At Alaska Airlines, honoring the fallen and their families

Video by Karina Matias | Photos by Ingrid Barrentine

On the airfield, one cart is reserved for heroes. 

For over a decade, Alaska’s Fallen Soldier Program has ensured fallen military service members, and their families are treated with the utmost respect. 

Pioneered by a group of Alaska’s maintenance and engineering team members in 2011, the Fallen Soldier Program was established to ensure proper military protocols are followed when handling the remains of those who have served our country and made the ultimate sacrifice, ensuring they are flown to their final resting place with the highest respect and honor.  

Special customized carts, designed by technicians, are stationed at 15 airports nationwide to respectfully transport the remains of military service members to and from aircraft. These carts are available for use by any airline. 

When a flag-draped casket is flown on Alaska Airlines, it is given priority and is the first item unloaded from the plane, placed carefully onto a Fallen Soldier Cart. Guests on board are asked to wait to deplane until the fallen service member’s escort or family have exited the aircraft. Many guests choose to remain seated until the casket is removed, out of respect, though it is not required. Meanwhile ramp agents and maintenance technicians stand at attention on the tarmac to honor the fallen. 

Recently, Alaska’s Fallen Soldier Program team held a special ceremony for the final flight of Naval Chief Petty Officer Richard Clyde Higgins. His remains were flown on our Honoring Those Who Serve aircraft from Portland, Oregon to his final resting place in Southern California, where he was buried beside his wife. His family, our guests, and employees witnessed the emotional and honorable journey of the fallen hero. Higgins, one of the last Pearl Harbor survivors, was 102. 

In 2023, Alaska employees delivered the 15th cart in the program to Spokane, Washington. Our next cart will be delivered to Nashville International Airport in late June.  

The carts are crafted by a team from Alaska’s Maintenance and Engineering department and are stationed at airports around the country. They’re available to honor members and veterans of all branches of the military. While the carts remain under Alaska’s care at each airport, they are available for any airline to use when transporting remains. 

Alaska Airlines has dedicated carts in: 

Honoring Those Who Serve aircraft  

Our fourth Honoring Those Who Serve aircraft, which is dedicated to members of the US military and honors those who serve today and those who served in the past, will soon be joining our fleet.  

This design includes a red stripe and blue aircraft body to incorporate elements of the American flag; the phrase “Honoring Those Who Serve,” displayed on the fuselage; symbolic crests representing the Alaska Airlines Fallen Soldier Program to the right of the rear cargo door and on the left side of the aircraft behind the aft service door; and an “Alaska Airlines Salutes” medallion near the nose of the aircraft, with the six stars (along with the six stripes on the engine cowls) representing the six branches of the U.S. Armed Forces: Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Space Force. 

Celebrating Aviation Maintenance Technician Day: Honoring the unsung heroes of Alaska Airlines 

Today, we take a moment to celebrate a group of dedicated professionals whose expertise and commitment ensure the safety, reliability and excellence of our fleet. On Aviation Maintenance Technician Day (or AMT Day), we honor the incredible work of maintenance technicians at Alaska and Horizon Air—our unsung heroes who work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep us flying high.

Running a safe operation  

Our maintenance technicians are essential to every flight, every day. Whether they are performing pre-flight inspections, troubleshooting technical issues, or carrying out regular heavy maintenance checks, their work allows us to fly safe and continue delivering exceptional service to our guests.  

In addition to ensuring every aircraft is fit to fly each day, we remain extremely grateful to our skilled Maintenance and Engineering team that shouldered the inspection work of our 737-9 MAX aircraft earlier this year and safely returned the planes to service.  

This year, we recognized the careers of some Maintenance and Engineering employees, naming them “Alaska Legends” and “Horizon Pathfinders,” our top honors for those with storied careers of always looking up, pushing higher, putting others first, and representing the very best of us.


Randy Ahrens

Line Aircraft Technician, ANC 
Alaska Airlines Legend ’24

“I feel honored, there’s some super good mechanics here. It’s interesting work, you learn something new every day, it’s never boring,“ said Ahrens. “I enjoy the challenge, it’s a lot of satisfaction when it actually works, and it’s all done correctly.” 

“Randy’s always positive, no matter what the job is, it doesn’t matter if it’s 40 degrees below up in Purdue Bay or working inside the hangar, he’s always happy and willing to work. We appreciate his skill and caring-ness,” said David Boyce, manager line Maintenance. 

Mark Williams

Director Material Ops Support 
Alaska Airlines Legend ’24

“I take a great deal of pride in how we do our job and how we make sure we’re helping out the airline,” said Williams. 

