Author of Alaska Airlines History to Visit Anchorage on Book Tour

Robert J. Serling, one of the nation's foremost aviation authors, will be in Anchorage the week of June 16 to promote his recently completed history of Alaska Airlines entitled "Character &...

Robert J. Serling, one of the nation’s foremost aviation authors, will be in Anchorage the week of June 16 to promote his recently completed history of Alaska Airlines entitled "Character & Characters: The Spirit of Alaska Airlines."

More than four years in the making, "Character & Characters" is both a serious corporate history and a "reads-like-a-novel" celebration of the airline’s rich and colorful 75-year history.

"Alaska is an airline built from humble beginnings in 1932 by a cast of always dedicated, sometimes quirky and often brilliant characters," said Serling. "It has been an airline that has defied all odds. It has proven to be as rugged, as rich in tradition and as resourceful as its namesake state."

Serling will be the featured guest at the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum on Tuesday, June 17, when the museum hosts a reception and book signing for its members and the general public. Books will be available for purchase and the author will sign copies from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The museum is located at 4721 Aircraft Drive near Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

The author is also scheduling other appearances at area bookstores on Wednesday, June 18, including a book signing at the University of Alaska Anchorage campus bookstore that day from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Much of Serling’s book chronicles how Alaska Airlines’ history has paralleled the growth of Alaska itself. From the Great Depression to World War II to statehood to the development of the trans-Alaska pipeline up to current industry challenges, Serling recounts how Alaska Airlines has grown to become one of the country’s major airlines.

Today, from its headquarters in Seattle, the airline stretches north to Canada, to 19 destinations within the 49th state, south along the West Coast and deep into Mexico, to major cities across the continental United States and, most recently, across the Pacific to Hawaii.

"Alaska Airlines’ history has been peppered with creative characters whose actions or inventions have become a part of its legacy," said Serling. "Flight attendants, customer service and reservations agents, pilots, mechanics, dispatchers, baggage handlers, leaders, lenders and others tell the story. Alaska Airlines is a people business, so I used historical accounts that came from employees, passengers and associates every chance I could."

Serling’s perspective, affectionate yet candid, stems from a remarkable career as an aviation writer. While his brother, Rod, moved to Hollywood and established a reputation as a screenwriter with credits including "The Twilight Zone," Bob Serling wrote about the emerging aviation industry and became United Press International’s aviation editor in Washington, D.C.

Since becoming an author in the early 1960s, he has written more than two dozen non-fiction and fiction books — almost all on the business of flying — including the histories of Eastern, Western, TWA, Continental and American Airlines. In 1992, he wrote "Legend & Legacy: The Story of Boeing and Its People," the definitive 75-year history of The Boeing Co. Now 90, Serling is writing another aviation book — this time on airline humor.

Published by Seattle-based Documentary Media, "Character & Characters: The Spirit of Alaska Airlines" is on sale in bookstores everywhere beginning June 15.

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air together serve 93 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. For reservations, visit For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Newsroom at

FCMN Contact:

SOURCE: Alaska Airlines

CONTACT: Lou Cancelmi, +1-724-816-9119; or Bill MacKay of Alaska
Airlines, +1-907-266-7230