Category Archives: Alaska Airlines

Sea-Tac and Alaska then and now: North Satellite expansion is the newest development in decades of growth

From Alaska Airlines blog:

Did you know that Sea-Tac International Airport is home to several honeybee hives? Or that construction workers found the bones of a giant sloth while building a new runway in 1961? How about the fact that the airport was named Henry M. Jackson International Airport for about six months in 1984 to honor the state’s famous senator nicknamed “Scoop”?

This week, Alaska Airlines’ hometown hub celebrates the grand opening of its newest upgrade: the expanded North Satellite, with eight new gates and Alaska’s flagship 15,800-square-foot Lounge. The new Lounge offers sweeping views of the Olympic and Cascade mountains, as well as downtown Seattle, and welcomes guests with a grand fireplace. At the bar, guests will find a dozen beers on tap, including the Lounge Life IPA from Seattle’s Fremont Brewing, created just for Alaska Lounges.

As phase 1 of the North Satellite Modernization Project prepares for its grand opening this week, a look back on the airport’s history shows how far Sea-Tac – and Alaska Airlines – have come together.

What we call Sea-Tac today was built in 1944 to support the region’s aviation build-up for World War II. Its name is a tale of two cities, Seattle and Tacoma, combined to represent the airport’s location smack dab between the two (not to mention some investment from the city of Tacoma). Before the airport was built, customers waited for their flight in a Quonset hut heated by a single potbellied stove.

A modern terminal opened in 1949. Northwest Airlines and United Airlines inaugurated the first scheduled service, with Alaska Airlines, Pan American Airways and Western Airlines soon after.

The North Satellite under construction in 1970. (Port of Seattle photo)

As traffic grew, so did the airport. The North Satellite addition opened in 1973, bringing expanded facilities and an ultra-modern people-mover train. Back then, no one had a smart phone and travelers satisfied their daily habit with Mr. Coffee makers at home — thus no need for Wi-Fi, plug-in power or espresso stands. At that time Sea-Tac’s traffic totaled 5.2 million passengers a year, and it was the only airport in the Lower 48 that Alaska Airlines served. (The airline also served 10 cities within the state of Alaska in the early 1970s.)

Fast forward: In 2018, 49.8 million passengers traveled through Sea-Tac — nearly half of them guests on Alaska flights — and Alaska Airlines now flies to more than 115 destinations across the nation, in Canada, Costa Rica and in Mexico.

Sea-Tac in 1981.

But with the exception of a few internal upgrades, the North Satellite was stuck in time for 45 years. In 2017, the Port of Seattle and Alaska embarked on the North Satellite Modernization Project — an unprecedented working arrangement between the port and Alaska — with the goal of creating a better experience for passengers.

After “pardoning our dust” for months, Alaska guests saw five new gates open in January. The second phase of the project will be fully underway at the end of July and will close all of the old North Satellite for renovation. By 2021, the North Satellite — where Alaska is the sole tenant — will hold a total of 20 new or newly renovated gates.

Here are a few things Alaska guests can look forward to as the North Satellite and the new Alaska Lounge opens Friday, July 12:

  • Bright and open spaces, with a gracefully curved roof that filters sunlight and allows for natural light
  • Fully-powered seats with outlets for each guest, and more robust Wi-Fi
  • New restaurants including Caffe D’arte, a local Italian coffee bistro; Skillet, beloved for its Seattle comfort food; and Bambuza, a Northwest family-owned Vietnamese kitchen
  • Rainwater collected to supply flushing water to the restrooms
  • 100 percent LED lighting and efficient heating and cooling

As Seattle’s hometown airline and airport, Alaska and Sea-Tac have really grown up together,” says Shane Jones, Alaska Airlines’ vice president for airport real estate and development. “The new and improved amenities in the North Satellite show how important it is to us to provide a modern, convenient and thoughtful experience for passengers flying in and out of our city.”


Alaska Airlines to add new sun routes and frequencies this winter

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-990 SSWL N315AS (msn 30019) SEA (Michael B. Ing). Image: 946849.

