Alaska pilots are inspiring young women to pursue careers in the skies

Kim, also a 2022 Customer Service Legend, one of our company’s highest honors.

San Francisco Base Chief Pilot Kim was a young girl when she learned about flying.

“I was surrounded by neighbors and family friends, all of whom were pilots; I used to think how lucky those guys were to get to fly for a living,” Kim recently told a crowd attending the Silicon Valley Business Journal Women of Influencer Awards. “I was fascinated with anything having to do with flying and airplanes.”

But it wasn’t until years later, when she met a woman who was a commercial airline pilot, that she realized becoming a captain was actually in her reach.

“It was my ‘ah-ha’ moment that changed the trajectory of my life and ultimately brought me to Alaska Airlines,” she said.

Kim not only became a pilot – she’s made sure to teach young girls that the sky is the limit for them in the aviation industry.

“When I see a young child, I recognize the importance of stopping and taking the time and putting forth the effort to answer their questions and talk to them,” she says. “I feel like you never know when their ‘aha moment’ will happen like mine did.”

For the last 30 years, Kim has flown the Boeing 727, 737 and Airbus 320. Before her recent promotion to Base Chief Pilot, Kim was a captain and check pilot. She trained new pilots and helped with captain upgrades and proficiency checks for existing captains.

Kim makes Alaska proud as a skilled pilot but also because of her commitment to giving back.

She volunteers for the non-profit organization Pilots for Kids in San Francisco, which aims to bring a smile to young cancer patients at John Muir Medical Center by simulating “first flight” experiences.

From the comfort of their beds, the patients pretend they’re pilots taking off and landing their first flight as Kim and her colleagues act as the first officer and air traffic controller.

“I remember a young boy who was having a very difficult time, and you could hear him going, ‘Mom, this is the best hospital ever,’” Kim said. “You’re wiping the tears off your eyes because it’s pretty profound.”

Kim was among a group of volunteers who also painted a smiling airplane over a plain, white wall in the room where children receive chemotherapy at John Muir Health.

It may be no surprise to many that Kim was recently named a recipient of Alaska Airlines’ Legends Award, one of the company’s highest honors, for her accomplishments in the sky and on the ground.

It feels profoundly humbling to be in the company of people I admire and respect,” Kim said. “I feel like it’s a recognition of what all of us try to do every day in taking care of each other and our guests. It’s pretty special.”

From the classroom to the big stage: Alaska surprises HBCU students with trip to legacy Monterey Jazz Festival

When Texas Southern University Student Braylon Walker is performing his bass instrument on stage, his eyes are locked on the audience—making sure they’re connecting with his music and that it’s bringing them joy.

“I’ve wanted to be not just a musician but an entertainer,” said Braylon. “I love getting up there, letting people have a good time and understand the story I’m trying to tell.”

This weekend, Braylon will tell a story through his music at the Monterey Jazz Festival, the longest-running jazz festival in the world.

Braylon, a Texas Southern University (TSU) jazz performance major, is not going alone. Alaska surprised Braylon and about 40 HBCU choir and jazz students from TSU and Morgan State University with an all-expenses paid trip to the festival where they’ve been invited to perform.

For a lot of us, this is the first time going to a big jazz festival,” Braylon said. “Some people have never been on a plane or could never have afforded it. I’m one of those people. I’m super grateful.”

During their flight from Washington D.C. to San Francisco, Alaska Customer Service Agent and recording artist Lauren “Ruby Woo” Brown suddenly broke out in song mid-flight. Moments later, the MSU choir and jazz ensemble students joined Lauren and serenaded guests with the song “I Know I’ve Been Changed.” [Download video]

When we learned how much it would cost to fly students to the Monterey Jazz Festival, there was no doubt in our minds that we wanted to ensure there were no barriers to attending one of the best music festivals on the West Coast,” said David Tucker, Managing Director of Public Affairs in California. “We want this experience to be the beginning of many firsts, with stories that will be shared for years to come.”

Customer Service Agent Lauren singing onboard with Morgan State University’s choir & jazz ensemble students.

And, look out ’cause here’s Texas Southern:

Meanwhile, guests boarding their flight from Houston to Monterey also enjoyed an unexpected live performance by TSU students. [Download video]

Texas Southern University students singing at Alaska Gate C16E in Houston on their way to The Monterey Jazz Festival.

We had one more surprise for the students. The musically gifted group learned they would fly on the specially designed Our Commitment plane from Washington D.C. to Monterey. In 2021, the livery was created with UNCF to show Alaska Airlines’ joint commitment to education and advancing racial equity.

I’m excited that we can use the gift of flight to bring students to Monterey for this legendary event,” said Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci, who also serves on the UNCF Board of Directors. “Our ongoing support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities is one of the ways that we are living our commitment to advancing education and inclusion. We want our airline to be a place where everyone belongs, and we know we’re stronger when everyone has equal opportunity and a seat at the table.”

