Lauren Whiteside of Anchorage, Alaska was recently flying on Alaska Airlines on her way to Austin, Texas, when she experienced utter panic. She’d lost her purse with all her valuables inside.

The saga started when she arrived in Seattle after taking a red-eye from Anchorage and had only 25 minutes to get on a flight to Los Angeles, where she would connect to Austin.

In her rush, she left her purse – with her ID, money and credit cards – on the plane.

She realized her mistake just as the flight to L.A. hit cruising altitude.

“Aaaand then I freaked. Full-freak-out-tears-flowing mode,” she later wrote in a Facebook post.

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When winter weather is forecast, preparation is essential for Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air and Virgin America– especially when it comes to the potential for light snow and ice in Seattle and Portland, which are primary hubs.

Whenever conditions get too cold and moisture is present, there’s a chance frost or snow can accumulate on aircraft surfaces. When this happens, a plane needs to be deiced so its surfaces can be clean and clear before takeoff. This season, significant changes have been made in how that work gets done.

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In a child’s world, losing a toy is upsetting. But for a 4-year-old girl named Rougen from Coos Bay, Oregon, the polka-dotted, stuffed dog named Bubba left behind on her flight was more than just a toy. It was a memory of her brother.

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Alaska Airlines ranks No. 1 in fuel efficiency for U.S. airlines for the 7th consecutive year.

Alaska led all 13 major U.S. carriers as the most fuel-efficient airline operating in the United States in 2015 and 2016, according to a report released today by the International Council on Clean Transportation, an independent, nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C.

“Alaska burns about 13 percent less fuel (per passenger mile) than the industry average, it’s a profitable airline, and it’s done this for seven years running,” said Naya Olmer, lead author of the study.

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By Jess Dale (instagram.com/jess.wandering)
and Quin Schrock (instagram.com/everchanginghorizon)

2 Weekend Wanderer: Los Angeles to Liberia, Costa Rica

The hike to the Oropendola waterfall is short, fun, and photogenic. It’s one of the only waterfalls we visited that allowed swimming, so don’t forget your suit!

When I was 6 years old I was obsessed with bugs. I picked up this interest from my friend’s dad. He was an entomologist, and would travel all over the world collecting insects. After one trip in particular he came back with tales of lush forests, neon blue waterfalls, white sand beaches, and a stunning array of biodiversity. And thus, a new obsession started – Costa Rica. I checked out every book in the library, cut out pictures from my parents’ magazines, and put it at the top of my list of places I would visit when I grew up.

But it wasn’t until Quin contacted me about doing the Weekend Wanderer program with him in Costa Rica, that my childhood dream became a reality. We left from Los Angeles and took Alaska Airlines’ new direct flight to Liberia, picked up our car, and hit the road! Flying into Liberia put us near Costa Rica’s vibrant rain forests, numerous National Parks, and beautiful waterfalls.

Our goal was to see as many as possible during our stay!

Shop: Flights to Costa Rica

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Every December, an annual Fantasy Flight on Alaska Airlines arrives at the “North Pole” to bring smiles and Christmas cheer to about 60 children, many of whom live in shelters or transitional housing.

For most of the kids, it’s their first time on an airplane – and Flight 1225 (as in “Dec. 25”) is the opening act in an exciting day that culminates in an elaborately detailed party in a space that’s been transformed into a wonderland of winter treats.

For kids who don’t have much, the special treatment provides a momentary lift this time of year – and memories to last a lifetime.

 With help from Santa and his elves, Fantasy Flight makes life a little brighter for children in need With help from Santa and his elves, Fantasy Flight makes life a little brighter for children in needWhile happy spirits dominate the evening, there are many poignant reminders of the difficulty each child faces. Last year, after visiting a booth to select pajamas, one girl put on her purple PJs as fast as she could, near tears, because she’d never owned pajamas before.

Since 2008, Alaska Airlines has sponsored the Fantasy Flight in Spokane, Washington, and many Alaska and Horizon employees volunteer as the “elves” who make the magic happen.

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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 in the December issue of Alaska Beyond magazine, 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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Over the past year or so, you probably heard that your standard driver license soon might not be good enough to get you through security checkpoints at the airport. There was even a looming deadline of Jan. 22, 2018 that had a lot of us taking notice and wondering what it all means.

Well, there’s good news.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently approved extension requests for a new batch of states as it relates to the REAL ID Act, including Alaska, California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

The extensions were needed because standard driver licenses are not in line with federal requirements.

The big takeaway: Passengers will still be able to use their regular state driver licenses and ID cards for air travel for another year – at least through October 2018. There’s no need to rush out and do anything, like getting an enhanced driver license.

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raleigh Local Wanderer: Raleigh, North CarolinaBy Chana Lynn, RaleighWhatsUp 

Raleigh is an incredible city to live, work and play – and also to visit!

Raleigh is a creative and closely connected city. Like many other cities, Raleigh and the surrounding Triangle area are currently experiencing a lot of growth these last few years, and it’s exciting to be a part of it.

Raleigh is home to many world-class technology companies and universities, NHL and elite college athletics, several incredible museums, a fast rising destination food scene with award-winning chefs, fantastic coffee shops and plenty of amazing local breweries. I’d say we are pretty lucky to live here!

On my blog, RaleighWhatsUp, I enjoy sharing and highlighting lots of amazing local places in Raleigh and beyond to dine, drink, listen, shop and explore. I’ve put together a few of my favorite destinations in Raleigh but plan a visit and decide for yourself! Shop for flights to Raleigh.

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Alaska Airlines will put limits on “smart bags” starting early next year.

As of Jan. 15, any bag powered with a lithium battery or lithium battery power bank will need to follow these requirements:

  • Smart bags will be allowed as carry-on baggage, if they meet carry-on size limits and if it’s possible to remove the battery from the bag if needed.
  • If the bag will fly as a checked bag, the battery must be removed and the battery must be carried in the cabin.
  • If it’s not possible to remove the battery from the bag, the bag won’t be allowed on the plane.

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