Alaska Airlines statement on strike authorization vote: our pilots are not on strike

The union representing Alaska Airlines pilots – the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) – conducted a ‘strike-authorization ballot’ this month. Today, ALPA released the result of that vote. As expected, pilots approved the measure.

Here’s what you need to know:  

Alaska Airlines pilots are not on strike.

As ALPA said this morning, a strike can only occur after a specific, multi-step process involving the federal government and National Mediation Board. 

Our guests and operation are not impacted by this vote.   

We remain committed to reaching a deal to provide an updated contract that is good for Alaska’s pilots.  

Marshalling the Pope’s plane, working with family: Alaska technicians reminisce on Aviation Maintenance Technician Day

Louie K. (far right) poses for a photo with colleagues in Fairbanks. From L to R: technician Tom C., technician Jim T., ramp service agent Keith V. and technician Larry M.. Jim and Larry were both in Louie’s A&P class!

Today is Aviation Maintenance Technician Day, a day that recognizes Charles Taylor, the Wright Brothers’ mechanic and father of aviation maintenance. It also celebrates all Aviation Maintenance Technicians and the hard work, dedication and commitment to safely keeping aircraft airworthy every day.

At Alaska, we have six technicians who’ve been here for 40 years or more! We spoke with Louie K., a Seattle-based line aircraft technician and John B., a Juneau-based line avionics technician, to reflect on their career and memorable moments.

Louie K., Seattle-based line aircraft technician — joined Alaska on June 1, 1979

Louie smiles for the camera next to an aircraft.

Louie was only 18 years old when he joined Alaska in Fairbanks. His stepfather was the head of the Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) School at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and many of the technicians in that part of Alaska went through that school, including those at Alaska Airlines. A&P licenses are the two Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certificates required to become an aviation maintenance technician.

“Several students from my class were hired at Alaska – Kim H., a Seattle line aircraft technician, went through the school a year or two after I did with my younger brother,” said Louie. “I’ve known and worked with Kim for more than four decades now!”

The first aircraft he ever worked on was a Piper Super Cub, but for Alaska, it was the Boeing 727-100. Over his four decades with Alaska, he’s worked full-time at the Seattle and Fairbanks stations, had a temporary stint in Anchorage [while based in Fairbanks] and worked vacation relief for Prudhoe Bay.

In 1984, Louie transferred to Seattle working the heavy check, then the flight line. That year was memorable for Louie – in May, he did the ground handling and marshaled in Air Force 1, Air Force 2 and Pope John Paul II’s aircraft in Fairbanks.

The Alitalia DC-10 was the Pope’s aircraft,” said Louie. “I took the pictures with just an old pocket camera, but you’d never get that close today. Of course, we were screened to be working on the airfield that day for sure!” 

Nearly 15 years later, he helped organize the drive for AMFA representation for technicians and related crafts and served in various local officer positions before being elected to the National Executive Council and climbing the ranks.

But of all the moments during his career, the biggest highlight came on June 1, 2019. Exactly 40 years to the day when Louie started at Alaska, his son Forrest K. worked his very first day as an A&P technician after getting awarded the bid a couple of days prior. “How cool is that?” said Louie. “We couldn’t have planned that if we’d tried.”

Today, Louie works in the Interior Shop in the Seattle hangar and is nearing 43 years with the company. When asked if he was aiming for the 50-year milestone pin, he smiled and said, “There are far too many adventures to be had! I’m fortunate to have started my career young and looking forward to the next adventure with my wife Debbie, who is a retired Alaska Airlines flight attendant of 34 years.”

1987: Louie, pictured with his wife Debbie, now a retired Alaska Airlines flight attendant.

John B. — Juneau Line Avionics Technician, joined Alaska in January 1982

Before John B. was hired by Alaska in January 1982 as a Line Avionics Technician on the graveyard shift in Anchorage, he had been working on avionics systems for the Air Force at Elmendorf AFB. When he was hired, he was in aircraft maintenance school to obtain his A&P license.

The first aircraft John worked on was a 727-200, and while in Anchorage, he worked on the 737-200, MD-80’s, 707’s and a Russian Aeroflot aircraft. Throughout his career, John has maintained aircraft for American Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Continental Airlines and Aeroflot Airlines.

After 13 years in Anchorage, John moved to Juneau for a change and to be closer to the wealth of outdoor activities the Southeast has to offer. In Juneau, John not only handled avionics but took on many duties alongside his team.