“Mark makes an impact every day,” says Alex Gorinsky, managing director of M&S ACSC Material Management. “Early before most people are even up, he is digging into problems and finds solutions. He has an uncanny ability to remember everything that he has worked on in the past several years—he remembers part numbers, unique situations, problems that he’s solved, solutions that he’s come up with and he guides his team through these things and is always there for them.” 

Nejib (Ben) Oueslati 

Lead Technician, SEA 
Horizon Air Pathfinder ’23

“I work with a small group of mechanics in Seattle,” said Oueslati. “We have a good team here. We are like a family. Everybody steps up to help each other with one thing in mind: Return the airplane to service and get the job as safe as we can.” 

“Ben is an outstanding technician,” said Dale Sanderson, maintenance supervisor. “Ben is always willing to go the extra mile, do anything that needs to be done.”  

Tim Weigand

Sr. Service Engineer, PDX 
Horizon Air Pathfinder ’23

“We have to make the right decisions—what really gets me fired up is finding challenges and finding those things where it could be something big but getting it fixed fast,” said Weigand. 

“I’ve been doing this a long time and I have a lot of respect for those guys who’ve also helped and mentored me and I just want to keep that moving and going on,” said Weigand.

Unmatched skill and innovation 

When you take a maintenance technician job at Alaska or Horizon Air, you are joining a legacy of mechanic excellence. For 22 consecutive years, Alaska Airlines Maintenance and Engineering Division have received the Diamond Certificate of Excellence from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), an award that recognizes an organization’s commitment to aviation maintenance training and safety. This prestigious certificate is part of the FAA’s Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) Awards Program, which encourages aviation maintenance technicians and their employers to participate in ongoing training and professional development. 

Horizon Air’s Maintenance and Engineering Division were also awarded their 20th Diamond Certificate of Excellence from the FAA in recognition of its training efforts in 2020 and achieved a 100% participation rate by its aircraft maintenance technicians in the AAMT awards program. 

The Maintenance and Engineering Division with Alaska Airlines utilizes that latest aircraft maintenance technology, giving each mechanic convenient access to the information that keeps us flying safely. Our Maintenance and Engineering Division has been recognized for: 

  • On-time performance 
  • Customer satisfaction 
  • Fuel efficiency and green initiatives 
  • Our maintenance training programs 
  • Our focus on veteran and military employment, proudly supporting veterans from all branches, including the U.S. Air Force and the Marine Corps 
  • One of Forbes Top 100 Employers 

The path to becoming an aviation maintenance technician is one of rigorous training, continuous learning, and unyielding commitment. Our technicians undergo extensive education and certification processes, ensuring they are equipped with the latest knowledge and skills. Their dedication to staying updated with advancements in aviation technology demonstrates their commitment to excellence. 

Click to enlarge our Line Maintenance Stations (above)

Become an Aircraft Technician with our Training Programs 

If you’re looking to launch into an aircraft technician job, our Maintenance Programs can get you started. Our portfolio of career programs will help your aviation maintenance career rise to the next level. Aspiring aircraft technicians who enroll in the Horizon Maintenance Technician Development Program will receive a stipend, mentorship and more!

Alaska Airlines Hawaiʻi Community Advisory Board convenes first meetings

Alaska Airlines’ Hawaiʻi Community Advisory Board convened its first two meetings to provide important feedback and recommendations on Alaska’s operations in Hawaiʻi and the potential combination with Hawaiian Airlines. In March and May, the HICAB, which is made up of 16 diverse leaders from across the state, met on Oʻahu and Maui. Board members shared their valuable perspectives on the potential combined organization’s role in Hawaiʻi, what makes Hawaiian Airlines unique and special to the people of Hawaiʻi, and other local needs. Their work will help inform the dual-brand strategy, combined loyalty program, and other important efforts.

Alaska Airlines elevates its premium inflight retail menu with the return of Main Cabin hot meals  

Our newly expanded chef-curated menu is now available for purchase in Premium Class and Main Cabin 

Alaska Airlines is elevating its premium onboard menu with the return of hot meals to our inflight retail menu in the Main Cabin. Fueled by our industry leading pre-order program, our inflight menu continues to offer more choices than any other U.S. airline. 

Starting today, Premium Class and Main Cabin guests on most flights over 1,100 miles* will be able to choose from up to five chef-curated dishes, including at least one hot meal option. Along with our freshly prepared food offerings like our Signature Fruit & Cheese Platter, our hot meals are only available for pre-order purchase. 

Over the last few months, our Food & Beverage teams have been working to elevate our already premium in-flight meals, including expanding our hot meal options on most medium- to long-haul flights. 

