Rai Adair’s mom knew her daughter would be a force of nature. On Rai’s third birthday, her mom signed her up for ballet classes to burn off her outrageous energy. Adair, now a Seattle-based flight attendant, danced as a toddler through her elementary years and into her teens, taking as many new classes she could get her toes in, ultimately culminating in a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Ohio State University.
Adair’s love of dance took a back seat as she transitioned to a flight attendant. She began her career with Aer Lingus, based in Ireland, then later with Horizon Air, Alaska’s regional airline, and joined Alaska Airlines in 2011. It was at Alaska where she discovered a way to combine her passion and profession—becoming a leader of Alaska’s Flight Attendant Drill Team.
Alaska’s drill team is a grassroots effort, made up of 30 flight attendants, and is maintained by employee volunteers. The team participates (pre-COVID) in company events throughout the year across our network—practicing during layovers and coming together to put on amazing performances to represent Alaska!
“Dancing releases endorphins reduces stress and puts a smile on everyone’s face—even under a mask,” Adair says. “One of the best things about leading the drill team has been the opportunity to get to know my fellow flight attendants and other Alaska employees.”
Dancing for safety
While 2020 and the pandemic meant the drill team couldn’t have its normal parades to rehearse for, Adair was able to stretch her creative muscles as a featured employee in a recent Alaska’s Safety Dance commercial.
“It was a little bit like getting the old gang back together,” Adair said. But as much fun as shooting the commercial was, Adair takes safety very seriously. Her focus each flight is enforcing our mask policy. “I want everyone on my flights to leave feeling safe,” she said.
Studies have shown the risk of air travel is low with the combination of mask wearing, diligent cleaning protocols and advanced filtration systems used on Alaska’s aircraft.
Books are a window to travel.
Adair enjoys sharing travel tips, often telling guests what they should see and do in different cities, and how a good book can help.
“My mother was a librarian, so I’ve loved books my whole life,” Adair says. She eschews travel guides and dives into fictional novels set in unique destinations. “Fiction can give you a taste of the spirit of the place that makes it even more fun to explore when you get there.”
Adair highly recommends getting lost—on purpose. She says the pandemic has made it harder to do that, but not impossible. It just takes a bit more planning, she says, like always having a blanket in her suitcase to set up an impromptu socially distanced picnic in a park.
“On layovers, I take the whole day to get lost and really explore and find my way around–eating local food and finding cool shops and experiences along the way,” Adair says.
Sharing the love.
Adair’s own backyard provides inspiration for her wanderlust. Adair lives in Capitol Hill in Seattle. When unrest broke out in the city last June, and news reports filled her phone, she set out on foot, visiting Cal Anderson Park. She documented her outing on social media. There was a group giving out free food and water with a sign that said, “Kindness is our currency.” There was a community clinic in a truck. There were artists painting. There was a homeless man walking around talking to himself, and someone gave him a sandwich. And there was a selfie of Adair with an ice cream cone. Unlike what many headlines showed, there were plenty of moments of goodness too.
“I found a lot of like-minded people who wanted to find community-based solutions to the problems that our city is facing. I posted on Facebook and Instagram in the hopes that, in some small way, my own ground view of the situation would lead my friends and family to know the truth,” Adair says.
She says she is continually inspired by her fellow employees.
“Everywhere you look, you can find Alaska employees sharing their knowledge, creating community gathering spaces, and donating their time, energy, and money to causes all over the U.S. and the world. I love how awesome my coworkers are,” said Adair.
If you’ve seen Adair in Alaska’s latest commercial, she has a dance tutorial for you to learn Alaska’s Safety Dance. See Adair’s dance lesson here.