Mountain lake in Alaska

It’s called “The Milk Run,” but could just as easily be known as “The Salmon Run” or “The Grocery Run.”

If you’re looking out the oval window of a 737, you might call it the “Peak-and-Glacier Run.”

The Milk Run refers to the daily circuit of Alaska Airlines flights that hop between towns in Southeast Alaska, serving as a lifeline for the communities that aren’t always connected by roads to the outside world.

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hiking-fit-on-the-fly

For Susan Devine, staying fit on the fly is all about the small choices she makes each day.

Devine is a Boise-based consultant who manages a team in Seattle and travels around the Pacific Northwest each week.

Between early morning flights, limited food choices, and hotel rooms far from home, Devine said she is intentional about the choices she makes to stay active and eat healthy.

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After a year of treatment for a rare form of cancer – 14 rounds of chemotherapy and two major surgeries – the only thing 18-year-old Payton Williams wanted was a family vacation somewhere “warm and tropical.”

Thanks to Alaska Airlines and Make-A-Wish Oregon, the teenager’s wish will come true when he flies to Hawaii later this month.

But first, Alaska Airlines gave Payton another unexpected experience – a surprise visit with his favorite football player: former University of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, the Heisman Trophy winner and the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft by the Tennessee Titans.

Each year, Alaska Airlines “adopts” a child from Make-A-Wish Oregon as part of the airline’s involvement in the Portland Rose Festival. This year, it’s Payton, and Alaska employees in Hawaii and Oregon pulled a few strings to arrange his meet-up with Mariota, as well as other cool experiences over the past few months.

“It’s crazy how much Alaska is doing for me, just because they want to help me out in the situation I’m in,” Payton said.

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Boxes of salmon offloaded

To help kick off the summer fishing season around Bristol Bay, Alaska Airlines on Sunday will resume its daily Boeing 737 flights to deliver hundreds of sport fishermen and commercial seafood processors to the tiny Alaska towns of Dillingham and King Salmon. Every year, Alaska launches seasonal jet service to support the workers and tourists who fly in and out of the fishing towns throughout the summer.

While Alaska’s air service to Dillingham and King Salmon is seasonal, the airline’s support of the seafood industry continues year-round in places such as Kodiak, Anchorage, Sitka and Seattle, to name just a few.

On the ground, the hard work of Alaska Air Cargo employees keeps seafood moving around the clock, 365 days a year. That takes a huge amount of planning and coordination, especially when transporting fresh seafood.

“When those boats start coming in, it’s all hands on deck,” said Shannon Stevens, Alaska’s seafood cargo sales manager known as the Fish Lady. “It’s really important that we move the fish out as soon as possible.”

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Nepal-earthquake-EMPACT-team

When a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal April 25, Alaska Airlines flight attendant Sil Wong-Underwood knew it was time to get packed.

She’s been a rescue operations volunteer with disaster response nonprofit EMPACT Northwest for the past five years, and when the United Nations asked for search and rescue teams to gather in Kathmandu, Wong-Underwood and team answered the call.

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Tucked beneath the clouds that often cover Southeast Alaska is the small fishing town of Petersburg, located on Mitkof Island. With a population of 3,209 year-round residents, there are three canneries that bring in an additional 800 people during the summer months. And at first glance, there appears to be more boats in the harbor than people in the town.

Not only is Petersburg home to one of the largest fisheries in Southeast Alaska, but it is also known as Alaska’s “Little Norway,” with many of its residents tracing their roots to Norwegian heritage.

Although local Tlingit Native tribes had been fishing off the beaches of Mitkof Island for thousands of years, it was during the 19th Century that Peter Buschmann, a Norwegian, set his sights on Mitkof Island and deemed it the perfect place for a salmon cannery, using the icebergs from the nearby LeConte Glacier to keep the fish cool.

Today, many descendants of Buschmann and those who followed him from Norway to Alaska still reside in Petersburg, and the celebration of Norwegian Constitution Day has turned into Petersburg’s largest celebration of the year.

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A note to graduates

PLU-graduation

(John Froschauer/PLU)


By Brad Tilden, Alaska Airlines CEO

This speech was originally given by Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden this spring at the University of Alaska Southeast commencement in Juneau, Alaska.

As seniors from my own alma mater Pacific Lutheran University prepare to line up for graduation today (Go Lutes!), I wanted to share with all of this year’s graduates three lessons I’ve learned from others through my own travels in life.

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In July 2014, Mike Rogers was given three months to live.

He’d been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive tissue cancer. But Rogers and wife Betty weren’t willing to accept the prognosis.

“They told us he had three months to live,” says Betty. “We thought ‘No. No, no, no, no, no.’”

The Anchorage, Alaska, couple started to research, finding a cardiothoracic surgeon and expert on treating mesothelioma seemed to be the answer to their prayers. The only problem: he was based in Los Angeles; the Rogers, live thousands of miles north. And Mike was too sick to travel alone.

That’s when the Rogers learned of Angel Flight West – a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization that arranges free air travel for people with serious medical conditions. For patients in Alaska, all flights are on Alaska Airlines, which has contributed more than $12 million in in-kind donations to the organization since 1986.

Want to help? Donate miles today, by visiting alaskaair.com/charitymiles and selecting Angel Flight West from the drop-down menu.

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More than 1,000 high school students learned about careers in aviation from industry professionals at the seventh annual Alaska Airlines Aviation Day on Saturday in Seattle and Portland.

“Each year at Aviation Day we hope to inspire youths to pursue careers in aviation,” said Captain William Korin, Aviation Day coordinator. “With our event, we can mentor and help the next generation of pilots, technicians, flight attendants, customer service agents, accountants, maybe even the next CEO to a rewarding career with Alaska Airlines.”

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Before man stood on the moon, he christened a rolling landscape of sandstone waves near Moab, Utah, as his playground.

Well, maybe not before, but definitely that same summer. The Slickrock Trail, though laid out for dirt bikes in 1969, soon morphed into a 10.2-mile-long loop that draws mountain bikers from across the world and made “Moab” a mythical destination for those who had yet to pedal the trail.

Ready to get outside? Explore outdoor adventure deals at alaskaair.com.

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