By Abe Kislevitz 

Alaska Airlines’ program to send people to cool places around the world, the #WorldwideWanderer, gave me and my best friend Caleb Farro the opportunity to explore Hong Kong for the first time. No, Alaska Airlines doesn’t fly to Hong Kong, but Alaska Global Partner Cathay Pacific does! I always heard great things about this city but never had the chance to go until now. We spent a full six days in the heart of the city, adventuring to as many spots as we could.

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Hardcore runners travel with the goal of completing a race, and then flying home. But what’s the fun in that?  How about traveling to an amazing destination with the goal of having a great vacation – with a little running on the side?

5 tips for planning your racecation:

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UPDATE May 1, 2018: We have successfully moved to one reservation system – our biggest integration milestone. Also, we now have one airport brand, website, mobile app and call center. All of this work means our merger is now 75 percent complete.

UPDATE April 25, 2018: We’re making very good progress with our biggest integration milestone yet. We have transitioned all branding and signage to Alaska Airlines at the 29 airports served by both Alaska and Virgin America. Now when traveling, no matter where you’re flying or what type of plane you’re on, you’ll use Alaska’s website, mobile app, airport kiosks and call center. Plus, we now have one reservations system.


Over the last 18 months, we have been on a journey. At Alaska, we love journeys – to Hawaii, to Mexico, to Boston, to home. There’s excitement in the adventure. And even when there’s a little turbulence, we work hard to make yours a great experience – which is why we’re delighted to achieve a point in our integration with Virgin America when your travel with us will be more seamless, everywhere we fly.

As of April 25, you will:

  • Check-in using one website (
  • Use one mobile app (Alaska’s).
  • Call one call center (Alaska’s).
  • Look for Alaska flight numbers.

At the airport, check-in takes place at Alaska’s ticket counters and kiosks. Regardless of where you’re flying, you’ll head for Alaska gates.

On the night of April 24, we’ll complete physical changes at 29 airports around the U.S. and Mexico that are served by both Alaska and Virgin America. The only branding and signage will now be for Alaska Airlines. Signs and screens will all change to Alaska branding at curbside locations, lobbies, ticket counters, gates and baggage areas. While there will be some Virgin America painted aircraft still flying for a period of time after April 25, tickets will be sold only under the Alaska name.

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Planning a vacation is great fun. Packing for that vacation? Not so much – especially if you’re like many frequent travelers and prefer to travel light with a carry-on bag.

Streamline your day of travel with these five tips for wrangling your carry-on.

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More than a thousand times a day, our planes take off, following a careful symphony of process and procedure, to make your flight safe and smooth.  And with each takeoff, our values guide us to operate safely and on-time, to provide great service, to do the right thing, and to be kind-hearted.

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To get a local’s perspective on what to do in Dublin, Ireland, we connected with Eoin Higgins, a Dublin-based writer and photographer, to learn what he would suggest to friends who visit his city for the first time.

Alaska Airlines’ newest Mileage Plan partner Aer Lingus will begin nonstop flights between Seattle and Dublin starting May 18, opening a new way for flyers to connect to Ireland and beyond to the rest of Europe.

Dublin drinks double bill: Traditional music and pints, or sophisticated modern cocktails

First up, a “trad” session accompanied pints of beautifully poured stout at the longstanding Cobblestone – the self-described “drinking pub with a music problem” – pictured above. Every night, and weekend afternoons, traditional Irish musicians take to the corner table in this traditional Irish bar and belt out jigs, reels and everything-in-between to an appreciative crowd. 77 King Street North, Smithfield, Dublin 7, +353 1 872 1799;

dublin 2 A locals guide: 5 things to do during your first visit to Dublin, Ireland

Glam it up then by getting down at Nine Below on upmarket St Stephen’s Green. The city’s most luxurious watering hole is a Grade I-listed space in which to get shaken and stirred. Expect to kick back with world-class bartending and sophisticated drinks in an elegant environment. 9 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, +353 1 905 9990;

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When Alaska Airlines asked us if we wanted to go Outside Suburbia and be a Weekend Wanderer in San Diego, we could not refuse – not just because we know life is a beach in San Diego, but also because we were hoping to see some spring blooms while we were there.