I like doing it all, and the technicians in Juneau are a great bunch to work with. We’re like a big family here, and I mean that in more ways than one!” said John. “In fact, my son received his A&P license and became part of the Juneau maintenance team.”

Eight years later, his family headed to sunnier skies in Phoenix but the shift in climates took John a while to get used to. “I was on graveyard shift for a few years and it was difficult to sleep during the day with so much sunlight and heat, but it was a bit more manageable when I moved to swing shift (still hot though!).”

John and his family spent 12 years in Phoenix before the pull of grandkids drew him back to Juneau. Today, he works with his son on dayshift handling avionics and general maintenance duties. He says he wouldn’t have it any other way (except he wishes Juneau had a Taco Bell).

Plan your global getaway this summer with Alaska’s 20+ international airline partners  

Discover the world with our oneworld® Alliance members and Global Partner airlines, all while earning or redeeming Alaska Mileage Plan™ miles for traveling to your favorite destinations. 

As our guests travel the world again, Alaska Mileage Plan members can earn and redeem miles with some of the world’s best airlines.  

As the newest member of the oneworldⓇ Alliance, Alaska and its Global Partners are proud to help you safely reach more than 1,000* destinations in more than 170 countries and territories, including amazing destinations like the Maldives, Helsinki, London and beyond! 

Here are a few of the possibilities of where Mileage Plan members can fly internationally: 

AER LINGUS

146 destinations
With gateways in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, New York and more, Mileage Plan members can earn miles travelling to Ireland, Rome, Amsterdam and other spectacular places throughout Europe. 

AIR TAHITI

9 countries/territories 
Who hasn’t dreamed of visiting Bora Bora? With gateways in Seattle and Los Angeles, Mileage Plan members earn miles traveling to French Polynesia, Paris and more. 

AMERICAN AIRLINES

350 destinations
50 countries/territories 
We’vWith gateways in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C., members earn Mileage Plan miles traveling to Madrid, Dublin, Prague and more. 

BRITISH AIRWAYS

200 destinations
80 countries/territories 
West Coast gateways through Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Vancouver B.C. (and soon Portland!) provide Mileage Plan members with connections throughout Europe and beyond via London.

CATHAY PACIFIC

90 destinations
35 countries/territories 
West Coast gateways in San Francisco, Vancouver and Los Angeles give Mileage Plan members connections throughout Asia via Hong Kong, with Cathay Pacific.

CONDOR AIRLINES

726 destinations
Through gateways in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Portland, Phoenix, Seattle, Las Vegas, and Vancouver, Mileage Plan members can travel to Germany and connect to over 60 destinations throughout Europe.

EL AL ISRAEL AIRLINES

With U.S. gateways such as Los Angeles, members earn Mileage Plan miles flying nonstop to Tel Aviv. 

FIJI AIRWAYS

21 destinations
13 countries/territories 
Gateways in San Francisco and Los Angeles will take you to Fiji and beyond with connections to New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific.

FINNAIR

150 destinations
45 countries/territories 
Earn and Redeem your Mileage Plan miles on Finnair including non-stop service from Los Angeles to Helsinki and beginning on June 1, 2022, Seattle to Helsinki.

HAINAN AIRLINES

51 destinations
28 countries/territories 
Plan a visit to an unrestored section of the Great Wall of China or take a short train ride to peaceful Suzhou offers a welcome respite from busy Shanghai.

IBERIA

135 destinations
47 countries/territories 
Discover an ensemble of historic capitals and exceptional beaches earning Alaska Mileage Plan miles along the way from gateways in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

ICELANDAIR

Through gateways in Portland and Seattle, Mileage Plan members can travel to Iceland and connect to over 20 destinations throughout Europe. 

JAPAN AIRLINES

80 destinations
20 countries/territories 
West Coast gateways in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego bring you to Tokyo (Haneda and Narita) as well as Los Angeles to Osaka, with connections throughout Japan and Asia. 

KOREAN AIR

Mileage Plan members can connect with Korean Air in Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

LATAM AIRLINES

LATAM Airlines serves destinations throughout South America, including Chile, Peru, Colombia and Argentina. 

MALAYSIA AIRLINES

55 destinations
17 countries/territories
Experience the rich diversity of Southern Asia and earn Alaska Mileage Plan miles along the way.

QANTAS

80 destinations
20 countries/territories 
Mileage Plan members can book Qantas flights to visit places like Australia and New Zealand from Dallas, Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco and more. 

QATAR AIRWAYS

200 destinations
100 countries/territories 
From the West Coast, fly with our partner Qatar Airways and enjoy nonstop service from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. From the East Coast, fly to Doha from Atlanta, Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington D.C., and more. 