Alaska Airlines is increasing service to popular sun spots this winter with plenty of choices for nearly any vacation itinerary:

  • Increasing service to Florida with eight daily nonstop flights offered aboard Alaska’s Boeing 737-900ER aircraft featuring power at every seat, the Most Movies In The Sky, industry-leading comfort in premium cabins and award-winning service at every seat
    • Second daily flight between Seattle/Tacoma and Tampa starting December 19
    • Second daily flight between Seattle/Tacoma and Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood starting November 5
    • Second peak day flight between Portland and Orlando starting January 7, 2020
    • Third peak day flight between Seattle/Tacoma and Orlando starting January 7
  • Even more service to Hawaii with the introduction of a third daily flight between Seattle/Tacoma and Maui (starting November 21), in addition to a recently added third daily flight between Seattle/Tacoma and Honolulu
  • Further investing in our popular service to Palm Springs with 10 peak daily departures between the Pacific Northwest and Palm Springs this winter, including the addition of:
    • A third daily flight between Portland and Palm Springs starting January 7
    • A recently announced new daily flight between Everett (Paine Field) and Palm Springsstarting November 5
  • Expanding access between Seattle/Tacoma and Bozeman, Montana, starting January 7 with a fourth peak day flight to this popular ski destination. Alaska is the only airline to offer daily, year-round service between Seattle and Bozeman.

Top Copyright Photo: Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-990 SSWL N315AS (msn 30019) SEA (Michael B. Ing). Image: 946849.

Alaska Airlines aircraft slide show:

Air Italy adds 10 new destinations through agreement with Alaska Airlines

Air Italy has added 10 new destinations to its network through the signing of a Special Prorate Agreement with Alaska Airlines.

The new interline agreement starts the airlines’ partnership with 10 destinations across the US and Mexico: Anchorage, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Seattle, Portland, Palm Springs, San Diego, Newark, San Jose (CA) and Guadalajara (Mexico).

Air Italy passengers will now be able to connect to AS’s network at Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York (JFK) airports, which Air Italy serves directly from Milan Malpensa with its fleet of Airbus 330-200 aircraft offering 24 fully flatbed seats in Business Class and 228 seats in Economy Class.

The agreement builds on the launch of Air Italy’s nonstop flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco in April 2019 and to New York in 2018.

The new SPA agreement builds on the launch of Air Italy flights from California, Toronto, New York and Miami to Milan, all of which enable more customers across North America to experience the airline’s new product offerings and Italian hospitality.

All inbound Air Italy passengers can take advantage of seamless domestic connections between Milan and central and southern Italy, namely Rome, Naples, Palermo, Catania, Lamezia Terme, Cagliari and Olbia.

Alaska Airlines gets ‘animated’ with themed aircraft featuring artwork from Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story 4

Alaska Airlines made this announcement:

Ahead of the highly anticipated release of Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story 4 on June 21, Alaska Airlines unveiled a special-edition aircraft today. The Toy Story 4-themed aircraft (Boeing 737-800 N589AS), Alaska’s second livery to feature Pixar’s characters, is decked out with toys from the “Toy Story 4” world. The aircraft was revealed to a crowd of surprised guests at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport by Alaska’s own Chief Football Officer Russell Wilson.

Woody, Buzz Lightyear and Bo Peep span the fuselage while new toy Forky appears on the winglet, sparking smiles on guests peering out the windows of the aircraft. Guests boarding the Toy Story 4 aircraft will also see a logo.

The unique design is a collaboration between Disney and Pixar and Alaska Airlines. The Toy Story 4-themed 737-800, tail number N589AS, is now flying throughout Alaska’s route network. With a cruising speed of 530 mph and sporting larger-than-life images of the toys, the aircraft will visit fans throughout the country via transcontinental routes and flights to Hawai’i.

Guests on the aircraft’s inaugural flight were treated to a celebration at the gate and on board, where they were also presented with a complimentary one-month Cinemark Movie Club membership. The membership will allow recipients to see the film at any Cinemark location where Toy Story 4 is playing.

About Toy Story 4

Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) has always been confident about his place in the world, and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. So when Bonnie’s beloved new craft-project-turned-toy, Forky (voice of Tony Hale), declares himself as “trash” and not a toy, Woody takes it upon himself to show Forky why he should embrace being a toy. But when Bonnie takes the whole gang on her family’s road trip excursion, Woody ends up on an unexpected detour that includes a reunion with his long-lost friend Bo Peep (voice of Annie Potts). After years of being on her own, Bo’s adventurous spirit and life on the road belie her delicate porcelain exterior. As Woody and Bo realize they’re worlds apart when it comes to life as a toy, they soon come to find that’s the least of their worries. Directed by Josh Cooley (“Riley’s First Date?”), and produced by Mark Nielsen (associate producer “Inside Out”) and Jonas Rivera (“Inside Out,” “Up”), Disney and Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” ventures to U.S. theaters on June 21, 2019.

