If there’s one thing we put above all else it’s safety. We’ve just been named among the top-20 safest airlines in the world for 2019 by AirlineRatings.com. For us, this recognition means a lot because it speaks to our commitment to keep you safe, every time you fly with us.

“Safety is our top priority and is firmly ingrained in our culture as we are personally committed to the safety of our guests and one another,” said Max Tidwell, Alaska Airlines vice president of safety and security.
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I’ve been an Alaska Airlines MVP Gold member for several years, and before that I earned status with other airline loyalty programs, too. I hope you’ll believe me when I say that earning status with Alaska Mileage Plan is one of the easier experiences I’ve had. It is different from the competition, but I consider it different it a good way.

As you set New Year’s resolutions, consider adding elite status to your list. Here are four ways to make it happen in 2019:

1. Fly the distance

You’re probably familiar with award miles already. Airlines issue them. Credit cards issue them. There are lots of ways to earn miles for future award travel redemptions. But elite status is different. You need to earn a different kind of mileage, called elite-qualifying miles.
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Before heading into the New Year, we’re pausing to celebrate.

Mileage Plan members went the distance in 2018. A whopping 19 million flights were flown on Alaska, Horizon and our Global Partner airlines – all earning miles for our members. This includes the 338,480 miles racked up by one traveler (thanks, Richard).

Whether you’re an MVP Gold or still working toward elite status, it’s fun to see where fellow members traveled using their hard-earned miles.

20190117 YIR Gen Cities r Where were the most miles spent in 2018?

This year, award travel to Phoenix, Las Vegas and San Diego led the way. Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County and Juneau rounded out the top-eight destinations.
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Buckle your seat belt, fasten your tray table and … start watching “Rampage”?

That’s right, the second most-watched movie on Alaska Beyond™ Entertainment this year features an albino gorilla who turns into a raging, enormous creature.

In fact, the top 10 movies chosen among hundreds of choices were mostly hard-hitting, action-packed releases:
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I know this trip is going to be special as soon as I step into the airport and am greeted by a reindeer.

Well, not a real reindeer, of course – though the taxidermy figure perched proudly at the baggage carousel is life-like enough to make me gasp. Flanked by a gaggle of tiny, behatted gnomes, cotton-batting snow billows under its hooves. A few plastic evergreens loom in the distance, completing the scene.

No, I’m not in the North Pole, though an elf would blend in here. I’m in Finland, which you can fly to on Finnair, an Alaska Global Partner. Mileage Plan members can earn and redeem miles flying here from several U.S. destinations, including nonstop service from San Francisco to Helsinki.

I take a deep breath and step out into the arrivals hall in Kuusamo. It feels like Christmas. I smile to myself as I hop a cab to my hotel.

I shouldn’t have been so surprised at the festive welcome. Kuusamo, a ski resort town located in the northern part of the country, is a mere 120 miles from Rovaniemi, the hometown of Santa Claus. It’s also part of Finnish Lapland, the sparsely populated cultural and geographical region known for its sub-zero temperatures and idyllic landscapes.

But I’m not here to go skiing or to visit Father Christmas. Instead, I’ve come to meet some reindeer. Real ones.
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Whether you want to worship the sun or get your cold on, taking a long-distance trip in the winter months can yield all kinds of new adventures – and help you burn all those miles you’ve racked up. Did you know Mileage Plan members can earn and redeem miles while flying internationally on Alaska’s partner airlines?

From tropical climates and snow-covered lands to magnificent cities and off-the-beaten-track cultures, here are six places to consider.
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This weekend, our annual Fantasy Flight arrived at the “North Pole” to bring smiles and Christmas cheer to 66 children, many of whom live in shelters or transitional housing.

For most of the kids, it was their first time on an airplane. But Flight 1225 (as in “Dec. 25”), which departed Spokane, Washington for Santa’s hometown at 4:45 p.m. this Saturday, was just the opening act; the kids finished their special day at an elaborately decorated party – a true winter wonderland.

For kids who don’t have much, the special treatment provides a momentary lift this time of year – and memories to last a lifetime.

While happy spirits fill the air, there are many poignant reminders of the difficulty each child faces. Last year, after visiting a booth to select pajamas, one girl put on her purple PJs as fast as she could, near tears, because she’d never owned pajamas before.

Since 2008, Alaska Airlines has sponsored the annual Fantasy Flight, with many Alaska and Horizon employees volunteering as “elves” ready to make magic happen.
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By Bri Emory

If you have the chance to go to Ireland in the off-season, do it. I’d never been and loved so much about my recent trip: the beautiful scenery, the kind people, the food and cocktails, the pubs – and going in early November. Alaska Airlines has a program called #worldwidewanderer, where they send people all over the world to experience a new city and share their journey along the way. I truly love traveling and seeing new parts of the world, so it was an honor to be able to take this trip and share my travels.

dublin 2 Castles with charm, cocktails by candlelight: Ireland in the off season

Bri Emory (@designlovefest) visited Ireland this November.

My travel companion, Joanie, and I got to fly first class on Aer Lingus, which was a real treat! It felt like we started our Ireland experience as soon as we got on the plane in San Francisco, California. All of the staff was really friendly and served us scones, tea and delicious food. We were able to curl up in our seats, watch movies, drink wine and relax before hitting the ground running. Aer Lingus is also an Alaska Global Partner, which means you can earn miles as you travel!

Once we landed, we decided to drive around the country, so we could experience as much as possible in four days. I am happy we did because we saw so much.
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Update: 3:31 p.m. on Nov. 30, 2018

If you are traveling to and from Anchorage, Alaska, between Nov. 30, 2018 and Dec. 2, 2018, we are now offering a waiver if you would like to change or cancel your flight. More information can be found here.
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With turkey leftovers crammed in the fridge, we dash into the holiday season with bells on.

Or not.
shutterstock 1094945555 350px Holiday Lift Guide: Ideas for lifting people up
While some manage to finish their holiday shopping on Black Friday, many of us struggle to find the perfect gift for the people we love.

At Alaska, we talk a lot about lift – that gravity-defying moment when an airplane takes flight, and those small acts of kindness that turn a stressful travel experience around. This year, instead of a traditional gift guide, we’ve identified ways we can lift people up for the holidays.

The Alaska Airlines Holiday Lift Guide inspires uplifting experiences you can offer to those in your life who make yours a little easier. We believe small gestures have the power to make a big difference.
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