We’re known for an inflight menu that is more thoughtfully curated with care. For a while now, our guests have often asked us if we’re ever going to bring back hot meals in the Main Cabin,” said Todd Traynor-Corey, managing director of guest products at Alaska Airlines. “It’s been difficult to keep it a secret – but for more than a year, our team has quietly worked behind the scenes taste testing the best hot food options with our culinary chef and creating a West Coast-inspired menu. Now no matter where they sit, guests will get to taste our world class food and beverages.” 

Meet our chef 

Chef Tony

Born and bred amidst the flavorful tapestry of London’s hotel restaurant scene, Chef Tony has collaborated with our LSG Sky Chefs locations around the world.  

In the last couple of months Chef Tony has had the pleasure of working closely with Alaska Airlines. Through his culinary ingenuity and unwavering commitment, he continues to elevate the gastronomic experience for passengers worldwide, setting new standards of excellence in the skies. 

It was important to the Alaska team to create a menu based on guest feedback. The creative process of selecting meals that made the most sense for the West Coast-based airline and then sourcing the freshest ingredients was a labor of love for all of us who were involved in developing this menu,” said Chef Tony Wright. “This airline truly cares about creating a premium onboard experience and we hope everyone experiences that with every bite of their food.” 

Our employees give an honest review 🍽️

Before today’s menu launch, our employees taste tested our new meal options and gave us their honest feedback.  

Alaska Flight Attendant Naomi S.G.

The Pretzel Roll Sliders were an immediate win for Alaska Flight Attendant Krystal G. 

Alaska Flight Attendant Krystal G

Check out our new hot food menu: 

Carnitas Breakfast Bowl 

📍Eastbound flights and to Hawaii (Breakfast departures) 

Slow-roasted pull pork and salsa verde, with a side of breakfast potatoes and fresh scrambled eggs 

Monte Cristo Breakfast Sandwich 

📍Westbound flights and from Hawaii (Breakfast departures) 

Smoked turkey breast, sliced ham & Swiss cheese served on a square croissant bun with cream cheese & raspberry jam 

Panang Curry Chicken 

📍Eastbound flights and to Hawaii (Lunch/Dinner departures) 

Red coconut curry with grilled chicken breast and jasmine rice. Topped with edamame beans, sweet red peppers and onions 

Pretzel Roll Sliders with Chips 

📍Westbound flights and from Hawaii (Lunch/Dinner departures) 

Two Angus beef patties on KING’S HAWAIIAN® Original Sweet Pretzel Slider Buns with caramelized onions and Swiss cheese. Served with kettle-style chips. 

For our press kit, including still images, click here.  

For our full inflight menu, click here.  

*Hot meal options may not be available on some flights 1,100 miles or more, including redeye flights or where catering is not available 

The Alaska Airlines credit card program is issued and administered by Bank of America, N.A. Visa and Visa Signature are registered trademarks of Visa International Service Association and are used by the issuer pursuant to license from Visa U.S.A., Inc. 

We’re making our Anchorage Lounge bigger and better 

It’s time for us to spread our wings a bit more at our busiest Lounge. And do a makeover in the process. 

This month we began work to expand and renovate our Lounge at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. When it’s finished this summer, we’ll offer more than double the amount of seating—from 65 seats right now to 135 spots for our members and guests to take a load off and enjoy epic views of the tarmac and beyond. 

The expansion will add nearly 2,600 square feet of space that’ll be filled with a variety of comfy chairs and furniture including our popular Signature Loungers that will have prime views. Most seats will have easy access to outlets to keep devices powered and charged. We’re also adding a curated collection of artwork from artists who call the state of Alaska home. 

“This is just one of the many significant investments we have planned for our Lounge program across our network. When construction is wrapped up this summer, our members and guests will notice the benefits of additional space and seating right away, along with thoughtful touches and great service that Alaska is known for,” said Todd Traynor-Corey, managing director of guest products at Alaska Airlines.  

Expanding and upgrading our popular Lounge in Anchorage is an important piece of our Great Land Investment Plan which involves $60 million in projects throughout the state over the next few years,” said Marilyn Romano, regional vice president of Alaska for Alaska Airlines.  

Our Lounges are a place to refresh and recharge. We offer a complimentary selection of fresh, seasonal food items throughout the day for a quick bite to eat. For something to sip, we provide a wide array of beverages including hard-crafted espresso drinks and West Coast wines, brews and custom-crafted cocktails. 

Alaska Lounges

The  Alaska Lounge Membership Program offers two options for guests to choose from: a standard Alaska Lounge membership includes access to all our Lounge locations, and an Alaska Lounge+ membership includes access to all our Lounges plus more than 90 partner lounges around the world. Alaska operates nine Lounges at six airports: Anchorage; Los Angeles; New York JFK; Portland (two locations); San Francisco; and Seattle (three locations).   

