Ben Pierce, of Dallas, is only 9, but after a trip to Alaska last week, he now has lifetime of visual memories.

Born premature, weighing just over a pound, Ben had suffered numerous setbacks in his young life, chief among them being the gradual loss of his eyesight due to scar tissue from surgery. His doctors coached him to put together a “visual wish list” of all the things he’d like to see, and Ben decided that, among other things, he wanted to see the northern lights.

On a trip to Dallas this spring, Alaska Airlines Capt. Chris Cice heard Ben’s story on the news and knew he had to help. A few weeks later, Cice and Alaska Airlines surprised Ben and his family with tickets to travel to Fairbanks – one of the best places in the world to see the northern lights.

Watch: ABC Alaska 13 journalist Ryan Overton’s report on the family’s unforgettable trip.

By Shaunta Hyde, Managing Director of Community Relations, Alaska Air Group

Alaska Airlines’ Shaunta Hyde presents 1 million miles to Barry McConnell, Make-a-Wish Alaska and Washington chapter president and CEO, and Make-A-Wish board chair Mitch Hansen before a Mariners game on Friday, Sept. 26.

Alaska Airlines’ Shaunta Hyde presents 1 million miles to Barry McConnell, Make-a-Wish Alaska and Washington chapter president and CEO, and Make-A-Wish board chair Mitch Hansen before a Mariners game on Friday, Sept. 26.

Witnessing a child’s wish come true is one of life’s true joys. On Friday, I was humbled to present Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington with a gift of 1 million miles so that more children can experience their heartfelt wishes. In partnership with the Seattle Mariners, Alaska Airlines has been accumulating miles for our local Make-A-Wish chapter each time a Mariner hits a homerun since 2010. The “Home Runs for Wishes” program receives 10,000 miles from Alaska for each home run, and 40,000 miles for a Mariner grand slam. This season has been an amazing one for the M’s, which means more miles for Make-A-Wish and more dreams turning into reality for children in our region.

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Alaska Airlines will resume flying one daily roundtrip flight from Los Angeles to Los Cabos starting Oct. 8 following the recent announcement that Los Cabos International Airport will reopen. Tickets are now available for purchase at

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Hurricane Odile was bad. The aftermath was even worse.

Amid the devastation and destruction, one bright spot was the response from Alaska Airlines employees who lent a hand when it was needed most.

In the week since the storm slammed into Los Cabos, people who were evacuated on Alaska’s humanitarian relief flights have started to share stories of gratitude for employees – on the ground and in the air – who went above and beyond.

“You have no idea what we went through – it was simply terrifying,” one traveler wrote in a post-flight survey. “Your staff was amazing – hugging us, comforting us, humoring us, and delighting us with supreme service. It wasn’t just one person, it was the entire staff.”

Through their heroic actions, employees showed the world what it means to say, “I am Alaska.”

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Annette Dixon never sets foot on an aircraft without her good luck charms — an alabaster elephant known to symbolize good luck and strength, an uplifting card with personal meaning, and earrings that symbolize 30 years of friendship.

A year ago the Seattle resident wasn’t even sure she’d ever get on a plane again. She had a trip to Africa planned and tickets purchased but she wasn’t sure she should go through with it. Although Dixon was no stranger to airline travel – she had travelled to Europe, Africa, and South America in the past – a flight with severe turbulence and a separate incident involving a bird caught in the engine of a plane made her wary of flying.

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Alaska Airlines has donated $20,000 to the Mexican Red Cross to support relief efforts in Los Cabos, which was devastated last week by Hurricane Odile.

“Alaska is proud to support the humanitarian efforts in Los Cabos with a donation to the Mexican Red Cross,” said Shaunta Hyde, Alaska Airlines’ managing director of community relations. “We have an opportunity to help a community that has experienced something truly devastating, rebuild itself.”

Last week, Alaska Airlines donated $30,000 to Alaska’s Employee Assistance Fund (EAF) to help the airline’s 45 employees who live and work in Los Cabos. The EAF set up a “Los Cabos Relief Fund” to assist Alaska employees and matched the airline’s contribution dollar-for-dollar bringing the total amount of funds to $60,000 for Los Cabos employees.

