mariachi-band-los-cabos

Nearly 10 weeks after Hurricane Odile hit Los Cabos, Alaska Airlines will return to full, scheduled service to the region – plus some.

On Nov. 20, Alaska launches a brand-new, seasonal nonstop flight from Portland, Oregon, to Los Cabos four times per week.

The hurricane damaged buildings and the airport, and thousands of tourists were stranded. Led by Alaska, several airlines were able to operate a limited number of relief flights to transport stranded passengers home while local authorities worked to reopen the airport.

But now, Los Cabos is back in action. The airport reopened to commercial air service in early October, and since then Alaska has been ramping back up to full, scheduled service.

Beginning Nov. 20, Alaska will operate multiple daily and weekly roundtrip flights between Los Cabos and San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Portland.

Alaska Airlines began flying to Mexico a quarter century ago and now operates more than 240 flights a week during the winter between the West Coast and Mexico—more than any other carrier. Alaska flies an average of 1.5 million passengers a year to seven Mexico beach destinations—Cancun, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Loreto, Los Cabos, Manzanillo, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta—in addition to Guadalajara and Mexico City.

Customers with tickets to Los Cabos between Sept. 14 and Nov. 20, 2014 have a variety of options to rebook their travel or request a refund. To learn more, visit our travel advisories page at alaskaair.com. Tickets for future travel to Los Cabos are available at alaskaair.com.

The first verses of “The Star-Spangled Banner” echoed through Oriole Park at Camden Yards – the traditional opening to sporting events across America. But here in Baltimore, the national anthem carries added significance. Three miles away is Fort McHenry, site of the battle that inspired the song’s words exactly 200 years ago.

“And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”

That connection wasn’t lost on my 7-year-old son. Visits to the battlefield and then the ballpark tightened the strings between past and present. The anthem was tangible – he had touched the cannons and explored the bunkers. Overhead in a breezy blue September sky, our flag really was still there.

Making history come alive is one of the things that Baltimore does best. Here are five places we enjoyed during our visit after Alaska Airlines launched daily nonstop service between Seattle and Baltimore.

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airport-jobs

Students take notes at an Airport University class. Photo courtesy Don Wilson, Port of Seattle.


Connie Aguilar is nothing if not ambitious. She works full-time at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where she’s tackling the added responsibility of a recent promotion, takes college-credit classes through a special program for airport workers, has two grown children, spends her day off volunteering back at the airport to help travelers, and is planning to go back to school to get a second bachelor’s degree in accounting.

She is also a fierce advocate for her fellow airport workers, encouraging them to take advantage of the resources available to them through Port Jobs, a nonprofit committed to preparing workers for the Port of Seattle economy.

“If I can do it, anyone can,” Aguilar repeats like a mantra.

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ANSEP-middle-school-academy

Going to college can be scary.

Going to college on an urban, 14,000-student campus when you’ve spent your whole life in a rural community of several hundred can be even scarier.

“For me, it was a challenge,” says Michael Bourdukofsky, chief operations officer for the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP), an organization with the mission of providing native Alaskan students with the support they need to be successful in higher education and in science and engineering careers.

Bourdukofsky grew up on windy, remote St. Paul Island, one of five volcanic islands that make up the Bering Sea’s Pribilof Islands. The tiny island community hosts about 500 residents. He participated in ANSEP’s University Success program in the late 90s and says it was essential to his success in college.

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Skillet-grilled-cheese-bacon-jam

Back in 2007, before the explosion of the street food movement, a single vintage Airstream trailer roamed the streets of Seattle, serving tasty, innovative food from fresh, local ingredients. Each day, Skillet Street Food would send an email update to its hungry customers, letting them know where they could find Skillet’s signature lunch fare that day.

“The idea of street food is something that really resonated. It just immediately took off,” says Greg Petrillo, Skillet’s chief financial officer. “The amount of attention Skillet got was just amazing.”

Today the company has grown up, with three sit-down dining locations and two Airstream trailers, a catering business and a booming side business selling their famous Bacon Jam and Pumpkin Ketchup. And this month, thanks to the sharp eyes and discerning taste buds of Alaska Airlines’ onboard food and beverage product manager Kirsten Robinett, Skillet got its wings.
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Barrow-alaska-homecoming-football-game

On a sunny September day 330 miles above the Arctic Circle, 22 high schoolers play what is arguably the country’s most extreme game of football.