We offer a generous access policy. Lounge members are welcome to bring their immediate family members or up to two guests into the Lounge at no additional charge. Alaska MVP Gold, Gold 75K and Gold 100K members can enjoy Lounge access when they travel on a oneworld member airline to a destination outside of the U.S., Canada or Mexico.  

We also offer access to our Lounges for First Class guests that other airlines do not. Those guests traveling on a paid or award First Class ticket on long-haul and coast-to-coast flights have same-day access to our Lounges.  

Hey Canada! Alaska Airlines launches new nonstop service between Seattle and Toronto 

For the first time, we’re linking our home airport and Canada’s largest city; our guests can also connect on flights with Porter Airlines in Toronto, our newest global partner

Starting today, Alaska Airlines is flying our new daily, nonstop flight between our home airport in Seattle and Toronto Pearson International Airport – our newest destination and the sixth Canadian city we now serve. Tickets, with convenient departure and arrival times, are available for purchase at

In Toronto, guests can enjoy the city’s rich culture or catch a flight from Toronto Pearson with our 30th global airline partner, Porter Airlines, to destinations across Eastern Canada and beyond, including Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Halifax and St. John’s. These Porter flights and others are available for one-way purchase at with more booking options coming this summer.

Toronto is the largest city in Canada along the shores of Lake Ontario. For visitors, the possibilities are endless with its bustling downtown and walkable neighborhoods, stunning parks, rich history and diverse restaurants and entertainment. 

“We are very excited to welcome Alaska Airlines to Toronto Pearson. Their service to Seattle will provide much-needed capacity to the market and enhance customer choice,” said Kurush Minocher, Executive Director, Customer Experience and Airline Relations, Greater Toronto Airports Authority. “Last year, over a third of passengers traveled between Toronto and Seattle, and we’re delighted to enable this service for thousands of passengers while simplifying travel to the West Coast, Alaska and Hawaii.”

Alaska continues to add international options for travelers out of SEA Airport, providing a wide array of unique, adventurous experiences,” said Lance Lyttle, SEA Airport Managing Director. “Ease of access throughout the continent brings Eastern Canada closer with more competition.”  

New Seattle-Toronto nonstop service

Times are local

Porter Airlines began new flights to Toronto from two of our West Coast hubs in January: Los Angeles and San Francisco. Those flights, along with flights connecting on Alaska throughout our West Coast network, can also be purchased at

Across Canada, we also fly to Calgary, Edmonton, Kelowna, Vancouver and Victoria. While Toronto is a brand-new destination for us from Seattle, this isn’t the first time we’ve flown to Eastern Canada from the West Coast. In the early 90s, we flew nonstop service between Los Angeles and Toronto.

Our guests can take advantage of a premium travel experience on their next Alaska flight. We are the West Coast’s premier airline offering our flyers the most legroom in First Class* and Premium Class; no change fees; multiple fare offerings; the most generous loyalty program with Mileage Plan with the fastest path to elite status; 30 global partners; and West Coast food and beverage on board. We’re also making it easier for our guests to buy tickets and earn Mileage Plan miles with our domestic and global partners directly at

For inflight entertainment, our guests can enjoy hundreds of free movies and TV shows streamed to their devices. Our flights are also enabled with streaming-fast satellite Wi-Fi available for purchase and the option to pre-order from a range of fresh meal selections. Our mainline flights also offer power outlets at every seat to charge devices.

* Out of any U.S. airline excluding lie-flat seats   

You gotta pay the rent. Why not reward yourself? Use your Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card to now earn triple Mileage Plan miles with Bilt Rewards 

Bilt Rewards members can now transfer points to Mileage Plan miles. Plus, now you can earn 3x miles when you pay rent via Bilt with your Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® card.

Paying your rent is just one of those must-do’s. But how about earning something valuable for that regular monthly expense? You can now use your Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® card to pay your rent through Bilt and earn three Mileage Plan miles for every dollar you spend, up to $50,000 a year. Miles can then be redeemed for free flights with Alaska or with our vast network of global airline partners at    

Special offer for Alaska Visa Signature® cardholders

In mid-March, Alaska announced our new partnership with Bilt Rewards.

This innovative new partnership with Bilt will enable our guests who rent to get even more value from their Alaska Visa Signature card and builds upon our industry-leading loyalty offering,” said Brett Catlin, vice president of loyalty, alliances and sales at Alaska Airlines. “Our guests can use their miles for travel on Alaska and our oneworld and additional global partners to 1,000+ destinations across the world.”  