All photos by Alaska Airlines.


Alaska Airlines adds a new destination from Everett

Alaska Horizon (Horizon Air) Embraer ERJ 170-200LR (ERJ 175) N620QX (msn 17000640) PAE (Nick Dean). Image: 946631.

Alaska Airlines is adding a new route from Paine Field in Everett, WA. A new route from PAE to Palm Springs will be launched on November 5, 2019.

All Alaska flights at Paine Field are operated by Horizon Air with jet service using the Embraer 175 aircraft, which features a three-class cabin.

From Paine Field, guests can currently fly to eight destinations: Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Orange County, California; Phoenix; Portland, Oregon; San Diego; San Francisco; and San Jose, California.

Top Copyright Photo: Alaska Horizon (Horizon Air) Embraer ERJ 170-200LR (ERJ 175) N620QX (msn 17000640) PAE (Nick Dean). Image: 946631.

Alaska Horizon aircraft slide show:


The last Virgin America Airbus aircraft is repainted

"Frances", delivered on May 24, 2017, the last Virgin America aircraft to be repainted on June 2, 2019

Alaska Airlines formally merged its Virgin America acquisition into Alaska Airlines on April 25, 2018.

The last step in the retirement of the Virgin America brand was the repainting of the Airbus fleet.

The last piece of the puzzle was the repainting of the last Virgin America aircraft, Airbus A321neo, registered as N922VA at Victorville, CA.

Over the weekend it was repainted in Alaska’s livery. On June 2 it was ferried from Victorville back to the San Francisco base.

Today N922VA is flying from San Francisco to Boston. An era ends.

Top Copyright Photo: Virgin America Airbus A321-253N WL N922VA (msn 7639) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 940209.

Virgin America aircraft slide show:

Copper River salmon 2019: First fish are the stars on the red carpet in Seattle

From the Alaska Airlines Blog:

This week marks the official start of the 2019 Copper River king salmon season in Cordova, Alaska — and for many people, these salmon are the first sign that summer is on the way.

In celebration of the first catch, Alaska Airlines hosted a red carpet welcome for the Copper River salmon arriving Friday at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. About 18,000 pounds of fresh fish were on the early-morning flight.

The outlook for the season is good, with the forecast for Copper River kings up from past years, and the sockeye projections holding steady, according to Christa Hoover, executive director of the Copper River Marketing Association. “We hope to see 55,000 king salmon and close to 1.5 million sockeye return to the Copper River this season,” she says.


“Cordova is off the road system here in Alaska, and we rely heavily on the passenger and cargo services that Alaska Airlines provides year-round,” Hoover says. “For nearly a decade, Alaska Airlines has flown the first Copper River salmon of the season to Seattle and beyond. In just a matter of hours, Copper River salmon is transported from the fisherman to dinner tables across the country.”

“I am an Alaskan fisherman”: A spotlight on the people who catch your fish

For the fishermen of Cordova, this moment is what they’ve been waiting for all year.

Darin Gilman started fishing with his father, Shawn Gilman, when he was only 5 years old. Growing up and watching his dad instilled a sense of pride in Darin that led him to work alongside his father at the same fishery today.

“It’s been wonderful to watch my son and the next generation of fishermen come up,” says Shawn Gilman. “I hope that they can pass our traditions and our fishery on in as good of shape as my generation was able to do for them.”

While neither man would say it’s easy work — acting as their own boat mechanics, net menders and salmon trackers — the Gilmans and other Cordova fishermen are true artisans. And they take pride in Cordova’s sustainable fishing practices. “We make sure year after year to have enough fish go up the rivers so they’ll keep coming back,” Darin Gilman says.

The Honkola family and others fishing in Cordova are dedicated to the preservation of salmon and their ecosystem, recognizing that their work today impacts what others can enjoy in the future. “To be a fisherman, you have to be dedicated, patient, and most importantly, passionate about sustainability,” James Honkola says.

Reflecting on her decades-long career, Thea Thomas recalls making the decision to follow her dream to fish in Alaska — at a time when few women worked in the industry. The best advice she received came from her father, who told her: “The most important thing is figuring out what you want to do. Don’t worry about the money, just make sure this is really what you want to do.”

Thomas thinks about retirement, but can’t bring herself to do it. “I love Cordova,” she says. “I love what I do.”