RAVN ALASKA

12 destinations
Ravn brings you the rugged beauty of the great state of Alaska.

ROYAL AIR MORAC

105 destinations
51 countries/territories 
From New York or Washington D.C., explore the ancient beauty of Casablanca and endless souks of Marrakech while earning miles through Alaska Mileage Plan. 

ROYAL JORDANIAN

45 destinations
30 countries/territories 
Take in the marvel of Petra and other jewels of the Middle East while earning miles with Alaska Mileage Plan.

SINGAPORE AIRLINES

62 destinations
32 countries/territories 
West Coast gateways San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle give Mileage Plan members connections throughout Asia with Singapore Airlines.

SRILANKAN AIRLINES 

111 destinations
48 countries/territories 
Experience Sri Lanka through its majestic wildlife and serene tea estates while earning Alaska Mileage Plan miles.

Not a Mileage Plan member yet?

Join now and check out our elite status benefits

Guest writes, “Dear Alaska Airlines, you changed my life” 

It’s not often we get a love letter like this. We just had to share. 

For Carrie, a long-time guest, Alaska Airlines was more than just a way to work. Our airline was a means for her to continue her career, after moving to Idaho. A way to create family memories with her kids’ first flights. And a way to stay connected with her family, attending weddings, graduations and funerals.  

Creating meaningful connections and fond memories is what we strive for every day.  For Carrie, we created a lifetime of them. Read her letter below: 

Alaska Air Cargo delivers season’s first Copper River Salmon to Seattle

A sign for many that summer has o-fish-cially begun! 

Straight from the frigid waters of the Copper River in Alaska, the first delivery of fresh salmon arrived today at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. 

Nearly 17,200 pounds of wild Alaska Copper River Salmon was flown by Alaska Air Cargo — the first of many shipments expected this season, which runs now through September. 

The celebratory “first fish,” sponsored this year by Copper River Seafoods, weighed in at 30 lbs. 

Greg McDole, Copper River Seafoods, with the celebratory first fish in Seattle.
Greg McDole and Jim Kostko, Copper River Seafoods.

Fast facts about Copper River Salmon: 

  • Copper River Salmon shipped on Alaska Air Cargo arrive as fresh as possible to grocery stores and restaurants across the nation, thanks in part to a cool chain training program required of all airline employees who handle perishables.  
  • Our employees follow strict seafood quality standards and pass an annual food quality course. The goal is to keep seafood moving rapidly throughout its journey on Alaska Airlines and maintain a consistent temperature range from the time it leaves the water to when it arrives at stores and restaurants. 
  • The Copper River Salmon season usually runs from mid-May through June.  
  • A Copper River Salmon can grow up to 50 pounds or more, according to the Copper River Marketing Association. 
  • Copper River salmon must travel 300 miles from the ocean, where they have spent their adult lives, through rugged terrain and icy waters to reach their spawning grounds, a journey that requires extra stores of energy in the form of fat, according to the Copper River Marketing Association. It is this fat that not only creates the exceptional flavor and texture of Copper River salmon, but also the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that make it so healthy to eat. 

Be sure to check out your local grocer or restaurants to get a taste of the excellent fish! 

Captain Kevin with his family after arriving safely in Seattle with the special shipment.

A message from Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci: Getting back on track

Running a great operation is part of what makes Alaska Airlines who we are, but at the moment, we’re not living up to that commitment. CEO Ben Minicucci apologizes for the impact and shares how we’re getting back to being the airline you know and trust.

To hear why this happened and the actions we’re taking to make it right, please watch this two-minute video message.

Read Ben’s letter to employees about returning to operational excellence and our commitment to them and our guests.

Full video transcript:

Hi everyone, I’m Ben Minicucci, CEO of Alaska Airlines. For many years we’ve taken pride in running a strong operation. However, we aren’t living up to that commitment right now, and for that, I’m deeply sorry.  

I hear every day from friends, neighbors and guests about how disruptive our flight cancellations have been. Everybody wants to know, “What happened? And what are you doing about it?”  

Simply put, we had 63 fewer pilots than what we planned for when we built our schedule. By the time we caught this error, April and May schedules were bid on by our pilots and flight attendants, making it impossible to sufficiently adjust schedules to avoid cancellations.  

This error is having a continued ripple effect for May. Of the 1,200 flights that we operate every day, we’ve been canceling about 50 of them, that’s about 4%. A canceled flight is frustrating enough, but then you often face long hold times when you try to reach someone in Reservations. This is coming at a time when flights are already full, so rebooking options are limited.  