“From the Northwestern tip of Alaska to the most southeastern point of Florida, at Bilt we want to continuously reward our members no matter where they live in the United States,” said Bilt Rewards CEO, Ankur Jain. “As one of the most loved brands in aviation, this first-of-its-kind partnership with Alaska Airlines not only broadens Bilt’s members’ ability to travel everywhere Alaska and its partners fly but also exemplifies our commitment to providing Americans with more valuable ways to earn and redeem rewards on their largest monthly expense, rent, and within their local neighborhood.” 

About Bilt Rewards

Bilt Rewards is the first program for consumers to earn rewards on rent and daily neighborhood spend while creating a path to homeownership.    

Through a partnership with the country’s largest owners including Greystar, Asset Living, AvalonBay, Equity Residential, Related Companies, GID, Starwood, Cushman & Wakefield, Bozzuto, Camden, Brookfield, Berkshire Residential, ZRS, Highmark, Beztak, Trammell Crow, PGIM and more. Bilt Rewards enables renters in more than three million units across the country to earn Bilt Points just by paying rent, while these owners benefit from resident loyalty, cost savings and a share of revenue. 

Bilt Rewards boasts one of the highest value rewards programs on the market today, including one-to-one point transfers to 12 loyalty programs allowing members to travel across over 100 major airlines and hotel partners. Members can also book travel through the Bilt Travel Portal powered by Expedia; book fitness classes at the country’s top boutique studios including SoulCycle, Solidcore, Rumble and Y7; shop limited-edition and exclusive collections of art and home decor through the Bilt Collection; shop on; or redeem Bilt Points for credits towards rent or even towards a down payment on a future home. 

Terms & Conditions

Terms, conditions and fees apply to earn miles with the card. Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® cardholders must link their card to their Bilt account to receive this offer. Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® cardholders who take advantage of this offer will be opted out of earning Bilt points when paying their rent through Bilt with their Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® card and will earn Alaska miles instead.  

The Alaska Airlines credit card program is issued and administered by Bank of America, N.A. Visa and Visa Signature are registered trademarks of Visa International Service Association and are used by the issuer pursuant to license from Visa U.S.A., Inc

This post was originally published on March 15, 2024 and updated to highlight the special credit card offer.

Honoring those who serve: Alaska Airlines salutes members of the U.S. military & their families

At Alaska, we are so very grateful for the service of active duty military and veterans and appreciate the personal sacrifices they and their families make for us all. We take seriously our responsibility to care for our military guests, and we prioritize it with every flight.  

Here are some of the ways we show our care—from booking to landing and everything in between. 

Special military fares 

We offer special military fares to active duty military and their dependents in some markets. These fares apply to service members traveling on an official excused absence, and those discharged from active duty military service in any one of the US military agencies.

Learn more 

Priority boarding 

When it’s time to fly, listen closely to the announcements at the gate. Our gate agent will offer active members of the military the opportunity to board the flight early. Stow your bags before most guests and settle into your seat to relax.

Our Boarding Process 

Check 5 bags for free 

For active duty US military personnel, and military dependents with travel orders, we’ll check your first 5 bags for free.

Learn more

Save on inflight purchases 

Members of the military and their families get a 15% discount on food purchased during a flight with us. Just show your military ID to our flight attendant, and then prepare to snack.

Browse our inflight food menu 

Lounge access 

Alaska Lounge Day Passes are complimentary for U.S. military personnel traveling on official government-sponsored travel booked through SATO and ticketed to fly on an Alaska flight departing within 3 hours. All other active duty military personnel with a valid Military ID, traveling on a paid or award ticket, may purchase a day pass at the discounted rate of $30 when traveling on Alaska. Available in all Alaska Lounge locations, subject to space availability. A valid Military ID must be presented.

Learn about day passes 

Receive a WeSalute discount 

We offer a discount on our flights for members of WeSalute. If you’re already a member, sign into your WeSalute to redeem your discount. If you’re not yet a member, enroll today to start saving on Alaska Airlines flights. 

Learn more

Fly with four-legged friends 

Trained service animals travel for free with proper documentation. Plus, we offer active military members and their dependents a pet shipping discount on Alaska Air Cargo.

Learn more.  

We’ve got your back. 

No matter what direction life takes you after your service, we’ll continue looking for ways to support you and your families, and to show you that we’re grateful for all you’ve done. 

Thank you, heroes. 

We are fortunate to work with the Honor Flight Network to provide complimentary travel and reduced fares for veterans on specially planned tours of Washington D.C., to honor them for their military service. Since 2012, we have flown nearly 5,000 veterans to the D.C. Area on over 100 Honor Flights. 

Alaska Airlines aircraft technicians created and implemented the “Fallen Soldier Program” in 2011. This process ensures that military protocols are followed when handling the remains of fallen servicemen and women being flown to their final resting place on Alaska Airlines. Watch video 

Honoring the fallen and their families. 