Los Cabos International Airport remains closed for the time being after sustaining severe damage from the hurricane.

Alaska Airlines is offering customers who purchased tickets or out of Los Cabos before Sept. 14 for travel Sept. 14-Nov. 20 a flexible travel policy. Visit for more information.

How you can help

Donate to Charity Miles: To donate your Mileage Plan™ Miles to Hurricane Odile/Los Cabos disaster relief efforts, please select the Alaska Airlines Charity Miles Pool for your donation. Contributions will be used to support charities involved with Hurricane Odile relief efforts and for transportation of medical staff and volunteers. Learn more.

Alaska Airlines scaled back humanitarian relief operations out of Mexico on Friday, with one relief flight out of Los Cabos and one relief flight from Loreto.

Alaska employees on the ground in Los Cabos reported Friday that all customers have been evacuated from the area that was severely damaged by Hurricane Odile on Sunday.

On Friday afternoon, Mexico’s Directorate General of Civil Aeronautics – similar to the FAA – closed Los Cabos International Airport to any additional relief flights or commercial operations following the evacuation of all foreign tourists. The DGAC and local governments will focus their efforts on repairing the airport.

Flights in and out of Los Cabos are not expected to resume until the airport reopens for commercial air service.

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How do I get on an Alaska Airlines flight out of Los Cabos? Do I need to be an Alaska customer? Are these flights free?

Los Cabos International Airport remains closed to commercial air service, but has opened a runway for outbound humanitarian flights. Because the Alaska Airlines flights are operating under special conditions, local authorities on the ground in Los Cabos are determining who gets on these flights, regardless of reservation status. Authorities are boarding people onto planes on a first-come, first-served basis. We are accepting customers from Alaska Airlines and other airlines. Our humanitarian mission is to help people get out of Los Cabos.

The Department of State said U.S. citizens affected by Hurricane Odile should proceed to the Los Cabos airport as soon as possible, if able to do so. Travel during daylight hours is recommended.

U.S. State Department statement: Emergency Message: Hurricane Odile

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UPDATE Thursday, Sept. 18, 4 p.m.

Alaska plans to operate five humanitarian relief flights out of Los Cabos on Friday, Sept. 18.

For Friday, Sept. 19:

All flights passenger flights to Los Cabos have been canceled.

The following flights are planned for Friday:

Flight 201: Los Cabos to San Jose
Flight 233: Los Cabos to San Diego
Flight 235: Los Cabos to San Francisco
Flight 251: Los Cabos to Los Angeles
Flight 279: Los Cabos to Los Angeles

These flights are trackable on


UPDATE Wednesday, Sept. 17, 7:45 p.m.

The first two domestic flights out of Los Cabos arrived safely in Los Angeles and San Diego this evening. A third, flight 279, is expected to arrive at about 9:20 p.m.

The airport remains closed to commercial  air service, but local authorities have authorized outgoing humanitarian relief flights. Customers waiting at the airport are being boarded on those flights on a first come, first serve basis.

For Thursday, Sept. 18:

All flights to Los Cabos have been canceled.

Alaska will operate six humanitarian relief flights out of Los Cabos International Airport. The six flights to Los Cabos will be loaded with water, food and supplies.

The following flights are planned for Thursday:

Flight 201: Los Cabos to San Jose
Flight 233: Los Cabos to San Diego
Flight 235: Los Cabos to San Francisco
Flight 239: Los Cabos to San Diego – CANCELED
Flight 251: Los Cabos to Los Angeles
Flight 279: Los Cabos to Los Angeles

These flights are trackable on

For media: these photos may be distributed courtesy of Alaska Airlines

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UPDATE 6:21 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26:

Alaska Airlines to resume Los Cabos flying Oct. 8


UPDATE 9:35 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 25:

Alaska Airlines employees emerge as heroes after the hurricane in Los Cabos

UPDATE 1:15 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 23:

Alaska Airlines supports Los Cabos relief efforts with Red Cross donation.

UPDATE 4:20 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19:

Alaska scales back after Los Cabos airport closes to relief flights, commercial operations.

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