Even though we made immediate changes, it takes some time for a complex operation to turn the corner. The month of May will continue to be choppy and we’re doing everything we can to minimize the impact on you.  

For June and beyond, we’ve made significant changes to ensure a high degree of reliability.  

This includes hiring and training: 150 new pilots, 200 additional reservations agents. And 1,100 new flight attendants.  

This, along with the reductions we’ve made to our schedule, will ensure we run an operation that you can count on.  

I’m grateful for the people at Alaska and Horizon who are working long hours to take care of you and make the best of this tough situation.  

The foundation of our airline is strong. Long term, Alaska is a resilient airline with 90 years of history – and through it all, you’ve helped shape our airline and make us better.  I’m committed to you, to our people, and to our communities. We’ll get this right and return to being the Alaska you can count on. Thank you.  

International arriving gets a world-class upgrade at Alaska’s hometown airport in Seattle 

As our guests travel the world again, Mileage Plan members can earn and redeem miles with more than 20 airlines that are oneworld members and additional global partners

Alaska Airlines, our fellow oneworld members and our additional global airline partners are celebrating a new era at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport: all of our arriving international guests who need customs clearance now make their way through the new, state-of-the-art International Arrivals Facility (IAF). It’s a faster, modernized, more efficient way to arrive back into the Pacific Northwest from points around the globe. 

A world-class International Arrivals Facility at our hometown airport provides tremendous economic and strategic opportunities for Alaska as we continue to grow our airline and our partnerships,” said Nat Pieper, senior vice president of fleet, finance and alliances at Alaska Airlines. “We’re proud of our membership in the oneworld alliance and our array of additional international partner airlines. With our worldwide reach of more than 1,000 destinations, Alaska is a global airline that can take our guests nearly anywhere they want to go – near and far.” 

The opening of the IAF comes just as many of us are ready for worldwide travel adventures again. Maybe let loose on that epic hiking trip through the Alps, a deep dive into royal history in London or a food marathon of sushi bars and ramen stands across Tokyo – the sky’s the limit. 

Altogether, oneworld airlines offer the most nonstop flights to international destinations from SEA this summer – an average of 20 daily international flights in June, which includes Alaska’s nonstop flights to Canada and Mexico. From oneworld global hubs, guests can connect to hundreds of other cities. 

Seattle’s newest nonstop international service will be on oneworld member Finnair starting June 1. Members of Alaska’s award-winning Mileage Plan program can earn double miles between Seattle and Helsinki from June 1-Oct. 28, 2022. Register by June 30 to take advantage of this promotion. 

With Mileage Plan, our guests can earn and redeem miles on more than 20 airlines that are oneworld members and our additional global partners. Here are a few of the possibilities of one-way, main cabin Mileage Plan redemptions that are available in July and August: 

SEA to London: Starting at 32,500 miles on British Airways

SEA to Tokyo:  Starting at 35,000 miles on Japan Airlines 

SEA to Maldives:  Starting at 42,500 miles on Qatar  

SEA to Iceland:  Starting at 30,000 miles on Icelandair 

Nonstop international flights on oneworld member airlines and additional partners from SEA for June 2022. oneworld members are in bold

Destination Airline Frequency 
Calgary Alaska Daily 
Cancun Alaska Daily 
Edmonton Alaska Daily 
Frankfurt Condor Daily 
Helsinki Finnair 3x Weekly 
Kelowna Alaska Daily 
London Heathrow British Airways 2x Daily 
Los Cabos Alaska Daily 
Doha Qatar Airways Daily 
Puerto Vallarta Alaska 2x Weekly 
Reykjavik Icelandair 2x Daily 
Seoul Korean Air Daily 
Singapore Singapore Airlines 3x Weekly 
Tokyo Narita Japan Airlines Daily 
Vancouver Alaska 7x Daily 
Victoria Alaska 2x Daily 
See all the places you can go with oneworld at https://bit.ly/3kW17Rd .

Want to fly? How to become a pilot with Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air

Aspiring pilots and the mentors who take them under their wing 

Austen Pyle was 13 when he knew he wanted to fly — it was his first brush with the sky in a glider. Today, less than 10 years after that first flight, he’s starting his pilot training with Horizon Air, Alaska’s regional airline in the Pacific Northwest. Within a few months, he’ll be a first officer – following in his mentor’s flight path. 