The conversations and dedication of a thoughtful group of employees was the catalyst for the creation of the Alaska Airlines Fallen Soldier program, which allows us to pay proper tribute to soldiers on the way home to their final resting places. Learn more about the program 

In 2019, Horizon Air unveiled its E175 aircraft sporting the “Honoring Those Who Serve” livery, which pays tribute to U.S. military members, veterans, fallen soldiers and their families. See all our commemorative aircraft. 

Our largest (& hardest) tributes to service members. 

Between Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, our combined fleet has three special aircraft to honor those who serve. The designs—adorned on two Alaska Boeing aircraft and a Horizon E175—feature an Alaska Airlines Salutes medallion and a fallen soldier badge, with the Battlefield Cross to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The planes also feature five rings surrounding the engines, representative of the five branches of the United States military, and American flag winglets. Our fallen hero carts now include the six branches of the military—The Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force and Coast Guard—and our aircraft will reflect that in the future.  

Donating miles goes a long way. 

We’ve made it simple for our guests to donate extra Mileage Plan miles to the Hero Miles program, to help injured service members and their families to stay connected during treatment.  

The Honor Flight Network’s Lone Eagle Program is our newest member of our CARE Miles program, ensuring that all veterans, regardless of their geographic location in the U.S., are able to participate in an Honor Flight trip.  The Lone Eagle Hub honors veterans of all service eras, but gives priority to those who served during WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam Era and the time periods between these conflicts. Since 2008, Alaska Airlines has donated more than 90 million hero miles to support these initiatives. Donate miles 

Pilots, aircraft technicians, flight attendants – employees throughout Alaska and Horizon – balance full-time work schedules with service in the military reserves and National Guard. Read full story: Balancing work and duty: Stories from those at Alaska who serve in the military reserves 

Thinking about your next career? 

We’d love to help you join our team. Alaska has a long history of recruiting military talent. We work with groups like Camo2Commerce to learn how to help service members and their spouses use their military training and experience in civilian positions.  

Our Business Resource Group—Military, Veterans and Allies (MVA)—supports current and future military and veteran employees with career development, promotes education and awareness, and provides networking opportunities. Explore the possibilities 

It’s our pleasure. 

We are honored that employee-led efforts like those above, along with tributes from individual employees and our company’s work, have been recognized with the Employer Support Freedom Award from the Department of Defense. Serving and supporting service members and veterans is a privilege, and we are committed to continuing our efforts in any way we can. 

Thank you, again to all service members, past and present. 

Countdown begins for travelers to obtain REAL ID for domestic flights

The one-year countdown is officially underway to obtain your REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards. With the REAL ID Act, Americans must ensure they have compliant identification by May 7, 2025, to continue accessing federal facilities and boarding domestic flights per the Department of Homeland Security.

Beginning May 7, 2025, 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.

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 7, 2025.

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.

  • Beginning May 7, 2025, 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 2025. 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 7, 2025. 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 7, 2025, 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)

District of Columbia
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

Alaska Airlines launches new options for guests to support sustainable travel

Alaska is the first U.S. airline to link guest participation in sustainability to loyalty with an accelerated path to elite status.   

We’re excited to share a new way you can join us on our journey toward a more sustainable aviation future.

Now, when you book your flights with Alaska Airlines, guests will have the option to reduce their environmental impacts by purchasing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) credits right in the booking path. You can choose to support SAF in an amount based on 5%, 10%, or 20% of your emissions when you book on (mobile app feature coming soon!).  

Plus, Alaska Mileage Plan™ members who buy SAF credits can earn elite-qualifying miles (EQMs) for their contributions! For every $100 spent on SAF, you’ll score 500 EQMs (up to 5,000 EQMs per year), giving you a boost on your journey to elite status. 

SAF is a critical part of aviation’s path to a more sustainable future, and while we use it today, there is not enough SAF available. It will take all of us to grow this market,” said Diana Birkett Rakow, senior vice president of public affairs and sustainability, Alaska Airlines. “The more people who know about and support this important technology, the better we can impact efforts to make a sustainable future for air travel a reality.”   

Now, when you’re booking your trip, you’ll see SAF credit options in the booking process as part of the other options, powered by climate technology company, CHOOOSE. The SAF credit option is based on carbon emissions associated with the guest’s flight and follow the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Recommended Practice 1726 (Passenger CO2 Calculation Method). This calculation method leverage parameters including  aircraft fuel consumption, flight path, seat configuration, cabin class, and load factors sourced directly from Alaska’s operational data.   

How it works:
The example above is a simplified calculation to demonstrate what you can pay to address the carbon emissions of your booked flight(s) (excluded service fees).