It is a balmy 34 degrees – closer to 0 with wind chill, and parents, friends and supporters gather round the open-air field keeping warm in thick, knit hats and bowls of homemade goulash sold by the parent booster club.

A chilly lagoon borders the field on one side. On the other, the Arctic Ocean.

It is Barrow, Alaska’s homecoming football game.

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Alaska-Airlines-social-care-team

Top row, left-to-right: Jake Reardon, Allen Waldo, Michael Roy, John Kim

Bottom row, left-to-right: Jordan Fletcher, Angel Lessard, Linnea Kiilsgaard, Andre Raden


You may not be able to pick them out of a crowd, but if you’ve ever tweeted at Alaska Airlines, chances are you’ve gotten travel tips from Linnea or football scores from Andre, help with a seat assignment from Michael or an answer to a pre-trip question from Jordan.

They’re part of Alaska’s social care team, a small-and-mighty group of customer care representatives listening to customers on Facebook and Twitter Monday-Friday 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. PST.

The team formed in August 2012, with a select group of customer care representatives with an interest in social media. They rotate shifts between answering questions on Twitter and Facebook and answering customer care phone calls.

The social care team works closely with Alaska’s social media marketing team: David Scotland, Alaska’s manager of search and social media, and Shannon Johnson, Alaska’s social media specialist. Together they plan content, strategy and promotions for Alaska’s social channels.

“I’ve learned so much about how useful social is since having my team assist customers on our social channels,” says Trudy Dobbins, Alaska’s manager of customer care. “Customers on Twitter and Facebook speak loudly. These sites are very powerful tools to get your voice heard and it’s important we’re there to listen and assist.”

And for those who want to be heard – @AlaskaAir is listening.

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Alaska Airlines keys to the sky winners

This week Alaska Airlines announced the order of 10 new 737-900ER aircraft to be added to our all-Boeing fleet. To celebrate, we chose five secret locations around Seattle and carefully crafted clues designed to inspire Seattle-area explorers to discover new corners of the city.

Our five grand-prize winners each received two roundtrip tickets anywhere Alaska flies from Seattle and the chance to test-drive our 737 flight simulator. Our five runners-up and their guest will be invited to join us on the delivery flight of a brand-new 737 next year.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the “Keys to the Sky” scavenger hunt, and congratulations to our winners!

Clues Revealed:

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alaska-airlines-keys-to-the-sky

UPDATE: Keys to the Sky scavenger hunt winners, answers revealed

Calling all explorers – Alaska Airlines’ “Key’s to the Sky” Scavenger Hunt kicks off tomorrow morning.

Our clues will lead you all around Seattle and may even lead you to some new discoveries right in your own backyard.

Hint: they’ll be tricky, so you may want to choose your favorite adventure partner to tackle these clues.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Follow us on Twitter, or Instagram and keep your eyes peeled for clues starting at 6 a.m. PT this Friday, Oct. 10. We will post five clues that will lead to favorite local spots around Seattle and the Puget Sound. Hint: if your sleuthing leads you to a building, we’ll be waiting outside.
  2. Solve the clue and be the first person at each location and say “Seattle’s Airline” and you’ll land a test drive in our state-of-the-art Boeing 737 flight simulator — along with two round trip tickets from Seattle to any of Alaska’s more than 100 destinations in North America, including Mexico and Hawaii. We’ll post the next clue within one hour of announcing a location’s winner. Hint: once a winner has been announced, that clue is over. Make sure you’re watching Twitter and Instagram so you know when each clue has been solved.
  3. We aren’t stopping there. If you are the runner-up at any location, you’ll be invited to take a ride aboard a delivery flight on one of our new aircraft next year. With a special departure from Boeing Field, you’ll cruise around and see the Pacific Northwest like never before. Hint: you’ll know us when you see us.
  4. At the end of the day, we’ll be sharing all of our answered clues and photos of the winners right here at blog.alaskaair.com.

Don’t forget to share your progress as you go, by posting to Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #seattlesairline.

Complete rules, terms and conditions.

Return to Los Cabos

Alaska Airlines Los Cabos-based employees greet passengers on Alaska’s first commercial flight since Hurricane Odile hit on Sept. 14.


Alaska Airlines passengers on flight 236 received a special welcome when their plane landed in Los Cabos early this afternoon. They were met by a cheering crowd of about 100 people including two dozen Alaska Airlines employees, a mariachi band and tourism and government officials. The special flight marks Alaska’s return to Los Cabos after the region and airport were damaged by Hurricane Odile on Sept. 14.

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