Alaska Airlines is the top-ranked airline in America for the second year in a row, according to The Points Guy.

Alaska scored consistently well in all categories, ranking in the top three for low airfare, best on-time arrival rates, highest customer satisfaction, best baggage handling and a best-in-the-industry frequent flyer program.

“This award is a credit to our amazing, kind-hearted people who provide genuine, caring service for our guests every day,” said Ben Minicucci, Alaska’s president and chief operating officer. “We’re focused on creating an airline people love, so even when things don’t go perfectly, our people are empowered to make things right. Sometimes that makes all the difference.”

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Alaska Airlines and Fiji Airways have expanded their partnership with a codeshare agreement on flights between San Francisco and Seattle, and San Francisco and Portland.

The codeshare lets Fiji Airways to place its “FJ” code on Alaska’s flights between San Francisco and Seattle and between San Francisco and Portland, offering Fiji Airways guests seamless connections to these cities via San Francisco, and vice-versa for Alaska Airlines guests flying to Fiji. The codeshare flights will be available for sale starting March 5.

Both airlines have an existing frequent flyer partnership, where members of Alaska’s Mileage Plan earn and redeem miles for travel on “FJ” flight numbers.

“Fiji Airways is a fantastic partner of Alaska Airlines, so we’re thrilled to enhance that partnership and provide a hassle-free journey for people connecting to Seattle and Portland,” said Charles Breer, Alaska Airlines managing director of alliances. “We look forward to welcoming Fiji Airways travelers with genuine, caring service, just as Fiji Airways provides a premium experience for our loyal customers.”

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Alaska Airlines Captain Chris Cice, left, helped mentor Todd Swenson, right. In February, Swenson became one of Alaska’s newest captains.

When Alaska Airlines Captain Chris Cice started chatting with a guest on a flight from Seattle to Oakland about 20 years ago, he had no idea that he’d inspire a new captain.

Fast forward to today: That guest – Todd Swenson – was promoted to captain at Alaska Airlines in February, fulfilling a dream that Cice helped him visualize.

It all started 20 years ago. Cice was a newly hired first officer with Alaska and was dead-heading in the main cabin from Seattle to Oakland. When Cice boarded the flight, he noticed a guest in his assigned seat. So he took the middle seat, next to a man in the window seat deeply ensconced in his book.

“I noticed that the man was reading a book by aviation author John Nance,” Cice said. “About halfway through the flight, my curiosity got the better of me and I asked him if he liked flying.”

The guest was Swenson. And that question from the friendly Alaska pilot changed the course of his life.

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Flying from Los Angeles to Sydney is not a short distance, and normally when I complete this 15-hour journey I can’t wait to get off the plane. But not this time …

qantas wine Review: A 15 hour journey flies by, thanks to business class on Qantas, an Alaska Global Partner

The sommelier in the sky explains the extensive collection of wine in Qantas business class

This last flight, I was fortunate enough to be sitting business class with Qantas, an Alaska Airlines Global Partner

And I honestly didn’t want to get off that plane! In fact, I could have easily done another 15-hour journey back to Los Angeles in that comfortable lay-flat bed. 

The top-notch customer service, unbelievably delicious meals and endless hours of entertainment were truly outstanding, and made this international journey completely enjoyable.

Here are some of the highlights of flying with Qantas:

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Boeing employees in the Seattle area recently shared their thoughts about flying the hometown airline. What’s your Alaska Airlines story?

Archie the Jack Russell terrier greets wine tasters who visit winemaker Paul Bridgeman, right, and Levantine Hill Vineyard in Australia’s Yarra Valley.

“Would you like some more wine, Mr. Anderson?”

dji 0118 In search of Australias most smashable wine: Tasting our way through the Yarra Valley

Sunset in Australia’s Yarra Valley.

That’s a question I heard several times on my business class flight from Los Angeles to Sydney on Qantas, an Alaska Airlines Global Partner. (My first time flying business, actually, and hands down the best 15 hours I’ve ever spent on a plane!)

“Yes, please” I quickly responded to the sommelier in the sky, after she gave me several recommendations, and told me all about the wines and where in Australia they’re from.

I nodded along in agreement, and expressed my extreme appreciation for the wine she recommended. The truth is: I literally didn’t know anything about wine. Absolutely nothing. I can’t emphasize that enough.

But after flying with Qantas and spending the most incredible day wine-tasting in Australia’s Yarra Valley — I’ve definitely become a beginner wine connoisseur.

I spent 12 amazing days in Australia – exploring the beautiful coastal walks in Sydney, getting an epic quokka selfie on Rottnest Island, and driving the insanely beautiful “Great Ocean Road.”

But my absolute favorite day was wine-tasting in the Yarra Valley! Sometimes the best moments on trips are the unexpected ones.

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Few things are as frustrating as sitting on an airplane waiting out an “ATC delay.”

ATC is airline-speak for Air Traffic Control, a program governed by the Federal Aviation Administration. It manages the flow of planes as they arrive and depart airports. ATC’s top priority: safety. That includes maintaining a safe amount of separation between aircraft.

In perfect conditions, planes can fly closer together. When airport conditions deterio­rate – wind, snow, poor visibility, or even too many flights scheduled in the same time period – controllers ensure the highest levels of safety by requiring more space between planes as they arrive or depart. Instead of 60 airplanes arriving every hour, for instance, ATC might restrict the flow to 30 airplanes. Of course, that slower rate creates a backlog.

Airplanes must wait their turn in the air, at the departure gate or on the taxiway. Other times, airlines cancel flights to help minimize the snowball effect of delays, and passengers are rebooked on the next available flight.

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wff map How to check a case of wine for free on Alaska AirlinesAlaska Airlines has expanded our popular Wine Flies Free program to include wineries throughout the state of California.

That means Alaska Mileage Plan members departing from 29 airports in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California wine regions can check up to a case of wine – 12 bottles – for free!

Not a Mileage Plan member? Join for free.

Wondering how your Wine Flies Free from the West Coast? It’s easier than you think.

Here’s a step-by-step guide.

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Keep an eye out for our big heart the next time you fly through Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport.

The sculpture was unveiled on Valentine’s Day and signifies Alaska Airlines’ ongoing commitment to delivering kind-hearted service to the Bay Area community.
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holding hands Love at first flight: Alaska Airlines flight attendants fall for each other in class, get engaged 1 year later

Alaska Airlines flight attendants Benjamin Cripps and Carline Kintigh. Photos by Victoria Fitch.

It sounds like a Hallmark movie: Two people “meet cute” in Alaska Airlines flight attendant training, fall head over heels for each other, covertly find ways to spend time together, are separated by their jobs for a time and then come back together and become engaged exactly one year after they met.

Oh, and one other thing: Both sets of their parents met working at Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, and still work there today.

But it’s not the latest Hollywood rom-com starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. It’s the real-life story of Portland-based flight attendants Benjamin Cripps and Carline Kintigh.

In a nod to Alaska Airlines for bringing them together and their deep roots with the company, they recently had all of their engagement photos taken on and around the Portland Timbers-themed airplane and Portland International Airport. The photos were taken by Victoria Fitch, also a Portland-based flight attendant. Their wedding date is set for Sept. 6, 2018.

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