Cougs or Dawgs? Alaska Airlines unveils new aircraft in honor of Washington State University and the University of Washington 

This fall we’re bringing not one, but two brand new aircraft into our fleet with fresh paint highlighting our commitment to Washington state’s largest universities. Alaska also expands support of WSU, becoming the official airline partner of WSU Athletics.  

We’re taking college pride to new heights with the debut of two newly themed aircraft showcasing Washington State University (WSU) and the University of Washington (UW).  

Just in time for the fall semester with football season in full swing, our E175 “Go Cougs” aircraft will take to the skies on Saturday, Sept. 23, from Seattle (SEA) to Pullman (PUW) ahead of WSU’s matchup against the Oregon State Beavers. On Oct. 3, the “Go Dawgs” special UW-themed aircraft will be introduced to fans departing Seattle (SEA) to Portland (PDX). 

#N661QX (“Go Cougs”)

“The new Go Cougs aircraft celebrates the productive partnership between Washington State University and Alaska Airlines,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz. “We are proud to have Alaska Airlines as a continued supporter of our educational programs and research pursuits, particularly in the development and adoption of sustainable aviation fuels. Together, we will help transform the future of air travel across the state, region, and world.” 

#N662QX (“Go Dawgs”)

“Our shared values and commitment to our region are why the UW is proud to partner with Alaska Airlines, and we are thrilled to see the purple and gold on their aircraft. This is another exciting step in the UW’s continued partnership with Alaska Airlines, an innovative and deep-rooted Pacific Northwest company that adds so much to our local and state economy, as well as fostering connections across the world as a member of the oneworld Alliance,” said Ana Mari Cauce, president of the University of Washington. 

This is the third iteration of both special aircraft dedicated to the universities. The planes, tail numbers #N661QX (“Go Cougs”) and #N662QX (“Go Dawgs”), will be flown by Horizon Air, Alaska Airlines’ regional sister carrier. These college-themed aircraft (liveries) are one of many ways guests can celebrate their school spirit year-round. 

Since launching our first university-themed livery almost 20 years ago, we know that few things get local fans as excited as seeing their school’s colors on the side of the hometown airlines’ airplanes,” said Joe Sprague, Horizon Air president.  

Our commitment to education and expanding our support of WSU   

We’re proud to fly to all five cities across Washington and Oregon where WSU has campuses nearby: Pullman, Spokane, Tri-Cities, Everett and Portland (near the Vancouver, WA campus).  

We believe in strengthening and supporting the communities our employees, neighbors and guests call home, and in Eastern Washington, we’ve been honored to support those communities for more than 40 years. Caring for the communities we serve extends far beyond making air travel accessible. It’s about forging connections, fostering job opportunities, volunteering, donating miles to nonprofits and inspiring the next generation of aviation.  

As part of our new sponsorship with WSU Athletics for the 2023-2024 school year, Alaska will be the athletics department’s official airline partner. We look forward to special gameday giveaways — at basketball and football games — that include sweepstakes for a chance to win tickets and air travel to the 2023 Apple Cup on November 25th.  

“We are thrilled to sponsor WSU Athletics, ensuring that fans can continue to rally behind their beloved Cougs,” said Sprague. 

For over a decade, we’ve partnered with WSU on several initiatives to advance the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) — a key part of our goal to be carbon net zero by 2040.  

In 2015, we partnered with the WSU-led Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) to produce and use SAF from forest residuals (tree limbs and branches that remain after a forest harvest), which led to Alaska making history by becoming the first airline to fly a commercial flight powered by this type of SAF. Last year, WSU was named as the academic partner in Alaska’s innovative corporate SAF program, aimed at fostering education and raising awareness about opportunities to enhance the sustainability of business travel. 

On Oct. 3, the “Go Dawgs” special UW-themed aircraft will fly its first flight between Seattle (SEA) to Portland (PDX). 

In 2016, Alaska proudly became the official airline of the University of Washington. Since then, we’ve expanded our support across various aspects of the university, including UW Athletics, the Foster School of Business and various campus initiatives, reinforcing our commitment to advancing education within the communities we serve. 

As always, it’s an absolute thrill to witness the Huskies in action, facing off against rival teams, whether on the iconic Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium or within the electric atmosphere of the Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. 

A new era of aircraft 

While the two universities have graced the outside of Q400s operated for Alaska by its sister carrier, Horizon Air, the airline has transitioned to an all-jet fleet of modern Embraer E175 aircraft. Horizon has 41 jets and by the close of 2026 is scheduled to have 50 of them.  

The E175 jets include a range of benefits: 

  • The jet aircraft has three classes of service, just like our Boeing 737s. 
  • Our elite members can enjoy upgrades to First Class and Premium Class. 
  • All seats are window or aisle – there are no middle seats. 
  • It provides a quieter flight than the Q400 turboprop. 
  • There’s inflight entertainment and Wi-Fi connectivity on board. 
  • There are larger overhead bins for stowing carry-ons. 
  • It flies faster than the Q400. 


Looking for stills or b-roll of our “Go Cougs” aircraft inaugural flight? Look no further!

Photos of our “Go Dawgs” aircraft can be found here: