When the powerful Category 3 Hurricane Odile hit Mexico’s Baja Peninsula on Sept. 14, Alaska Airlines responded immediately.

Through a series of humanitarian relief flights dubbed Operation Ayuda – “help” in Spanish – Alaska evacuated more than 2,000 people.

This video is a tribute to the more than 1,000 Alaska and Horizon employees who offered their skills, their expertise and their compassion in Los Cabos, Mazatlan, Loreto and in the United States.

Thank you for showing the world what it means to say, “I am Alaska.”


The District of Columbia – it’s a city of history, culture and fabulous dining. There’s so much to do that a first-time visitor might not know where to start. For help, we turned to Ginny Carruthers, Alaska’s District of Columbia-based director of government affairs. She’s been with Alaska for 27 years, the past 10 of which have been in the District, and offers these insider tips to Washington D.C.

Why do you love this city?

The District is our nation’s capital; the seat of our government. I never tire of seeing the Capitol dome, the White House, and all of the spectacular monuments in between. During the school year I love to see the excitement of eighth-grade students visit Washington from all over the country.

The Washington, D.C. area boasts very diverse/ethnic restaurants; outstanding museums that for the most part are free of charge; a cultural center with The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Mt. Vernon, the home of George Washington, just a quick 30 minutes from D.C. and an absolute must. There is just so much to see and do in D.C. that is both fun and enlightening!

So what should I do if I’m visiting D.C. for the first time?

Take one of the city bus tours to get the lay of the land and a good historical overview from the tour guides. After that, buy a Metro Card (D.C.’s subway system) and visit the monuments yourself, including Arlington Cemetery (less than 10 minutes on the Metro from Reagan National Airport). Take the Metro to Eastern Market which is always bustling on Saturday and Sunday.

If you were taking a visitor out for dinner or drinks, where are a few places you might go?

Right now, the hot neighborhood in D.C. is called the 14th Street Corridor. You will find fabulous restaurants and bars in all price ranges, as well as a variety of ethnic food options, art galleries to explore and boutiques to browse. Le Diplomate, Ghibellina and Cork Wine Bar are some of my favorite restaurants.

In Penn Quarter, try Proof, Tosca, Central Michel Richard and SEI Restaurant.

Capitol Hill is popular at night, with good restaurants and bars.

Out-of-towners will especially enjoy POV, the W Hotel’s rooftop terrace bar that boasts spectacular views of the White House.

If you’re in the mood for something off the beaten path, don’t miss Ben’s Chili Bowl. It is known for its “half smokes” and has been visited by presidents, vice presidents and other dignitaries. Just this year, a branch location was opened at none other than Reagan National Airport in the pre-security area. Everyone should try Ben’s Chili Bowl.

What are your favorite museums/sights in D.C.?

D.C. is truly blessed with a group of museums under the Smithsonian umbrella. Admission to any Smithsonian museum is free, which is hard to find anywhere else in the country and they are all spectacular. I personally love the National Gallery of Art, but any of the museums is terrific.

Other museums worth seeing that may not be as well-known are:

  • The National Postal Museum, which is an interesting postal history that is well worth seeing;
  • The National Building Museum, which is really architecturally beautiful inside. Tickets run from $5-8; and
  • The International Spy Museum which is really becoming popular. Tickets run from $14.95-21.95, and children age 6 and under are free.
  • Hillwood Estate Museum and Gardens, the former home of Marjorie Merriweather Post. Its events and collections change almost every month. It hosts the most comprehensive collection of Russian art outside of Russia. The Gardens are beautiful and it is a must-see museum.
  • The O Street Mansion. I just learned about this museum not too long ago and it is hard to describe but definitely different – very eclectic. I don’t think it is mentioned in many tour guides of D.C. and is definitely an off-the-beaten path museum to see.

What’s the best outdoor activity in or around D.C.?

  • Walking or bicycling through Rock Creek Park in the heart of D.C., and
  • Hiking or bicycling the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Towpath.

Rock Creek Park is a must.

What’s the one thing you shouldn’t miss if you’re visiting the area?

The monuments at night. They are spectacular and provide a different perspective than during the day. In particular, the Korean War Memorial is so much more eerie and breathtaking at night.

Alaska Airlines will soon add more flying to the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area, with a daily roundtrip flight from Seattle to Dulles International Airport beginning March 11. Alaska currently flies nonstop from Seattle to Baltimore-Washington International Airport and Reagan National Airport. With the Dulles flight, travelers will enjoy six daily roundtrips between the West Coast and “The DMV” – The District, Maryland and Virgina. Book your flight today.

What are your favorite DC-area hangouts?

Alaska Airlines wrapped chicken banh mi sandwich

Fresh, spicy, delicious. Three words you might not necessarily associate with airplane food – unless, of course, you’ve been flying Alaska Airlines.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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