers.”

Just last month, Alaska announced a new arrangement with American Airlines that will make it a more hassle-free, rewarding experience for elite guests from one airline to travel on the other, with new benefits rolling out during 2021.

As part of the enhancements, Alaska’s MVP Gold 75K, MVP Gold and MVP Mileage Plan members will have access to premium seating or receive upgrades when they book flights on American’s domestic and international routes. These elite perks are in addition to the benefits offered by Alaska’s upcoming membership in oneworld.

Alaska Airlines and United Way team up to brighten holidays with meals and ‘ugly’ sweaters

Photos by Ingrid Barrentine. 

Alaska’s holiday sweater is back! This year we are selling our sweaters for a good cause to provide holiday meals to those in need in our communities.

All proceeds from sales of our holiday sweaters will be donated to United Way’s Ride United Last-Mile Delivery initiative, which partners local United Ways with DoorDash and its “Dashers” (drivers) to deliver food from local food banks, food pantries and other distribution points to senior citizens, low income families and those who can’t leave home.

Since 2017, Alaska Airlines has spread holiday cheer by offering guests wearing any kind of holiday sweater priority boarding on National Ugly Sweater Day. Unfortunately, due to social distancing guidelines and new boarding processes, we will not be offering this one-day promotion. However, we invite guests to purchase their own Alaska Ugly Sweater and give back to the community at: companystore.alaskaair.com.

If our holiday sweaters run out, don’t worry, you can still support United Way by visiting their website.

“We are grateful for this generous donation that will support our food relief efforts, particularly during the holiday season, when so many in our community are still struggling. This gift illustrates Alaska Airlines’ strong support for the community and for our long-standing partnership, as we try to meet the tough challenges caused by the pandemic,” said Gordon McHenry, Jr., United Way of King County president and CEO.

Alaska’s is helping provide meals to those in need of food and flexible earnings opportunities to DoorDasher’s Dashers in these unprecedented times.

Chief Football Officer Russell Wilson also joined in the effort with giving to United Way through his Why Not You Foundation.

“I love to give back. And what’s better than giving back to our communities while dressed in Alaska Airlines’ famous holiday sweater?” Wilson said. “Together, let’s help out the United Way’s Ride United Last-Mile Delivery program and look fly while doing it.”

Don’t forget! When he scores, you score! The more touchdowns Russell Wilson makes, the more you save––up to 40%*. Learn more about our touchdown discount.

2020 holiday sweaters helped Alaska donate one million meals.

When the pandemic began impacting the U.S. earlier this year, we launched our #MillionMealsChallenge to give one million meals to food banks across the country.

Through this challenge we donated 1,394,214 meals to those in need. Besides our donation to United Way, we also donated food from our local kitchens to food banks, we matched our employees’ donations to local food banks and also supported through grants from the Alaska Airlines Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit arm of the airline.

“We are so proud and beyond grateful to all of our guests, partners and employees who have helped us provide one million meals to communities and people we serve across the country,” said Joelle Nausin, community relations manager. “With the pandemic impacting so many people’s ability to get out and visit food banks, this effort is critical.”

Need another ornament for the tree? Snag our fun size holiday sweater!

Health experts weigh in on air travel, latest vaccines and ways to combat COVID-19

Alaska Airlines recently hosted a virtual conversation with some of the world’s leading COVID-19 experts from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and UW Medicine. Our goal was to share the latest vaccine research and vaccine developments, how to protect yourself and others during the pandemic and what we’re doing to keep guests safe when they travel.

Guests from across the country joined in and asked nearly 1,000 questions for the medical experts, which included topics like what the best kind of mask is to wear, and how long the virus lasts in your system and where we’re at with the latest vaccine.

Check out the full recap of the one-hour virtual event and responses to some of the top unanswered questions below.

Watch the full discussion

Rising to the Challenges of a Pandemic: A Conversation with Experts from Alaska Airlines, Fred Hutch, UW Medicine

The conversation was hosted by Luke Burbank of Live Wire and brought to you by Alaska Airlines.

Questions & Answers

Is air travel safe?

Yes. At Alaska, we believe air travel is safe. Recent studies have found airplanes are among the most low-risk indoor environments in the world. And with our Next-Level Care, Alaska Airlines is prepared to give you the safest, cleanest and most enjoyable travel experience from start to finish. Alaska’s Next-Level Care includes 100+ ways to maintain the highest standard of safety throughout your travels, including mask requirements, enhanced cleaning, hospital-grade high efficiency particulate air filters on board and no change fees.