Q&A WITH TSU STUDENT BRAYLON WALKER 

BRAYLON WALKER
Texas Southern University
Senior,  Jazz Ensemble Major, Bass player

What does it mean to you and your classmates to go to a festival like this? Not just to attend, but to perform? It’s super meaningful. It means a lot to see what we can become by looking at the people who’ve gone before us and for them to talk to us and reassure us that it can (sic) happen. It makes me feel like the path I’m choosing, the path I’ve spent seven years of my life trying to do, is coming to fruition. It’s happening.

How do you feel about the fact that we are supporting not just students, this next generation, but HBCUs? We’re more than thankful and feel very blessed to have that kind of relationship with many people who want to help us out or open the door to go to these types of venues. I’m blessed you guys are allowing it to happen to us.

What’s the sentiment with the rest of the choir and jazz ensemble students? The art form we want to be in can’t be done to heart inside a classroom. You have to live in the music to be able to make the music. You’ve got to feel it, you’ve got to live inside it, you got to know where this stuff is coming from, and there’s no better way to do it than going to where it’s at – living in the streets of it and hearing it every day when you wake up. 

What are you hoping to get out of the festival? First and foremost, I want to put on a good show. I want to show people that we got the stuff for it. And, my favorite singer Kurt Elling is there, and I want to give him a high five.

After this, what are you hoping for in your musical career? I finally got this urge, maybe a year ago, to dedicate myself to music, so I want to do that. I want to start going to the studio, to create, to collaborate with people. I want to do a podcast. I want all of it. I’m finally reassured that this is something I want to live in. 

Alaska Mileage Plan Members can give miles to support great causes

Recently our team had a ball at Alaska’s hangar—cheering, dodging, ducking, dipping and diving—for the annual OnBlast Dodgeball Tournament benefiting childhood cancer research at Seattle Children’s Hospital.  

Seattle Children’s is one of Alaska’s Care Miles partners and uses the donated miles to fly in young patients and their families for much needed treatments.  

Children handmade thank you notes for Alaska’s Maintenance team at the hangar.

Our CARE Miles program (formerly known as LIFT Miles) offers Mileage Plan™ members a unique and meaningful way to support important causes. Miles donated to this program support charities with business travel, accommodation of special organization requests and achievement of the organization’s mission. 

Throughout the year, our Care Miles program helps us give back to the places we fly, make wishes come true for children, to honor our nation’s heroes with travel to see the war memorials in Washington D.C., and to make all feel welcome flying with us—and much more.  

Mileage Plan members with at least a 1,000 miles credit in their account can donate Care Miles at alaskaair.com/donatemiles. Bonus: Donating will help keep your account active if you haven’t been flying or redeeming as frequently. 

Last year, more than 93,700,000 miles were donated by Alaska Mileage Plan members, valued at around $2.6 million to support the following organizations:  

Alaska CARE Miles support charities with business travel, accommodation of special organization requests and achievement of the organization’s mission.

Learn more about donating Care Miles

10 travel tips to soak up the last of summer

Summer may be quickly turning into fall, but that doesn’t mean traveling is over. Whether you’re looking for one last summer trip or an early fall getaway, here are 10 travel tips to make your experience care-free as possible:

1. Download Alaska’s mobile app.

Our app is the perfect travel companion from the day you start shopping for flights, all the way through to the moment you arrive at your destination. You can use it to plan your trip, skip the lines and get your digital boarding pass right at your finger tips.

Download the Alaska Airlines app for iPhone or Android before your next flight (you’ll be glad you did!). ✈️

2. Check in and pre-order your favorite meal.

Check in for your flight online or with the Alaska Airlines app to save time waiting in ticket counter lines. You can also pre-order your favorite snacks to freshly prepared meals ahead your flight. Meal orders are open 14 days before departure.

Pro tip: Mileage Plan members can store a method of payment in their Mileage Plan account for touch-free inflight purchases, including food and beverages. Join/Sign in Mileage Plan

3. Give yourself time.

Get to the airport at least two hours before your domestic flight departs, and three hours before your international flight. This should give you plenty of time to park, see one of our agents, check your bags and make your way through security.

Visit our airport guides before your trip for recommended arrival times, ticket counter hours, airport services and more. Remember: We begin boarding flights 30 minutes before takeoff. 

4. Enroll in a Trusted Traveler program.

Save time through security with SEA Spot Saver, a reservation program to get you through the security process quicker in Seattle. Similar spot saver programs are also at CHS, EWR, MCO, PHX, YYC.

You can also enroll in a trusted traveler program like TSA Pre✓®, Global Entry, Nexus, or SENTRI. Membership in these programs gives you access to dedicated TSA Pre✓® lanes at more than 200 airports nationwide.

5. Save time by checking your bags

You’ll likely make it through the security line quicker by checking your bags. You can pay for your bags in the mobile app, and print bag tags by simply scanning your boarding pass at an airport kiosk—if you’re flying out of San Jose, look for our tablets in the lobby.

Before you go, brush up on our checked baggage policy to save time at the airport. To make your vacation even more fun, you can bring most sports equipment for the cost of a checked bag. (Be sure to check the approved list of equipment.)

As a reminder, Alaska has a 20-minute baggage claim guarantee.

6. Follow the carry-on guidelines.

To ensure your carry-on bag will be accepted aboard all flights on your journey, we’ve changed our carry-on size limit to 22″ x 14″ x 9”. When measuring your bag, be sure to include the wheels, handle and expandable pockets in the total measurement.

You are allowed one carry-on bag, plus one smaller personal item. TSA allows you to carry on one quart-sized bag of liquids – aerosols, gels, creams and pastes that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. Keep the liquids bag easily accessible, so that it’s simple for you to drop it into the security bin without digging through your carry-on bag at the checkpoint.

More questions? Read our guidelines for carry-on baggage. Also, don’t pack your carry-on bag too full, as densely packed, cluttered bags take longer to scan and screen at the security checkpoint.

7. Simplify going through security.

To breeze through the security line try this:

  • Have your boarding pass and ID ready to hand to screening agents.
  • Remove any outerwear, belts with metal buckles, larger metal jewelry and accessories, and the contents of your pockets. Secure these items in your carry-on bag before putting them through the X-ray tunnel or find a small bin to place them into.
  • In general screening lanes, remove electronic devices larger than a cell phone—including laptops, tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles—and place in a bin for screening. Cell phones can stay secured in your carry-on bag.
  • In general screening lanes, place the one quart-sized bag of liquids, gels and aerosols in a bin by itself for x-ray screening. Doing this will allow the TSA officer to get a clear view of the items to ensure they don’t pose a security risk.
  • Wear shoes that are easily removable or untie/loosen shoelaces if you can.
  • Once your bags and bin have gone through the X-ray, be sure to retrieve all of your personal property. Take your items to a nearby bench or chair. You’ll have more time to gather/repack your items, while allowing those behind you to do the same.

8. Know what to leave behind.

As you pack, reference the prohibited and restricted items checklist, and make sure you know what’s in your suitcase. You can also use the “Can I bring?” feature on TSA’s app, MyTSA, to learn whether an item is allowed in carry-on baggage, checked luggage or if it should be left at home.

If you’re heading on an outdoor adventure, certain items are prohibited from checked and carry-on bags because they are considered dangerous goods. Don’t pack camping stoves with the residue of flammable liquid, bear repellant, fuel (white gas, propane, sterno, etc.), lighters, matches or wet ice.

Be especially aware of restrictions regarding lithium ion batteries, and devices that use them, including phones, cameras, e-cigarettes, drones, hoverboards and smart luggage/e-bags. If you plan to check a smart bag, the lithium battery must be removed and carried on the plane.

9. Kiddos can travel solo.

If you have kids who will be flying by themselves, visit our site to learn about how to book their flights, download the required forms, and discover the different types of care we offer kids of all ages.

To expedite the process, fill out the Guardian Contact Form before arriving at the airport. This will ensure the safety of your child.

Be sure to allow extra time for check-in and plan on staying in the boarding area until the flight departs.

10. Plan ahead for pet travel.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with our pet travel policies well before you fly. An important note: pets cannot travel in the baggage compartment or in the First Class cabin on Airbus aircraft, which are flight numbers 1000-1999.

Feeling the summer heat? For the welfare of your pet, we may have to deny transportation of any animal when extreme temperatures are evident on the day of departure. To be safe, choose flights that depart and arrive during cooler hours of the day, avoiding midday flights if possible.

If you’re traveling with a service animal, be aware that only service animal permitted on Alaska Airlines is a service dog. Read through our updated policy on support animals for all the documents and timelines you’ll need.

Now, time to relax.

You just fought traffic all the way to the airport, parked like a pro and got through security with all your belongings. Reward yourself with a drink, snack and comfortable spot in airports with Alaska Lounges.

Trailblazing trans pilot Jessica helps ensure transgender pilots soar 

Not many pilots can say they’ve worked to pave the way for an entire generation of trans pilots, but Alaska First Officer Jessica can, and she continues to pave the way for trans aviators to soar.   

Jessica transitioned to presenting as a female in 2012, three years after obtaining her airline pilot certification. For Jessica, the decision was about honesty and truth—to herself and others. Complying with additional and lengthy Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical and psychological clearances was another barrier she was ready to break down for herself and other trans pilots. In some cases, the extensive clearances resulted in trans pilots being grounded for up to two years to review their cases. 

“When I transitioned from male to female in 2014, the FAA saw this [being trans] as a disorder. For many transgender humans, we know this not to be a life-limiting diagnosis, but rather a side effect or gender flaw at birth,” she says. “So, I gathered a team of congressional support and went to work to create meaningful change.” 

Jessica and other advocates worked with the FAA to create more inclusive guidelines for trans pilots. She volunteered to serve as a case study to change the term “gender identity disorder” to “gender dysphoria” in the Aviation Medical Examiners guide to match the terminology in the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH).  

“Together, we re-wrote the guidelines of transition so transgender and non-binary pilots did not have to be grounded for up to two years. Since then, I have been involved in helping the FAA maintain those guidelines and help pilots transition, as well as working with companies to improve lives for all transgender humans,” she said. 

Like many trailblazers, Jessica’s activism is nonstop. She’s proud to bring her advocacy work into the aviation industry to increase the representation of transgender pilots and has made an incredible impact on the industry, including Alaska. 

When Jessica joined our team in November 2021, Jessica says she knew she needed to be a part of the flag wavers and help carry the torch forward in building an inclusive culture. So, it was a no-brainer to join Pride Crew, Alaska’s LGBTQ+ employee business resource group. 

It has always been my dream to work for an airline (and more specifically Alaska) with an inspiring diversity, equity, and inclusion program that helps build up marginalized communities,” says Jessica. “When I joined the company, I was so happy to see the incredible culture of diversity and how employees reflect the guests and communities we serve.”  

Pride at Alaska 

Caption: Alaska Pride Crew leaders pose in front of the Pride Plane. From L to R: Alice, Kevin, Jeremy and Chad.

While Pride Month is in the rearview, our Pride Crew celebrates and honors the LGBTQ+ community all year long. And the celebrations aren’t over yet—you can still join two of our 8 sponsored Pride Parade events in Honolulu, and Palm Springs.

The mission of Alaska’s Pride Crew is to provide employees and the company a resource for cultural awareness within the LGBTQ+ community. They also encourage personal growth and professional development by fostering an inclusive atmosphere and provide outreach for LGBTQ+ employees and their allies.  

Alaska’s Pride Crew strives to offer events throughout the year that celebrate its diversity and educate allies. The busiest time is June during Pride Month, but they celebrate pride throughout the year and in different cities. Pride Crew also partners with our marketing, community relations and DEI team on various events and educational opportunities. 

Related:

New route alert! Alaska Airlines adds nonstop flight between Everett and Anchorage

Daily, year-round service will link families, friends, businesses and industry in two key regions.

We’re connecting the newest commercial airport in the Seattle area with another one of our main hubs: New daily, nonstop service between Everett, Wash. and Anchorage begins Nov. 30, 2022. Tickets for flights between Paine Field-Snohomish County Airport and the state of Alaska’s largest city are available for purchase now on alaskaair.com.

We listened to our guests who live and work from north of Seattle to the Canadian border. They told us one of their top requests is a nonstop flight between Everett and Anchorage,” said Brett Catlin, vice president of network and alliances for Alaska Airlines. “There’s a significant need and demand to connect workers and businesses in the two regions —from the fishing industry to aviation—in addition to the desire for leisure travel. We’re ready to welcome our guests on this new route this fall.”

Our guests flying to and from Everett—about 20 miles north of Seattle and 70 miles south of Bellingham—have enjoyed a convenient, stress-free, upscale alternative airport experience with a lounge atmosphere.

Since our regularly scheduled service launched there in March 2019, we’ve flown roughly 1.3 million guests to and from Paine Field-Snohomish County Airport. 

Flight schedule:

Start dateCitiesDepartsArrivesFrequencyAircraft
Nov. 30PAE-ANC11:05 a.m.2:05 p.m.DailyE175
Nov. 30ANC-PAE1:40 p.m.6:10 p.m.DailyE175
All times Pacific Standard Time and all flights are year-round.

With the new nonstop from Everett, operated by our sister airline Horizon Air, Anchorage becomes the farthest destination and longest flight we’ll serve from that airport, and it’s also our first route to fly north from it.

On the operations side, Horizon began operating a new 74,000 square foot hangar and maintenance facility on the Paine Field property this year that can accommodate up to four E175 aircraft at a time.

9 destinations from Paine Field in Everett

From Everett this fall and winter, we’ll fly to nine destinations: Anchorage, Boise, Las Vegas, Orange County, Palm Springs, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco and Spokane. For the latest flight schedules and to purchase tickets, visit alaskaair.com.

Our sister carrier Horizon Air provides most of our service at Paine Field with the Embraer 175 jet. The E175 features First Class and Premium Class, and only window and aisle seating – there are no middle seats. Guests can enjoy hundreds of free movies and TV shows available for viewing on personal devices, free texting on most flights and Wi-Fi connectivity for purchase.

For Economic Alliance Snohomish County, the City of Everett and Paine Field, we are thankful for the rich history of business and community engagement provided by Alaska Airlines. This announcement is another example of Alaska Airlines’ willingness to be forward thinking, valuing its customers to create desired opportunities for travel and connection. This is extra sweet due to Alaska Airlines’ history: Anchorage served as the first flight location for Alaska Airlines and its founder Linious McGee back in 1932. Snohomish County is grateful for Alaska and its continued efforts at Paine Field.”

— Garry Clark, president and CEO at Economic Alliance Snohomish County.

Travel like a pro: 5 tips to tame your carry-on bag

Packing for that next trip? Streamline your day of travel with these five tips for wrangling your carry-on.

1. Would it be easier to check the bag? What if it was free?

Before purging every 4-ounce tube from your bag, ask yourself this: “Do I really need a carry on, can I check it?” There are three strong reasons why checking your bag might make more sense when you fly Alaska Airlines.

  • Your first checked bag is always free with your Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® card, for you and up to six other people in the same reservation.
  • Alaska pioneered the 20-minute baggage service guarantee way back in 2010. That means we guarantee we’ll have your luggage back in your hands within 20 minutes of your flight’s arrival at the gate – or we’ll pay up, to the tune of 2,500 Mileage Plan miles or a voucher for $25 off a future flight. (You can also streamline your airport arrival by printing your own luggage tags.)
  • Lighten your load and relax! When you check a bag, you don’t have to lug it through the airport or worry about whether there will be space in the overhead bin by the time you board.
2. Make sure your bag meets carry-on size limits.

Make sure you’re familiar with our carry-on size limits—what you’re able to fit through a security checkpoint is not necessarily what you’ll be able to fit into an overhead bin.

In June 2018, Alaska’s maximum allowed carry-on dimensions will be slightly smaller to better align with our codeshare partners and other major U.S. carriers, so you can more easily transfer among airlines without running into a snag with your bag.

Be wary of expandable pockets on the front of your suitcase, which can increase the dimensions of your carry-on to the point that it no longer fits into an overhead bin. Minimize use of expandable pockets, and when in doubt, test your bag in the sizer device at the ticket counter or gate before you board.

Before you buy a bag, measure it yourself—include the handle and wheels. Consumer Reports says not all bags are as small as manufacturers claim.

3. Wheels down and facing out – unless it’s a Space Bin.

Most overhead bins will have a sticker with instructions telling you “wheels out.” That’s the easiest, most-efficient way to load your bag in most bins, preventing wheels from getting stuck on the lip of the bin. If you find yourself on a flight with Alaska’s roomier “Boeing Space Bins” you’ll be instructed to do just the opposite. (Don’t worry – our flight attendants will let you know if you’re on a Space Bins flight, and show you how to position your luggage!) In this case, point the wheels toward the back of the bin and then flip your bag up on its side. You’ll want the heaviest part of the bag to be farthest from the aisle, and belongings tend to settle downward as luggage is wheeled through the airport.

4. Are you sure you can lift that? If not, check it.

Minimalist packing can be a challenge for even the savviest of fliers, and even a carry-on-sized suitcase can quickly become too heavy. For safety reasons, flight attendants are not allowed to assist customers in lifting bags, so make sure you’re not packing a suitcase that is heavier than you can safely lift.

Consider lowering your carbon footprint by leaving behind a pair of shoes or bulkier items. If each guest just packed 5 lbs lighter, it would decrease our CO2 emissions by 11,800 metric tons each year. That’s the equivalent of taking 2,543 cars off the road for one year.

5. If you’re buying a battery-powered “smart bag,” know the limits.

While rich with features like GPS tracking, electronic locks and the ability to charge other electronic devices, Alaska Airlines only allows “smart bags” with batteries/power banks that can be removed without the use of a tool (e.g. push button, connected to the bag via USB or similar connection, or removed with a “key”).

Any luggage with charging devices or use a lithium battery powered electric motor must meet these requirements:

  • Carry-on: The battery/power bank may remain attached to the bag.
  • Checked/gate-checked bag: The battery/power bank must be removed prior to acceptance. Once removed, the lithium battery/power bank needs to be protected from short circuit (such as placing in a plastic bag to prevent contact with anything metal).
  • Bags with non-removable lithium batteries, power banks, or batteries that require a tool to be removed (e.g. screwdriver) will not be accepted as checked or carry-on baggage.

While these restrictions may pose a challenge to some of our guests, there have been no incidents to date with smart bags on airplanes and we want to keep it that way.

And don’t forget – your first checked bag is always free with your Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® card.

Sip sip hooray! Alaska Airlines will fly your case of wine for free

We’re giving guests something to wine about 🍷

Alaska Airlines offers the most nonstop flights to the West Coast, making it easier to plan a trip to your favorite wine locale. Alaska Mileage Plan members aged 21 and over can also bring home a case of wine—12 bottles—with no baggage fee, thanks to our *Wine Flies Free offer. Not a Mileage Plan member? Join for free.

Here’s how it works:

1. Book a trip to wine country

Browse flights & raise a glass from our 30+ airports in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California. 

2. Sip and shop at your favorite winery destinations.

Taste your way around a wine region in California, Washington, Oregon or Idaho until you’ve found your wine (or several) you enjoy enough to take home.  Pro tip: Many wineries in Washington, Oregon and Idaho offer free tastings when you show a recent boarding pass.

3. Pack correctly – don’t seal the box yet.

Let the winery know you’ll be checking your wine at the airport, and they’ll help you pack it safely for travel. This might include a foam-lined box, molded cardboard trays, or other protective packaging. Make sure the box is left unsealed for inspection. 

Carrying a case of wine through the airport can be daunting, so we’ve partnered with The Wine Check to offer a lightweight, safe, and convenient method to take your wine investment from vineyard to cellar.  Save 20% off Wine Flies Free branded totes by using promo code ALASKAWFF at checkout. 

4. Make sure your MP number is in your flight reservation.

Make sure your Alaska Mileage Plan number is in your flight reservation before you head to the airport. You can check using the Alaska Airlines app, or by visiting alaskaair.com and selecting “Manage trip.”

5. Drop your wine with a remarkable agent.

Check your properly packed case of wine with an Alaska Airlines customer service agent at our ticketing counter. They will inspect the case, seal it and ensure that it is labeled with FRAGILE stickers.

6. Fly easy.

Pat yourself on the back – celebrate on board by treating yourself to a full-pour glass of Broken Earth’s El Paso Red Blend or a chardonnay from Canoe Ridge Vineyards. Pro tip: Pair it with our Mediterranean Tapas Picnic Pack.

Or if you’re flying First Class, sip a sauvignon blanc or cabernet sauvignon from Intrinsic from Columbia Valley, Washington.

7. Pick up your case, then enjoy!

When you land, pick up your case and you’re on your way. Don’t see your wine with the rest of the bags? Check the oversize baggage area, as many airports don’t send fragile items to the conveyer belt.

Time to book your next wine-venture! Visit alaskaair.com.

*The Wine Flies Free program applies to U.S. flights only, operated by Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, and SkyWest departing from WA, OR, CA, or ID. Mileage Plan member must be age 21 or older to transport wine. Mileage Plan number must be in the reservation at the time of booking. Wine must include professional packaging including shipper box and insert. Items packaged in a cardboard box are covered in case of loss, but are checked at your own risk for damage. Wine Check purchase not required for participation in the Wine Flies Free program. Guests are responsible for compliance with all governmental regulations and restrictions when traveling with alcohol.

Airline employees quickly organize a ‘welcome home’ celebration for a hero missing for 78 years—with 24-hour notice

More than seven decades ago, a young military pilot left his hometown of Spokane, Washington for the battlefront in Europe. Last month, his remains arrived home to his final resting place, thanks to Alaska and Horizon Air employees, who made it happen in less than 24 hours. 

Eugene Shauvin, a U.S. Army Air Corps 2nd Lieutenant, was piloting a transport aircraft over the Netherlands during World War II when his plane was shot down. Seven decades went by with no news of his whereabouts until spring of last year, when his remains were found and recovered. Shauvin’s daughter, who had been searching for him for years, rejoiced and a plan was put in place to ship her father’s remains back to Spokane. But then came a hitch—the airline that was contracted by the military to fly the remains, was unable to get all the way to Spokane.

Eugene Shauvin. Photo from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA)

Shortly after that, the phone rang at Kate’s desk, our government affairs director in Washington, D.C. On the line was staff from the office of Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state. Their ask—did Alaska Airlines have any ideas on how to help a fallen soldier get all the way home to Spokane? 

Kate reached out to Alaska’s managing director of cargo, Adam, who quickly jumped to action and had his cargo team work directly with the military contracting team.  

Lawrence, Horizon Air’s manager of Spokane station operations, gathered employees and worked with our Fallen Soldier team to arrange a proper arrival in Spokane, coordinating with Spokane International Airport and local military contacts. And, through some amazing scrambling by our operations team, the Honoring Those Who Serve aircraft was lined up to fly Shauvin home. 

