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.
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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

Check in for your flight online or with the Alaska Airlines app to save time waiting in ticket counter lines. Those flying out of Sea-Tac should especially prepare for long airport lines this summer.

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.

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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.

21 Alaska Airlines cheers athletes in Seattle for 2018 Special Olympics USA Games

Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden gives a 2018 Games/Alaska Airlines pin to an athlete on Monday at Angle Lake. (Photo by Ingrid Barrentine.)

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By Jeff Bartlett

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:
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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.
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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.”

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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.”
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You may have a complicated relationship with boarding an aircraft. On the one hand, it means you will soon settle into your seat and you’re almost on your way. On the other hand, it can sometimes be stressful if you’re not sure when it’s your turn to board. At one point or another, you’ve probably seen a big queue of people – let’s be honest, sometimes it’s just a shapeless blob – that forms when people aren’t sure if it’s their time to board.

Starting July 18, Alaska will be launching a new group boarding process that will simplify the process for guests. This identifies which of the five groups – First Class, Group A, Group B, Group C or Group D – you belong to. You’ll simply approach the gate with the rest of your group when your group is announced.

This new boarding process doesn’t change anything about where you sit once you’re inside the plane – Alaska Airlines still has confirmed, assigned seats that you may select in advance. There’s no change to that.

Here’s a quick rundown on what this all means for you the next time you fly Alaska Airlines.

Boarding Pass

For flights on or after July 18, 2018, you will see some changes to the boarding pass design – such as larger fonts and more streamlined information.

2018 group boarding passes Alaska simplifies boarding process

Your boarding pass is really a guide for your journey. You want to know, first and foremost, where you need to be (your gate) and when you need to be there (your boarding time).

You’ll notice these two pieces of information are now big and bold. In tests, guests were quickly and easily able to get the information they needed from their boarding passes.

You will find your group letter listed on your boarding pass. If you have multiple flight segments, you’ll see each one on a separate line and an assigned group letter for each. If you’re a Mileage Plan MVP traveling with other people on the same reservation, you will all see the same boarding group noted on your boarding pass.

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Alaska Airlines recently partnered with Darling Media to launch the “Go, Be You” video series, which follows eight women as they explore eight Alaska Airlines destinations. Each video is hosted by a traveler who shares the hidden gems that define the personality of each city.

San Francisco with Bethany Menzel

The quirks are the perks. Unconventional museums. Vintage shops. Stylish restaurants. Content Creator Bethany Menzal’s hilly adventure shares the city’s creativity and unique architecture.

Watch more videos in the series

By Jacqueline Drumheller, sustainability manager

These days, most 16-year-olds are focused on getting their driver’s licenses, playing Fortnite or deciding who they want to ask to prom, but Shelby O’Neil isn’t your average teenager. She’s a Girl Scout who created Jr Ocean Guardians for her 2017 Girl Scout USA Gold Award Project to share her passion to save our oceans and marine life for future generations.

shelby oneil jog gs 2018 Stirred to action: Alaska Airlines to ditch plastic straws in favor of marine friendly stir sticks

Shelby O’Neil reached out to Alaska Airlines last year, asking us to eliminate single-use plastic stir straws to reduce the amount of plastic pollution that is damaging our oceans.

Shelby reached out to Alaska Airlines last year, urging us to eliminate single-use plastic straws to reduce plastic pollution that is damaging our oceans. Little did she know, we were on the cusp of becoming the first U.S. airline to make this change, building on our decades-long commitment to environmental stewardship.

Starting this summer, we’re replacing non-recyclable plastic stir straws and citrus picks – we used 22 million last year – with sustainable, marine-friendly alternatives on all domestic and international flights, as well as in Alaska’s lounges across the country. For people with special needs, we’ll happily provide non-plastic, marine-friendly option, upon request.

We’ve partnered with the Seattle-based nonprofit Lonely Whale, an organization that drives impactful market-based change on behalf of our oceans, to support this initiative.

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