“Alaska is on a journey to make air travel more sustainable with an ambitious goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2040. Now we are inviting our guests to join us on the journey,” said Rakow. “We’re proud to be the first U.S. airline to make this connection between guest engagement in SAF and earning elite status.” 

Want to support SAF and cover even more of your trip?
Visit to do so! 

Join Base Chief Pilot JP Wilson for a journey through Alaska Airlines’ path to net zero carbon emissions by 2040. We reflect on the impact of aviation on our planet and explore sustainable solutions for the future of air travel.

Our EverGreen Journey 

We have prioritized immediate actions and long-term investments –being the first airline to remove plastic straws, water bottles and cups on board – aimed to reduce our carbon emissions and waste, and to protect local ecosystems. We know we can’t make this journey alone and are working closely with innovative partners across the globe to inform our sustainability work and enable new solutions for the future. 

SAF is a safe and certified fuel that, according to IATA, can slash carbon emissions by a whopping 80% or more over its lifecycle. And the best part? It can be used in all the aircraft and fuel systems we already have. Since 2010, Alaska has worked with a coalition of partners to drive the growth of the SAF market.

These efforts include programs with Microsoft and other companies to offset employee business travel. We’ve also been working with universities and scientists to stay up to date on all the latest research and knowledge when it comes to SAF. Plus, advocated for public policy to help advance SAF. 

Parting gifts from Guatemala: Alaska employees go above & beyond to delight guests

When was the last time you received a handwritten note? Perhaps it was a quick memo from a coworker, a reminder left on the counter to take out the trash or a card on your birthday. Maybe you don’t even remember. What was once a common courtesy and necessity has slowly faded away in favor of instantaneous, digital communications.

However, there is a small but mighty team in Central America who still believes in the power of putting pen to paper.

Last year, Alaska made history by adding Guatemala City (GUA) to the list of destinations we serve non-stop daily from the West Coast. Daily service between Los Angeles (LAX) and Guatemala City (GUA) has not only been closing the distance between cities, but also connecting the people and cultures that call the two places home.

Customer service agents (CSAs) have played a big role in that.

For many, there are a lot of aspects of traveling that can feel monotonous. But thanks to a few employees, the boarding process in Guatemala City has been reinvigorated with the hospitality and warmth the country has to offer.

Prior to each departure from Guatemala City, control and boarding agents find time in their busy schedules to handwrite notes for every First Class and MVP guest. When guests arrive at their seats, they’re greeted with a short, personalized note that speaks to a much greater message; it sets a tone of value and positivity for their entire journey. As part of our values, this tone is echoed in everything we stand for as a brand: being remarkable means being welcoming and hospitable to everybody who boards one of our aircraft.

The process is as heartfelt as the gesture itself. Customer service agents, in the midst of their bustling tasks, find moments of quiet to write these notes,” says Krystal C., director station operations Latin America. “Each message is a reflection of the individuality of the recipient, whether it’s a warm welcome, a wish for a pleasant journey, or a note of appreciation. This task, though simple, is imbued with the team’s genuine desire to create an unforgettable & premium experience for our guests.”

“It spoke of a bygone era of travel, where every journey was an occasion, and every passenger, a guest of honor,” said Fernando C., GUA station operations manager.

While times have changed, our commitment to delivering a premium experience for every guest remains the same. For the GUA team, travel is truly a labor of love.

This initiative was completely homegrown and is one of the reasons why people choose to fly with us,” said Rick H., managing director of operations. “The GUA team saw an opportunity to connect and appreciate some of our most valued guests. The initiative continues today, and guests have taken notice of it. I’m incredibly proud of each member of the GUA team!”

Did you know? With the additions of Guatemala and the Bahamas in December, we now serve six countries from the West Coast. 💙✈️

Chart your flight path: Insider tips from aspiring and legendary pilots at Alaska Airlines

Video by Karina Matias & Ingrid Barrentine

Mohammed Hakeem always had a deep passion for aviation.  

As a child, he would often make the trek from Los Angeles to Fiji aboard a Boeing 747-400. Those trips with his family led him to fall in love with flying, and he quickly knew it was something he wanted to do for the rest of his life.  

In 2017, Mohammed took his first step into the realm of air travel and joined Alaska Airlines as a customer service agent (CSA) at San Francisco International Airport. Following a quick promotion, he became a lead CSA across the bay in Oakland, then eventually transitioned to a flight attendant in 2019.  

But even after attaining two different roles in the airline industry, he still dreamed of becoming a pilot. He wanted to recognize his parents’ sacrifices and make them proud by achieving his ambition. 

As a Fijian American, he also recognized the importance of seeing skilled individuals who looked like him in the captain’s chair and wanted to be a part of that change.