Spokane employees providing support for the arrival of the soldier’s remains.

Alaska flew the Lieutenant’s remains from Omaha to Seattle and onto Spokane.  Upon arrival, Horizon employees joined planeside in a somber ceremony. 

It was an amazing feat of caring and coordination that was accomplished in less than 24 hours by teams of employees at Alaska and Horizon Air, our regional airline, who never shy away from a challenge, especially when it comes to honoring our military and veterans.  

A graveside ceremony took place in Spokane on July 23, where an honor guard performed Taps and a 21-gun salute—a hero’s welcome home, 78 years in the making.  

For this baby bear, our Alaska Air Cargo service was just right

An orphaned brown bear cub found wandering alone on a military base outside Anchorage is settling in at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo after flying to her new home in the special care of Alaska Air Cargo. 

Alaska Department of Fish and Game officials observed the cub earlier this year on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and took her to the Alaska Zoo when they determined she didn’t have a mother bear to look after her. Orphaned cubs can’t survive alone in the wild, and Woodland Park Zoo was eager to offer its Living Northwest Trail habitat to a cub in need of a permanent home.  

“It’s unfortunate when a wild cub loses its mother and becomes an orphan, especially because the cub learns so much about how to be a bear directly from its mother,” says Kevin Murphy, interim senior director of animal management at Woodland Park Zoo. “We are grateful that we are in a position to take in another brown bear at this time and have the expertise and facility to do so.” 

The 89-pound cub flew to Seattle from Anchorage in mid-July and is now busy getting to know her new digs. “She’s growing like a weed and exploring with her exquisite sense of smell,” Murphy says. The zoo’s staff is using strategies like tucking food into rotted logs to teach the cub crucial bear skills like foraging. “She’s a wild bear and we want her to be resilient and engaged with her environment on every level,” Murphy says.  

Alaska Air Cargo’s expertise in live-animal shipments 

Every year tens of thousands of live animals travel via Alaska Air Cargo’s Pet Connect service – mostly beloved dogs and cats joining their human families. But when the rare bear is booked for travel, the cargo teams and the zoos and wildlife agencies involved work together closely to choreograph the journey to ensure the cub’s safety and comfort each step of the way. 

Our team is so experienced moving animals of all kinds, and we just love it,” says Jeff Munro, cargo operations manager for Anchorage (ANC). His airport regularly shepherds wild animals bound for zoos, wildlife rehabilitation centers or back to remote areas of Alaska once they’ve been rehabilitated. “Whether it’s a bear or a moose or a seal or a puppy, we follow our Pet Connect processes and focus on really taking great care of them,” he says. 

For this cub’s journey, the cargo team coordinated a travel plan with the zoos in both Anchorage and Seattle. Before the flight, the zoos confirmed the size and weight of the cub’s crate so the cargo team could ensure the kennel would fit in the belly of the aircraft, and the Cargo Network Support team reserved space for the bear, blocking other animal bookings from the same flight. “It’s prudent to keep other animals off that flight, both for the bear and other animals like dogs who might be upset by smelling a wild bear next to them,” Munro says. 

Caring customer service 

When the cub arrived for her flight, Munro’s team made sure her crate was secluded away from the cargo station bustle as much as possible. The Cargo Network Support team monitored the timely departure and arrival of the flight, and if the flight had been delayed, they were poised to work quickly with the two zoos to coordinate a new flight plan for the cub. 

The cub received priority loading onto the aircraft in Anchorage. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Like all of our live animal travelers, the cub received the highest-priority loading – last on in Anchorage and first off in Seattle – and when she arrived, the Woodland Park Zoo team was ready and waiting to scoop up their newest resident. “She was calm when we picked her up,” says Murphy, who notes that a small crate can feel like a safe space to a young cub in transit. 

Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo ships around 250 animals each year via air freight and chooses to work with Alaska Air Cargo whenever possible because of our team’s attention to customer service and the animals’ needs. “This process was seamless, and when there are no hiccups on the human side, it reduces stress for the animals, too,” Murphy says. “Alaska Air Cargo and Alaska Airlines really show that they care about the animals.” 

The as-yet-unnamed cub still must pass her 30-day quarantine (standard procedure at Woodland Park Zoo) and learn her new environment before visitors to the zoo can meet her, but Murphy is excited to share the cub with the Seattle community. “Brown bears are an iconic species, and this new cub is a symbol of hope to restore grizzlies in the North Cascades,” Murphy says, explaining that all grizzly bears are brown bears, but not all brown bears are grizzlies. This cub is a coastal brown bear – a bit larger than a grizzly – and she will grow to around 500 pounds. “Her role is as an ambassador, and we hope that when people see her and care about her, they will also care more about bears in the wild and preserving their habitat.” 