Lawrence and Austen at Aviation Day, 2015
Lawrence and Austen at Aviation Day, 2022

Like many pilots, it took just one flight to inspire a career. Lawrence Pavlinovic, then a Horizon Air captain and now an Alaska captain, was the glider flight instructor that auspicious day. He saw Pyle’s passion for flight immediately and took him under his wing – inviting him to Aviation Day, an annual event hosted by Alaska and Horizon to inspire careers in aviation. 

“Lawrence really pushed me to explore aviation as an option,” says Pyle. “He opened my eyes, and I’m so glad he did.” 

Pyle, once the mentee attending Aviation Day, became the mentor over the weekend, discussing the journey to becoming a pilot.

Now’s the best time to become a pilot  

The need for the next generation of pilots is greater than ever. Alaska and Horizon expect to hire more than 900 pilots by the end of 2022 to replace thousands of pilots who retired during the pandemic or are approaching the mandatory retirement age of 65. Across the industry, mainline airlines are hiring about 10,000 pilots this year alone. 

Alaska Airlines First Officer Mallory C

But in between the moment a love of flying is sparked and a career, aspiring pilots like Pyle face a journey that requires a daunting investment of time and money. On average, it can cost around $90,000 for education, flight training and certifications, and pilots must log hundreds of flying hours before they can fly for commercial airlines. However, the opportunities for financial and other support while navigating this journey are growing. 

Alaska has launched several pilot-development programs – including most recently True North, a partnership with two historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and Ascend Pilot Academy, a partnership with Hillsboro Aero Academy in Oregon – to encourage aspiring pilots from diverse backgrounds to follow their dream.  

“If you’re going to do this, do it 100 percent,” – Austen Pyle at Alaska Airlines Aviation Day May 2022

Want to fly? Here are some tips and resources to get you off the ground: 

Find your passion: Take a discovery flight  

Flight schools and many flying clubs offer an hour with a flight instructor who includes an introduction to ground school as well as time at the controls in the air. Pilots say this is the best way to determine if a curiosity about flying will transform into a passion and commitment to do the work.  

“Do one flight. That’s all it will take for you to decide if you want to become a pilot or not,” says Pyle.  

Alaska’s annual Aviation Day events in Seattle and Portland also provide an opportunity for young people to explore careers across the industry. Seattle’s event was May 7, but there’s still time to attend the event in Portland, coming up Saturday, May 21. Learn more about registering. 

Plan your pathway: Explore Alaska’s pilot-development programs 

Pyle started out at the Evergreen Soaring Club and worked toward his pilot’s license while still in high school. “I actually got my private pilot’s license before my driver’s license,” he said.  

When he started Central Washington University’s aviation program, Pyle interviewed right away for the Horizon Air Pilot Development Program, which partners with universities while providing a stipend, mentorship and a pathway to a future job at Horizon.  

“That was really special for me as a freshman in college to know that I had an airline job waiting for me when I was ready,” said Pyle. 

And Alaska’s newest pilot-development programs are designed to recruit students with diverse backgrounds, part of our commitment to increase the diversity of our workforce at all levels by 2025. 

The True North pilot-development program was launched in fall 2021 in partnership with Delaware State University and University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, two historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). True North’s goal is to recruit and support BIPOC pilots on their journeys, and students receive guaranteed first officer positions at Horizon upon graduation, along with a confirmed path to Alaska. 

Ascend Pilot Academy launched in March in partnership with Hillsboro Aero Academy in Oregon to provide resources and a career path for aspiring pilots, including those who don’t yet have flight experience. Once accepted, cadets receive a stipend and financial assistance for training, as well as a confirmed job with Horizon once qualified. “Aviation is for everyone,” says Carlos Zendejas, vice president of flight operations for Horizon Air. “Our programs help navigate the how-to of becoming a pilot, and we know that finances are a barrier, so our programs have stipends to help with that as well.” 

We need to find the young pilots and we’ve got to grow them. That’s where True North came from.” – Captain Ron Limes, one of the founders of True North and Alaska’s director base chief pilot in Seattle. 

Captain Limes loved planes as a child, but knew as a teen he was destined to fly them when he took a discovery flight over the New York City skyline.

Seek out support through pilot associations and flying clubs 

Aerospace associations and flying clubs offer a wealth of resources – from scholarships to assistance in sorting through education options, to job opportunities. For example, Alaska Airlines Captain JP Wilson found a job at Horizon Air through a career fair sponsored by the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals.  

