By Jess Dales
Based on the West Coast, I grew up flying Alaska Airlines. As a frequent traveler, the Mileage Plan had come in handy on more than one occasion. I used miles in college to fly between school and home, and more recently for last-minute work trips. I never imagined that through Alaska’s Global Partner program, I would be able to fly all the way to Iceland.
Forged by fire and honed by ice, Iceland is home to some of the greatest wilderness areas in Europe. The country has a small population and the vast majority of people live in Reykjavik, leaving huge expanses of land undeveloped and relatively free from human impact. The result is a visually stunning landscape with points of natural interest around every bend in the road. (And there are a lot of bends!)
But it’s not just the lack of people that makes Iceland a nature lover’s paradise. As one of the youngest landmasses on earth, it is unique among the many destinations known for their natural beauty. Alive with volcanic activity – from hot springs to steaming lava fields – Iceland has a raw elemental appeal that sticks with you long after you’ve returned home.
For all those reasons and more, Iceland has become an increasingly popular destination for outdoor lovers, adventure seekers and landscape photographers. Needless to say, Quin and I were eager to see what all the fuss was about.
When Kevin Durant traveled to basketball tournaments in high school, everyone piled in a van. There was no smoothie bar, sneaker-lacing station or All-Star guest appearances. And definitely no airplanes.
“Playing AAU basketball as a kid was a grind,” Durant recalled. “Most of the teams, mine included, usually don’t have a lot of financial support, so you’re doing everything you can on a dime.”
Today was a different story. With music pumping through speakers and Durant’s photo stretching from nose to tail, 46 aspiring athletes boarded Alaska Airlines “Flight 35.” The KD-branded Boeing 737-900ER made its first appearance during the Western Conference Finals and will be in fleet for two years. Today, the plane made a special trip, bringing four top teams from Los Angeles and Oakland to the Bigfoot Hoops Las Vegas Classic.
“Every achievement in youth basketball is a really big one,” Durant explained. “Some of the top teams in the country compete every year at Bigfoot, so to make it this far is a huge accomplishment.”
From the minute he got on the airplane’s PA system, it was clear Durant was here for one reason: surprise these players and have some fun.
Introduction by Brad Tilden, CEO
Each spring, hundreds of aspiring young aviators pour through our maintenance hangar doors in Seattle and Portland as part of Aviation Day. These kids come from all walks of life and their excitement is contagious. One of the key lessons they learn – before test-driving the flight simulator, learning about the fuel efficiency of our split scimitar winglets, and kicking the tires on our sleek 737s – is the principal of lift.
In the 17th century, mathematician Daniel Bernoulli observed how the pressure differential created from particles moving over and under a wing at different speeds drives it to rise up and push forward, creating lift.
No matter how long I work in aviation, I continue to find that moment amazing.
Order the fruit-and-cheese platter every time? You’re not alone.
Starting today, we’re spicing things up with a new seasonal food menu. We spent more than a year hearing honest opinions, researching the most popular ingredients, and hosting tastings with guests, flight attendants and a Bay Area reporter. A few things became abundantly clear:
- Fresh and local ingredients matter.
- Change is good.
- An extra cracker never hurt anyone.
The new menu pairs healthy, local ingredients with West Coast staples such as seasonal fruit, artisan breads and cage-free eggs. It will be available in the main cabin July 16-November 15. After that, you can expect new dishes to choose from – that’s right, we’re rotating menus to keep it fresh.
Summer travel season is here. More travelers than ever are driving to the airport, searching for parking and trying to get through longer-than-normal security lines. We want to make sure you catch your flight – and feel those vacation vibes as soon as you get to the airport.
Here’s a few tips for making your experience as hassle-free as possible:
1. Check in and reserve parking ahead of time
Parking garages are filling up early. You can reserve a parking spot in advance to avoid delays.
2. Arrive early – extra early
Get to the airport at least 2.5 hours before your domestic flight departs, and 3 hours before your international flight. This should give you plenty of time to park, see a ticket agent, check your bags, and make your way through security.
Alaska Airlines and its employees are joining with Western Washington to cheer on athletes now in the Seattle area for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games.
Underway today and tomorrow, July 2 and 3, is the stand-up paddle board competition, which is happening at Angle Lake in SeaTac next door to Alaska’s corporate headquarters. Alaska employees embraced the chance to get involved and support the teams.
I’ve always wanted to explore Seattle and its nearby mountain playgrounds, but it’s so close to home – just a 90-minute direct flight from Calgary, Alberta – that I’ve always put it off in favor of more far-flung destinations.
Finally, when the opportunity arose, I jumped at the chance to book my flight and explore this iconic Pacific Northwest destination. I flew into Seattle, picked up my rental car and never slowed down.
I only had a few days and I wanted to cover as much ground as possible. I photographed Mount Rainier, slept under the stars on the Olympic Peninsula, and drank too much locally roasted coffee. I met up with some locals, too, who eagerly showed me their favorite places to kayak and mountain bike.
Whether visiting for a weekend or longer, I promise it’s a destination that will deliver plenty of outdoor fun, both in city or the nearby wilderness.
Here are my six can’t-miss moments for any Seattle adventure:
When a guest who is blind and deaf traveled on an Alaska Airlines flight alone this week, a number of other guests, the flight crew and a very special 15-year-old girl worked together to make him feel comfortable and less alone. The result was a viral post on Facebook that had many people commenting that it was the feel-good story they needed to hear.
How does brioche French toast with rhubarb thyme compote, real maple syrup and scrambled eggs sound for breakfast? Or, if it’s dinner time, perhaps some miso ginger beef with mesclun mix, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes and ginger vinaigrette?
These are just two of the dishes rolling out on our First Class summer menu on Saturday, a selection that focuses on simplicity, fresh ingredients and generous portions.
The meals will be served on any flight with a First Class cabin – Boeing, Airbus and Embraer aircraft – and will change every three months based on the season.
“Our guests have told us they want more fresh food, larger quantities and a wider variety of options,” said Todd Traynor-Corey, director of food & beverage. “With a focus on local and healthy food with complex flavors, as well as our thoughtful beer and wine choices, the menu has a distinctive West Coast vibe.”
Just days away from graduation, hundreds of seniors from Highline Public Schools near Seattle went on a special “field trip” with Alaska’s Chief Football Officer Russell Wilson at the Museum of Flight. Joined by Alaska CEO Brad Tilden and NASA Astronaut Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, students were applauded for their academic excellence and encouraged to define their own future.
“If your dreams seem out of this world, that’s OK – sometimes that’s where they’ll lead you,” said Metcalf-Lindenburger, the first alumna of Space Camp to go to space, adding “leading doesn’t just mean that others follow, but that you show others the way.”