Is Alaska Airlines considering requiring flyers to vaccinate before they fly?

No. Several recent scientific studies about air travel concluded that it is safe to fly by following a layered approach using masks, hand sanitizer and air filtration. With more than 100 safety protocols in place, including mandatory masks, enhanced cleaning between flights, HEPA air filtration and touch-free technology, we believe it’s safe to fly and will not require guests to vaccinate before they fly on Alaska Airlines at this time.

Is the air onboard filtered during boarding and deplaning and while the plane is taxing at an airport? What about during deicing?

The sophisticated air filtration system and HEPA filters on our aircraft are actively working during the boarding and deplaning process. During cold weather, when we need to deice the plane, the system exchanges air through our HEPA filters the entire time while also preventing deice fluid fumes from entering the aircraft.

Is the air you breathe on a plane the same air from takeoff to landing? No. Our aircraft exchange fresh air from outside and through hospital-grade HEPA filters every 2 to 3 minutes. The entire cabin air is completely refreshed about every 6 minutes. The filters onboard remove 99.9% of airborne contaminants. Read more about Alaska’s HEPA filtration process.

How effective are masks and social distancing? What types of masks are acceptable: disposable paper, cloth, home-made, nose closure or not (bendable wire)?

Masks are one of the most important ways we can protect ourselves and others from infection, which is why Alaska has its strict mask policy—no mask, no travel. Fred Hutch researcher Dr. Josh Schiffer’s work suggests that if both an infected and an uninfected person are wearing masks, the risk of transmission drops by 40% to 80%, depending on the effectiveness of the mask.

The CDC recommends that masks have two or more layers of breathable fabric that completely cover the nose and mouth and snugly fit around the sides of one’s face. The denser the weave of the fabric, the better, as these create a better filter for droplets and aerosols. Read more about Dr. Schiffer’s opinion in the New York Times.

How long is a person contagious before they test positive for the virus?

How soon after infection a person can test positive for the virus, and when they become contagious, depends on the initial amount of virus that triggered the infection.

Sophisticated models by researchers like Dr. Josh Schiffer at Fred Hutch show that people are most infectious from about two days before they start to show symptoms until a day or so after they show symptoms. That three- to four-day window is when people are most infectious and likely represent the earliest time point at which they would return a positive PCR sample.

How long does the antibody remain in your body? Would an antibody test today be able to tell if I had COVID-19 in March?

This is an open question that researchers are still investigating. While there have been anecdotes about re-infection, an outbreak at a Wisconsin summer school retreat provides a little more cause for optimism. Interestingly, the outbreak was seeded by one student who received a negative COVID-19 test one week before camp but tested positive shortly after arriving and developing symptoms. During the retreat, 118 of the 152 attendees tested positive or had COVID-19 symptoms. However, 24 of the 34 who did not contract the disease had previously been infected and recovered, suggesting some level of protection.

Researchers around the world, including Dr. Jesse Bloom at the Hutch, have been studying the persistence of antibodies over time following infection and will know more as more data becomes available.

When will we know more about the long-term impacts of COVID-19, especially its effects on blood clotting?

Given that COVID-19 emerged less than a year ago, scientists have made astounding progress understanding the disease. However, it’s too soon for us to fully understand the long-term impacts, even as we hear stories about long-haulers. A study by Fred Hutch’s Dr. Julie McElrath is following people after infection to learn more about long-term impacts and the factors that might predispose people to these effects.

When viruses or other pathogens mutate, do they generally become more or less virulent? And what about COVID in particular?

While it is true that some viruses mutate rapidly, making vaccines tricky, that does not appear to be the case for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic, Fred Hutch researcher Dr. Trevor Bedford has been tracking tiny changes to the virus’s genetic code (mutations) as it moves from person to person . Based on this tracking, we know that SARS-CoV-2 is not changing as rapidly as other viruses, including flu and HIV. Crucially, only one mutation that has emerged has successfully propagated, and it is located at a site in the genome where it is unlikely to interfere with antibodies the vaccine will produce. Read more about Dr. Bedford and his award-winning open-source software, Nextstrain, in Vanity Fair.