Captain Wilson knew he wanted to fly planes from the time he was a kid angling for the window seat while tagging along on his dad’s business trips. 

Limes says associations provide vital guidance from mentors who have already navigated the journey to becoming a pilot, which is especially valuable for diverse students who are entering a field long dominated by white male pilots. 

“You can find a group where somebody has already broken the barrier for you. I’m so thankful for the generations ahead of me who made the way smoother for me,” says Limes. 

A few of the associations and clubs with Alaska and Horizon members: 

Find a mentor to help you stay the course 

As a young man, Pavlinovic chased his aviation dreams for years, but kept running into roadblocks – from his parents, who initially pushed him to be a doctor or lawyer instead of a pilot, to the Air Force recruiter who told him he couldn’t fly because he wore glasses (not true). He credits a naval aviator who was a flight instructor in the Civil Air Patrol for encouraging him to not give up. It took many years, along with money from the veterans’ benefits he earned through 21 years of service in the Marines and Army, to achieve his dream of becoming a commercial pilot. 

Now when he meets young people like Pyle who have a passion for flying, he’s eager to help them on their way. “Because of my experience in the military and the civilian world, which is where I did all my flying, I can tailor my mentorship to a young man or woman and talk through the different ways they can pursue this,” says Pavlinovic.  

Across Alaska and Horizon, pilots take mentorship to heart, and veteran pilots are matched with students in all our associated pilot-development programs.  

We look for pilots who want to be mentors, who want to give back. We ask about it in interviews. A lot of our pilots love to give back.” – Captain JP Wilson 

Pyle has already found ways to mentor up-and-coming pilots. While still in high school, he put together a presentation on aviation careers for a class of fifth graders – complete with metal wings donated from Alaska and Horizon. And as a flight instructor, he would tell his students: “If you’re going to do this, do it 100 percent until you are done and nothing less.” 

Now that he’s achieved one goal, Pyle has his sights set on another: “I’ve told Lawrence, ‘On your retirement flight, I want to be your first officer.’” 

Photos by Joe Nicholson

Alaska’s new Star Wars-themed aircraft celebrates adventures to “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” at Disneyland Resort

Alaska Airlines joined forces with Disneyland Resort today, May the Fourth, to unveil a new, one-of-its-kind Star Wars-themed aircraft that even Chewbacca would be proud of!  The plane, painted space black with the iconic Millennium Falcon emblazoned on the tail chased by TIE fighters, celebrates Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the newest land of adventure inside Disneyland park. The plane is now flying on routes across Alaska’s network for the universe to enjoy!

For this latest collaboration – Alaska’s seventh painted plane for the Disneyland Resort – no Jedi mind tricks were needed: the force was strong for a Star Wars livery to finally enter Alaska’s fleet. The aircraft’s official name is “Star Wars Transport to the Disneyland Resort” with a tail number of N538AS. After the big reveal and celebration at the gate in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the plane made its inaugural flight today and ultimate arrival at John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

The unique design of the Star Wars-inspired plane is a collaboration among teams at Alaska, Disneyland Resort and Lucasfilm. Familiar spacecraft span each side of the plane with hand painted, detailed imagery: the Millennium Falcon and four TIE fighters. Designers at Disneyland Resort focused on the incredibly identifiable, widely recognized Millennium Falcon for the spotlight, in addition to the well-traveled spaceship being the focal point at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, a 14-acre land in Disneyland park.

The Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Disneyland Resort logos are featured in the center of the fuselage. For a lighthearted touch, porgs (the cute avian creatures that lived on Luke Skywalker’s remote island) look back at passengers from both winglets, as another porg greets guests at the boarding door. 

Download images from this post.

To bring the imagery to life, the plane’s exterior required 228 gallons of paint applied during 540 work hours over 27 days. For the painting, 23 base colors were used with numerous custom colors mixed onsite for the detailed airbrushing of the Millennium Falcon and the TIE fighters.

Watch how this Alaska Airlines plane was transformed!

Download video

Star Wars Transport to Disneyland Resort” is scheduled to fly in the Alaska fleet and throughout Alaska’s network. You can also spot “Friendship and Beyond at Disneyland Resort” at airports and in the skies with a whimsical tribute to Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure Park – our last Disneyland Resort-themed aircraft that began service in October 2019.

Multimedia:

Photos by Ingrid Barrentine (Alaska Airlines).

Video by Ken Boyer, Dylan Sullivan, Jonny Mack (Alaska Airlines).

For more multimedia from Alaska Airlines visit this page.

