10 tips for safe air travel during the holidays

The holidays are here, and many people are weighing the risks of air travel vs. staying home. While the thought of being in a confined space with other people may seem daunting, recent studies have shown flying isn’t as dangerous of COVID-19 spread as once thought, and that cabin air may in fact be cleaner than most homes, hospital rooms and supermarkets.

So if you haven’t seen your loved ones for almost a year and if driving long distance just isn’t an option, Alaska Airlines is here to make your travel journey as safe and seamless as possible. Below are some tips for traveling this holiday season:

1. Know before you go.

When it comes to travel restrictions and information like testing requirements or quarantine rules, every state is different. We recommend researching and getting the lay of the land before you arrive. Check out alaskaair.com for the latest travel updates.

Does the destination you’re flying to require a COVID-19 test? We’re offering Alaska guests testing options with multiple testing providers that offer rapid and standard COVID-19 testing.

2. Pack the essentials.

Don’t forget to pack & wear a mask at any Alaska touchpoint such as in our Lounges, at the gate or onboard our aircraft. While our policy allows guests to not wear a mask while they eat or drink, research has shown mask-wearing is the most effective way to reduce the risk of getting COVID-19.

Bringing a travel sized bottle of hand sanitizer is also probably worth considering, and now TSA allows you to bring even more – one 12 oz. bottle is allowed in your carry-on until further notice. We also offer complimentary EO hand sanitizing wipes to all our guests that are 99.9% effective at killing germs.

3. Get in touch with our touch-free options.

Save time before or after you arrive at the airport with Alaska’s mobile app, which allows you to buy tickets, retrieve your boarding pass, check-in for flights and print your bag tags all without having to touch the airport kiosk. Learn more.

You can also use the app to pre-order meals on select flights and store your payment preference using your Alaska Airlines account so when it comes time to pay for your meal in the air, you can do so touch-free.

Due to COVID-19, our food & beverage service is still limited to reduce the interactions between our flight crews and guests. To see what we’re currently offering on board visit alaskaair.com. Download the Alaska app on iPhone or Android.

4. Breathe easy on our flights.

Not only are each of our aircraft cleaned after every flight but every Alaska aircraft also recirculates fresh air from outside and through hospital-grade HEPA filters every 2 to 3 minutes keeping the air you breathe germ-free. The HEPA filters remove 99.9% of airborne contaminants.

During your flight, fresh air is continuously pulled into the plane from outside, completely refreshing the air onboard every few minutes. This system was initially created back in the days when smoking on planes was common. Learn more

5. Mind your wingspan.

While experts and science affirms that flying is safe we hope to make guests feel more comfortable by blocking middle seats on mainline flights and limiting the number of guests on our flights through Jan. 6, 2021.

We’re also providing our gate agents with the ability to scan boarding passes from six feet away—if the conditions are just right. And, to better allow for personal distancing, guests board by row numbers in smaller groups from the back to the front.

At the airport, you’ll also notice plexiglass shields at multiple touchpoints, including the ticketing and customer service counters, the gate areas and our Lounges. And, you’ll likely spot “Mind Your Wingspan” floor decals and signage at check-in as a reminder to stay six feet apart.

6. Watch, chat and be merry.

To keep your travels merry and bright, bring the device you’re most comfortable using and get ready to watch your favorite festive flick. Alaska has many holiday movies, including “Elf,” “Home Alone” and Hallmark Channel original movies.

Alaska guests can also connect with friends and family from 30,000 feet in the air with our free chat feature during the flight. Just connect to our inflight Wi-Fi and select “free texting.”

7. Keep calm & carry on.

Anyone needing a little moment of zen can enjoy listening to our free inflight meditation sessions brought to you by Headspace. Just look for Headspace in our entertainment portal, breathe deeply and let the stress melt away.

Have travel anxiety or aren’t used to flying? Alaska has a free app called Fly for All. Designed for first-time flyers, guests traveling with children, unaccompanied minors and those with cognitive and developmental disabilities, including autism, the app will help ease the anxiety of air travel by walking guests through the steps they’ll follow when getting ready to fly. Download it on Apple App Store or Google Play store.

8. Buy gifts for them, earn miles for you.

Whether you’re flying or not this holiday season, consider giving your friends and family the gift of travel with Alaska miles or travel gift certificates, which can be purchased at alaskaair.com.

One fun gift for the ski and snowboarding lovers is our Fly Alaska, Ski Free program where your boarding pass serves as your free lift ticket at some of the country’s top ski resort destinations like Whitefish, Red Lodge Mountain, and Alyeska.

And, if you’re a Mileage Plan member, you can maximize your miles with Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan Shopping and earn up to 10 miles for every dollar spent at any of our 850+ retailers.

9. Land a great deal.

If you’re waiting until 2021 to go on those long-awaited adventures, or to see loved ones, we tend to have great deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Want a deal sooner? This football season, our Chief Football Officer Russell Wilson can help you save on your next trip. During home games, when Wilson scores a touchdown (passing or rushing), you get discount up to 40% off*. Learn more.

10. Minimize your impact.

Even after you land, make sure to wear your mask and follow safe health practices whenever possible – to minimize the impact on the people and places you fly to!