The virus’s history, of course, does not predict its future. Hutch researchers are cognizant that mutations could emerge that affect the region that vaccines target: the virus’s spike. With that in mind, Dr. Jesse Bloom has measured how virtually every possible mutation to the spike region would affect the virus’s ability to escape detection from vaccines and other antibody-based treatments without compromising its ability to infect cells. His work will inform future treatments and vaccines.

If a person has one type of COVID-19 vaccine, would it be okay to have a different type of COVID-19 vaccine later?

If different types of vaccines are found to have equivalent safety and efficacy profiles, this idea could be an intriguing one. Researchers would need to design studies carefully to determine the right order to ensure an optimal immunity boost. This will need careful study before researchers are able to recommend whether, and in what order, people should get two different vaccines.

Do the vaccines alter your own RNA?

The short answer is no: Messenger RNA (mRNA) is short-lived and cannot be incorporated into our genetic code. The first few vaccines that are likely to be approved — made by Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Janssen —use a few different mechanisms to deliver mRNA which elicits an immune reaction to fight the virus.

Are there any treatments that our doctors can easily prescribe that minimize the impact of the disease if we get Covid?

Currently, treatments such as remdesivir (an antiviral drug), dexamethasone (an anti-inflammatory), and monoclonal antibodies such as those given to President Trump (virus blocking and targeting) are being prescribed to people with severe disease, and they appear to have some effect. There is, however, a need for treatments that can be prescribed earlier in the course of the disease, and there is no proof that the same treatments will work then. To expand the treatments available for patients, Fred Hutch launched the COVID-19 Clinical Research Center, the nation’s first freestanding facility dedicated to studying early coronavirus interventions. The goal with these treatments is to interrupt the disease early, reducing the severity and preventing hospitalization. We are currently enrolling patients for several clinical trials of promising therapies.

Would volunteering for the vaccine trial require a drive to Seattle?

No. You can learn more about the vaccine trials at preventcovid.org.

I assume mRNA vaccine will translate spike proteins in cells throughout the body, not just the lungs. What danger is there of triggering an unexpected cytokine/inflammation response?

All vaccines go through three phases of human testing before being approved by the FDA and distributed to the public.

  • Phase 1 clinical trials show if a vaccine is safe in humans and measure how the immune system responds to it.
  • Phase 2 trials enroll hundreds of volunteers and show whether the biological signals of effectiveness show up in those assigned randomly to a vaccine instead of a placebo.
  • Phase 3 trials enroll large numbers of people — 30,000 and 60,000 in the U.S. and worldwide — to prove that the vaccine reduces the risk of infection or serious illness to protect individuals and communities from COVID-19.

Data from these studies are assessed by an independent Data Safety and Monitoring Board to confirm the safety of the vaccines. If volunteers experience serious health problems, researchers investigate to determine whether they were caused by the vaccine. If these vaccines trigger an adverse response in any way, these trials will catch them and pause, as they did with AstraZeneca and Janssen, to determine if they were caused by the vaccine.

Meet the panel:

Josh Nice is the Director of Quality Assurance at Alaska Airlines. With more than 25 years of experience in roles managing safety training and compliance, Josh is a member of the Alaska Airlines COVID-19 Safety Team that is responsible for identifying and reducing the risks related to COVID-19 across our operation, both for guests and Alaska employees. He also leads the effort to audit COVID-19 safety measures at airports and Alaska’s corporate workspace.

Dr. Michele Andrasik is one of the directors of the Hutch-based HIV Vaccine Trials Network where she focuses on HIV prevention and social and structural factors that cause health inequities. She is drawing on her expertise to ensure that communities of color who are hardest hit by the coronavirus are adequately represented in vaccine trials hosted by the Coronavirus Prevention Network.

Dr. Keith Jerome is a virologist at Fred Hutch and director of the University of Washington’s Molecular Virology Laboratory. Thanks to his team’s quick work to develop a test for COVID-19, the Virology Lab at the UW School of Medicine which has done more than a million COVID-19 tests since early March. His group continues to improve testing, including developing rapid point-of-care tests.

Dr. John Lynch is an associate professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine and an associate medical director at Harborview Medical Center. Dr. Lynch oversees the hospital’s Infection Prevention & Control, Employee Health and Sepsis Programs and is currently leading the clinical team for UW Medicine’s COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center. His focus is on the prevention of infections within healthcare settings.

Emcee, Luke Burbank is an American radio host and podcaster who hosts the Portland, Oregon-based syndicated variety show Live Wire Radio and the Seattle-based former radio program and current podcast Too Beautiful to Live.