Alaska Airlines cooks up new vegan & plant-based options for travelers seeking fresh, healthy options 

We’ve filled our flight menu with a range of fresh, bright flavors inspired by the West Coast, including new vegan, plant-based options.

This summer, Alaska Airlines guests can veg out on board with more gluten friendly, plant-based and vegan meal optionsavailable in all cabins.

We’re listening to our guests who told us that they are looking for more plant-based menu options when traveling. Our new vegan option, called the “Soy Meets World,” is a vegan salad developed in partnership with Evergreens, a West Coast-based company that makes gourmet, freshly chopped salads.

We’re thrilled to offer our guests more healthy and nutritious choices when they fly with us,” said Todd Traynor-Corey, managing director of guest products. “We built our menu thoughtfully to offer more plant-based, vegan and gluten-free options, which include a range of fresh, bright flavors inspired by the West Coast and ingredients that are authentically healthy by nature such as roasted broccoli, crisp romaine and baby lettuce greens, quinoa, fresh fruit and more.” 

Most comprehensive menu in the sky 

We’re proud to offer our guests a variety of fresh and seasonalmeal selections and thirst-quenching beverages on our flights.

Today, we have the most comprehensive domestic food and beverage program in the industry. We offer three meal options in First Class, including our Signature Fruit & Cheese on flights as short as 550 miles.

We also offer ample food options in Premium Class and Main Cabin, which include up to four fresh options on flights over 1,100 miles and up to five snack items on flights over 223 miles, such as the Mediterranean Tapas Pack (vegan and gluten-free).

Our Mediterranean Tapas Picnic Pack includes Pick Pocket Traditional Hummus, Craize Roasted Corn Crackers, Mario Snack Olives, Madi K’s almonds, That’s it Apples + Fig Fruit Bar and a TCHO Pure Notes 67% Cacao dark chocolate.

Now through October, guests can enjoy fresh summer flavors that include berries, summer squash, corn, citrus and tomatoes. To see all of our food and beverage offerings, visit alaskaair.com.

Pre-order meals before takeoff 

Alaska makes it easy to get the meal(s) you want. Enjoy fresh ingredients inspired by the West Coast, from snacks to freshly prepared meals, by pre-ordering your favorites ahead of your flight using your reservation on our app or alaskaair.com

Meal orders can be made starting 14 days before your flight, and up to 20 hours prior to departure. Snacks and Picnic packs do not require pre-order and are available on board most flights over 2 hours.

Pro tip: Mileage Plan members can store a method of payment in their Mileage Plan account for touch-free inflight purchases, including food and beverages. Join/Sign in Mileage Plan

Seeing double: Identical twin brothers fulfill pilot dreams at Alaska Airlines

Someday, on an Alaska Airlines flight, you may just find yourself doing a double take when walking by the flight deck. That’s because we just hired a new pilot who happens to be the identical twin brother of another Alaska pilot.

We believe Alex and Alan are our first set of identical twin pilots (but when you’ve been around for 90 years, you can’t be 100% certain). Alan, who just finished simulator training, will be based in San Francisco, while his brother Alex flies out of Los Angeles.

A career – years in the making

The brothers have their parents to thank for their love of aviation. Ever since they were three years old, they would go plane spotting with their dad every Sunday after church. Their mom also brought them along on every business trip where they were bored with everything except the flights. The brothers moved from Kenya to California when they were 13 and brought their love of airplanes with them.

Alan remembers their mom buying them Microsoft Flight Simulator to help support their passion. “After I started playing with the program, that was it. I knew I wanted to do that [fly] for a job,” says Alan.

The path to Alaska

The brothers sitting in a flight deck around age 13.
13-year-old brothers sit in the flight deck of a commercial aircraft.

Alaska was the first choice for Alan when he was looking to move on from the regional airlines. Working for the same company as his brother was enticing, but he was also drawn in by the people and company culture, he says.

“When I was working as a fueler, Alaska employees – whether it was pilots or people working across the operation – were always the nicest people who reached out to encourage me,” said Alan.

Alex agrees: “Alaska is like a family – you’re not a number.” He appreciates how employees like Captain Rich, Anchorage base chief pilot remembered him and encouraged him through the interview process.

Sharing the flight deck

Because of the complexity of our operation, it’s not common for pilots who are family members to be able to fly with each other, but that’s the brothers’ goal.

“We’ve never flown together professionally because we’ve always been on different aircraft,” said first officer Alex. “The goal is to have one of us upgrade to captain and be operating the same aircraft so we can fly together.”

When they’re finally able to fly together, there’s one special person who needs to be in the cabin—their mom—who was so instrumental in fostering the brothers’ love of aviation, hasn’t ever flown with one of her sons.

“We have to get her on one of our flights,” said Alex.

Alan and Alex