I have always dreamt of becoming a pilot. Growing up, I was told by adults that my dream was too ambitious and that it wasn’t practical. But I held onto that dream, and it eventually became a reality for me,” said Mohammed. “Being a part of the industry which I’ve loved all my life helped me realize that my dream was indeed attainable.” 

Following some research and a push from a friend, in early 2023, Mohammed applied to Alaska Airlines’ Ascend Academy, a multi-year program with Hillsboro Aero Academy in Hillsboro, Oregon, that takes prospective pilots from zero experience to commercial flight. He is now working toward graduation, where he will transition into working as a pilot for Horizon Air.  

“Trust the process, move at your own pace, and always believe in yourself! You will make mistakes, but you will learn and grow from them. Trusting the process can be grueling especially when we compare our progress amongst our peers. It is not a race but a journey–one we cannot complete if we do not truly believe in ourselves the entire way.”  

– Mohammed Hakeem

Meet some of our legendary pilots 

Last year, Alaska Air Group recognized the careers of some pilots, naming them “Alaska Legends” and “Horizon Air Pathfinders,” an honor for those who always look up, push higher, put others first, and have been doing so for over a decade.  

Captain Julie Thiele was an art major before switching to aviation and had to overcome severe motion sickness in her journey to becoming a pilot. Today, she is the director base chief pilot at Anchorage International Airport. 

Captain Geoff Nelson’s first flight was in Juneau, Alaska for a glacier tour. He immediately knew he was hooked. With a tenure of more than 20 years, he has worn multiple hats including flying guests, teaching in the classroom, and performing duties as a technical pilot. 

Captain Rich Loudon came to the airline following a full Navy career; in addition to his role in the flight deck, he has built essential training courses for Alaska pilots and is a revered expert in the industry for his work on Human Factors.  

Captain Rich Loudon | Photos by Joe Nicholson

You literally have the best office in the world, with ever-changing breath-taking view. Feeling the exhilaration of climbing away from the earth on every takeoff has never failed to keep me smiling. What a privilege. In addition to that, the aviation career is filled with high performing people that make it safe, fun and highly rewarding.” 

– Captain Rich Loudon

Along with the rest of their cohort, these individuals exemplify the care and expertise our pilots aspire to. As Rich celebrates 32 years as an Alaska pilot and Mohammed is just starting his journey to the flight deck, it remains as important as ever to provide and recognize expertise, hire pilots from various backgrounds, and ensure that our employees have opportunities to pursue their dreams.  

Pathways to a pilot career 

Interested in becoming a pilot yourself? While we participate in recruitment events at select universities, military bases, and industry events, we also have designed a pipeline to carry prospective pilots from their first step to the first officer’s chair at Horizon Air and Alaska Airlines. Here are some of the ways you could end up at Alaska Air Group: 

Ascend Pilot Academy  

 If you have no experience as a pilot or have some flight experience but have yet to obtain your private pilot license, check out Alaska’s Ascend Pilot Academy. Over the course of 13-18 months, students in the program train to become commercial pilots and flight instructors, obtaining private pilot licenses, instrument ratings, commercial pilot licenses, and eventually certified flight instructor certificates and CFIIs. Over the following two years, they log hours toward the FAA’s 1500-hour requirement to fly for Horizon Air.  

Horizon Air Pilot Development Program 

If you already have a private pilot license, the Horizon Air Pilot Development Program is another way to pursue your career goals. We recognize that when you’re a student pilot, finding the right support and guidance for your job can be challenging. By enrolling in our Pilot Development Program, you can receive a $12,500 stipend, get mentoring from a professional pilot, and join special events. After completing the program and meeting all qualifications, graduates are assigned a class date with Horizon Air.  

True North 

True North is a recruitment program aimed at hiring BIPOC pilots at Horizon Air. The program includes reimbursement for up to 80% of all flight lab fees, ongoing mentorship, and apprenticeship or direct hire placement into an entry-level position. Like Ascend and Pilot Development Program, True North places hires on the fastest path to employment at Alaska Airlines. 

The Alaska Airlines Pilot Pathways Program 

While Ascend, the Pilot Development Program and True North each seek to prepare prospective pilots for work at Horizon, the Alaska Airlines Pilot Pathways Program aims to provide the most direct flight path for Horizon pilots seeking to become pilots for Alaska Airlines. Horizon and Alaska Airlines share a goal to create a rewarding career at the Air Group family of airlines and to make the move from regional to a major airline, if desired, as simple as possible. Following a successful Pilot Pathways Program interview, Horizon pilots are placed onto the “Pathways List” in order of their Horizon seniority number and are then in line to be directly hired to Alaska Airlines.  

Join our talent community to stay updated on application dates and job openings.