One-year countdown begins for REAL ID enforcement. Make sure your ID is ready to fly by May 3, 2023!

The federal government is giving everyone until May 3, 2023 to get their REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards.

Beginning May 3, 2023, every air traveler will need to present a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, or other acceptable form of identification, to fly within the United States.

The REAL ID Act is a federal law.

If you like to use your driver’s license as your main identification to get through TSA security checkpoints at the airport, it’s crucial to make sure it’ll be REAL ID-compliant and ready to fly starting May 3, 2023.

To get flyers ready for this significant transition, we’re providing a resource for our guests, employees and the public to get the latest information about REAL ID and its fast-approaching changes. It’s found on the Alaska Airlines website at alaskaair.com/REALID.

Here are some key things to know:

  • Beginning May 3, 2023, your driver’s license will need to be REAL ID-compliant if you want to use it to fly within the U.S. It’s part of a law passed by Congress. If your license is not compliant, and you don’t have another acceptable form of ID, you’ll have trouble getting through airport security.
  • State licensing agencies and motor vehicle departments are expecting long lines and wait times in the months leading up to May 2023. If you want your driver’s license to be REAL ID-compliant, now’s the perfect time to make the upgrade because the rush is coming. Why not check this off your list now?
  • REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and the processes to get them are different state to state, which can be confusing. In most cases, you’ll need to bring additional documentation to get a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, and you might even need to make an appointment. A few states, like Oregon, have not yet begun to distribute REAL ID-compliant licenses, so residents should refer to their state licensing agency or motor vehicle department websites for details and plan accordingly.
  • Many states identify their REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses with a gold star in the upper right corner, which indicates they’ll be ready to use at airport security checkpoints starting May 3, 2023. But some states, such as Washington, do not use gold stars for REAL ID-compliant licenses.
  • You do have a choice. If you want to fly after May 3, 2023, with other acceptable identification – for example, your U.S. passport or a U.S. military ID – you can do that instead. Just remember to bring that ID to the airport.
Some states, like California, mark their REAL-ID-compliant licenses with a star. Other states, like Washington, do not. (Samples provided by state motor vehicle departments)

“We always want our guests to have the best possible travel experience with us and at the airport,” says Wayne Newton, vice president of airport operations and customer service at Alaska Airlines. “We want to do everything we can to help spread the word about the upcoming changes with federal laws taking effect, and how our customers can get prepared.”

Click on the state where you live to find out more on how to get a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license:

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
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FAQ

Refresh my memory. What exactly is the REAL ID Act?

Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005 in an effort to strengthen identification rules at airports. The act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver licenses. Under the law, state driver licenses and ID cards have to be issued only to people who can prove they are legally living in the United States. If state licenses don’t meet the standards, then federal agencies – such as the TSA – will not accept them.

So what happens in May 2023 if I show up at the airport with my standard driver license as my only ID?

You’ll be turned away and not allowed to go through a TSA checkpoint if you don’t have another form of approved identification. And you’ll miss your flight.

So when do the rules actually change?

Currently, the DHS has indicated the enforcement of the REAL ID Act starts on May 3, 2023. At that point, standard driver licenses issued by some states – such as Washington – will not be accepted by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) at U.S. airports. TSA will accept enhanced driver licenses, since they have established your identity and U.S. citizenship.

Am I required to get a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license?

No, it’s up to you to decide what’s best for your travel needs. You can use a current U.S. passport or a U.S. military ID at the airport to get through TSA security after May 3, 2023, just like you can right now. Just remember to bring it. Having a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license is convenient for many of us because it’s something we always carry with us. Other acceptable forms of identification is found here.

Show your Star Wars spirit on Alaska Airlines and board early this ‘May the Fourth’ 

Guests wearing their favorite Star Wars clothing on any May 4 flight will get to enjoy priority boarding!

ATTENTION ALL STAR WARS FANS: If you have a flight on Alaska Airlines on May 4, 2022, you might want to break out your vintage Luke Skywalker T-shirt, way too cool BB-8 ballcap or even that Darth Vader cape. To celebrate the Star Wars fan day of “May the Fourth (be with you),” we’re offering guests who wear their favorite Star Wars gear the chance to board early. 

Everybody in the galaxy loves Star Wars, so we had to celebrate this epic day the Alaska way,” said Natalie Bowman, managing director of marketing and advertising for Alaska Airlines. “Whether you’re traveling near – or far, far away – on May 4th, we hope to see you at our gates ready to board early in your favorite Star Wars gear. It will truly be a star-studded event!”  