From Dallas Love Field, it’s a three-hour flight to sunny San Diego where the expected forecast was 70 degrees for the next few days. Perfect for exploring some of the 70 miles of coastline and more than two-dozen beaches with my husband an our son, D.

Ready to vacation in San Diego? Turn your dream into reality with these flight deals.

1 Weekend Wanderer: Dallas to San Diego

Living in Texas we are used to sunny days and blue skies but there is something about the Cali sun that is softer and soothing – we can never ever say no to a few days basking in it!

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My wife and I have spent years traveling throughout Asia, but Japan is by far one of our favorite destinations. The excellent hospitality, amazing food, and peaceful parks and temples make it appealing in any season. And as one of the closest destinations from the West Coast, it’s easy to stop and explore the Japanese archipelago or connect onward to the rest of Central and Southeast Asia.

jal 1 Global Partner trip review: Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members can now enjoy the authentic hospitality of Japan Airlines

People compete for picnic space under the blossoming trees in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo.

Last year, we visited Tokyo to witness the famous cherry blossom (or “sakura”) festival. Thousands of people enjoy picnics under the trees. Our most recent trip in September included stops in Kyoto, home to over a thousand Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, and the amazing restaurant scene in nearby Osaka. We planned to fly home from Osaka with a short stop in Hawaii.

jal 3 Global Partner trip review: Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members can now enjoy the authentic hospitality of Japan Airlines

Osaka’s bustling Dotonburi district features hundreds of restaurants to satisfy your appetite.

Japan Airlines, or JAL, is one of the newest international partners of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. This means you can earn or redeem through Mileage Plan when you fly on JAL, and the miles you earn on JAL flights count toward MVP elite status with Alaska Airlines. I’ve enjoyed several trips with JAL in recent years, so I decided to write about what it’s like to travel in JAL’s international business class if you’re thinking of visiting Japan in the near future.

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Annabel Chang owes her life to an airport. The Alaska Airlines Bay Area vice president’s father was flying from Taiwan to Texas when he stopped for a layover at LAX. His family set him up with a young Pepperdine student, who agreed to meet him at the airport and show him around.

“The problem was, they didn’t have cell phones then and they had never met each other, so my mom had to use the paging system to find him,” Chang says. When they finally connected, they toured the city. “When my dad returned to Texas for grad school, he couldn’t stop thinking about my mom. My understanding is they moved pretty quick after that!”

Chang grew up 20 minutes south of the Los Angeles airport where her parents first met.  She first moved to the Bay Area to earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley (she now sits on UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies National Advisory Council). After earning her juris doctor from Washington University in St. Louis and serving as a legislative staffer for U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein in Washington, D.C., Chang returned to the West Coast to practice law in San Francisco, where she was a prosecuting attorney for the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.

Chang, who lives in San Francisco with her husband, says she was drawn back to the Bay Area by the “food, culture, views and the people!”

Chang is Alaska Airlines’ first vice president in the Bay Area. The role was created in 2017, building on the integration with Virgin America and that airline’s success in the Bay Area over the past 10 years. Alaska keeps growing, especially in California, where it now offers nonstop service to 42 destinations from San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland.

Chang recently talked about her passion for bringing joy to travelers, her experience as a daughter of immigrants and as a female person of color in male-dominated fields, and her favorite place to take friends visiting San Francisco.

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magazine cover for blog Women who are pilots share the moments of inspiration that led to aviation careers

A version of this story appears in the December 2017 issue of our in-flight magazine, Alaska Beyond.

Good pilots are known for their technical expertise, precision, teamwork and customer service. At Alaska Air Group, pilots go beyond that to also exemplify the company’s core values: Own safety, do the right thing, be kindhearted, deliver performance and be remarkable.

These professionals have a deep and unwavering commitment to outstanding flying skills. They take seriously their command responsibility and authority.

At the same time, they know they’re not just flying planes, they’re flying people. That mindset informs everything they do.

Women in the flight deck remain somewhat of a rarity: Only about 5 percent of commercial airline pilots in the U.S. are women. Among the three pilots profiled here, there is a certain sense of camaraderie. But above all, they’re professional pilots doing what they love – flying our guests.

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