The one-day priority boarding promotion can be enjoyed by all guests on any Alaska Airlines flight throughout our network on May 4, 2022. When a guest wears any clothing item Star Wars-related, they’ll be able to board their flight just after Group B (which could stand for, say, Boba Fett). Guests should listen closely to the announcements by gate agents.  

Alaska Airlines’ sustainability report champions climate action, social impact, commitment to people and greener travel

We care a lot — about people, flying greener, investing for strong communities and making flying matter. Below are some highlights from Alaska’s 2021 Care Report.

Each year, we share the journey of our environmental and social impact in an annual report, sharing data, progress, learnings and stories. We share where we’re hitting our targets, areas of improvement, and what we’ve learned throughout the previous year. We know there will always be more work ahead – there is no “mission accomplished” when it comes to our environmental and social impact. We’ll keep pushing forward with care, innovation, pragmatism, accountability, transparency and partnership to ensure that aviation is a positive force in our world.

Last year, we announced new commitments to reduce our climate impacts with goals for carbon, waste, and water. We also committed to new diversity, equity, and inclusion goals as part of our responsibility to make Alaska a place where everyone feels like they belong. This year, we began making these a reality and today, we’re excited to share our progress with you.

HIGHLIGHTS

Net zero: care for the long-term

Our most significant environmental impact comes from burning jet fuel and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions. Last year, we committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 through a five-part path, with near-term 2025 targets to help us get there.

Click to enlarge.

In 2021, we’ve focused on improving our operational efficiency with procedures and technology that enables us to minimize the amount of fuel we actually burn. These include implementing route optimization software Flyways, taking delivery of new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, improving use of electric ground power and air and continuing to evolve our ground fleet toward lower-emissions options. We also focused on jump-starting the market for sustainable aviation fuels, which have the greatest power to decarbonize aviation in the next several decades.

Click to enlarge.

Transforming the future of flight

Reducing aviation’s impact requires new technologies that don’t yet exist or aren’t available with enough supply and at a viable cost, which is why airline travel is one of the most difficult sectors to decarbonize. To tap into the innovation needed to make aviation sustainable, we launched an investment arm, Alaska Star Ventures.

Alaska Star Ventures is dedicated to identifying and enabling technology to accelerate our path to net zero. To kick things off, we dove in with UP.Partners, The Westly Group and ZeroAvia:

  • UP.Partners is focused on accelerating operational efficiency and advanced air mobility.
  • The Westly Group is focused on green energy, carbon offsetting and removal technologies and enabling a low-carbon circular economy.
  • With ZeroAvia, we are partnering to develop technology to retrofit regional aircraft as zero emissions planes with their innovative design for hybrid hydrogen-electric powertrain technology.

Diversity, equity & inclusion

At Alaska, we believe every person deserves respect regardless of race, ethnicity, capability, age, gender or sexual orientation; we believe that aviation can enable opportunity; and we’re committed to advancing equity in all forms, with an initial focus on racial equity. Recognizing that we have more work to do to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) for our company and industry, in 2021, we set specific and measurable goals to deliver on our commitments to racial equity.

  • Increase racial diversity at all levels of the company to at least 30%, so that leadership at least reflects the diversity of our full employee group;
  • Increase our company’s “Inclusion Index Score” in our employee engagement survey by 10 points; and
  • Engage 175,000 young people around education, opportunity, and career pathways, focusing on developing BIPOC talent.

In 2021, we reported a modest initial increase in leadership representation while putting in place the talent pipeline to recruit and advance more diverse leaders. Already in 2022, we’ve made more progress—currently 18.3% of our leaders are BIPOC. There is more work to do, but we’re on track to achieve our goals by 2025. These goals are supported by a strong culture of inclusion which is measured by our “Inclusion Index Score,” which increased by 9 points in 2021.

Holding ourselves accountable

Our commitment to people and the planet is not just an aspiration; it is something we live by every day. Beginning in 2021, we included a carbon intensity metric into the goals-based program that guides bonus pay for all employees. Also, starting in 2021, a portion of long-term executive compensation depends on progress in diversifying our leadership ranks.

We believe how we hold ourselves accountable should play a critical role in our company’s culture of care. It is not enough to say we want to do good. We must measure our impact and integrate those metrics in our systems. This accountability enables and creates lasting change.

The next 90 years

This month, we celebrate our 90th anniversary as an airline. While we enjoy this remarkable achievement, our eyes are on the horizon, looking toward our next 90 years and what it will take to care for people and the planet for the long term.