Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2015: 290,939
2014: 363,407
Total: 1,212,540






Alaska Airlines Plane Pull for Strong Against Cancer

The 737-800, ready to be pulled

The 737-800, ready to be pulled

Earlier this week, I was invited by Alaska Airlines to watch the Alaska Plane Pull for Strong Against Cancer at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. The two competing teams were led by Russell Wilson, quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks and Alaska’s “Chief Football Officer,” and actor and comedian Joel McHale, who grew up on Mercer Island (right outside of Seattle) and is known for his role in the series “Community” and as host of E!’s “The Soup.”

Each celebrity captain had 18 team members, comprised of employees from Alaska’s maintenance and engineering departments, as well as members of the community who were the lucky winners of Alaska’s Facebook contest.

Who could pull a 92,000-pound 737-800 25 feet in the least amount of time? I was there to find out!

Continue reading Alaska Airlines Plane Pull for Strong Against Cancer

Doing My Thing: Flying to Washington DC for His Excellency and Fusion Chinese Food

One day I'll have the guts to ask for a photo with him. I may be his biggest fan. Photo  - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

One day I’ll have the guts to ask for a photo with him, as I may be his biggest fan – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Look, I love His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways. If he’s doing an event and I’m free, I’ll go see him. Thing is, usually someone else is paying when he’s involved. I am not saying that derisively or sarcastically. Most of the time when I see him, Qatar Airways has provided me with the tickets out of their extreme generosity.

One time it was Airbus and Qatar Airways in a joint venture, and it is hard to say no to that. Can’t appreciate it enough, but that said, a sedate press conference across the country isn’t exactly what Qatar Airways gathers people for on their dime. Even more so when most of the press contingent is based in DC anyway.

Alaska Airlines first Boeing 737-900ER (N402AS) is seen at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Image from Alaska Airlines.

Alaska Airlines 737-900ER at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport – Photo: Alaska

So, being the odd person that I am, I needed to find another reason to go to DC along with the press conference to justify the expense. I didn’t need to qualify for my AAdvantage account, since I  already had nearly double-Executive Platinum planned for the year. There are times when all this goes out the window and one doesn’t need to really find an excuse to fly somewhere. But I just felt like I needed a second reason and I found it.

I am a huge fan of celebrity chef and Hannibal menu designer José Andreas. I’ve eaten at é, multiple Jaleos, Minibar, and, best of all, China Poblano. When I found out that José’s next restaurant was China Chilcano in DC…boom — reason established.

Continue reading Doing My Thing: Flying to Washington DC for His Excellency and Fusion Chinese Food

Sixth-Annual Copper River Salmon Hootenanny with Alaska Airlines

Welcoming a 53lb Copper River salmon to Seattle

Welcoming a 53lb Copper River salmon to Seattle

In what town do people get up before 4:00am to greet some fish? In the land of the flying fish, of course!

This was the sixth year in a row that I woke up earlier than I probably should to greet my breakfast, which was flying in on an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-400 Combi. Why? Well, it is a special (aka delicious) kind of breakfast; some Copper River salmon.

Also, I  enjoy the fun event that Alaska Airlines puts on each year to celebrate the official start to the salmon season.

The Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-400 Combi (reg N762AS) arrives to SEA

The Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-400 Combi (reg N762AS) arrives to SEA

Why are these salmon different? Well, they like to travel — about 300 miles from the ocean to their spawning grounds and that type of journey requires lots of energy (aka fat). That fat gives the fish its special flavor for which many people are willing to pay a premium.

Continue reading Sixth-Annual Copper River Salmon Hootenanny with Alaska Airlines

Flying VIP: Having Half a Alaska 737 to Myself

An Alaska Airlines' Boeing 737-700 landing at LAX - Photo: Daniel Betts | Flickr CC

An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-700 landing at LAX – Photo: Daniel Betts | Flickr CC

On the way back from my recent trip to the UK, I was scheduled to have barely a two-hour layover at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). That’s a pretty tight connection to clear immigration and customs, then change terminals, so I was expecting my newly-acquired Global Entry membership to save the day.

Yes, Global Entry was extremely convenient, but what I thought would be a story about how I made my connection with moments to spare did not turn out that way. Turns out that the fact I ended up on a flight, arriving to Seattle at 1:52 am, with only one other passenger, made my experience much more interesting.

Here’s how it happened.

Continue reading Flying VIP: Having Half a Alaska 737 to Myself

Going Above & Beyond: Taking a Flight to Nowhere to Check out Alaska Airlines’ Passenger Product

It's not every day that you see any sort of 737 in the Museum of Flight parking lot. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

It’s not every day that you see any sort of 737 in the Museum of Flight parking lot – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Over the past few years, Alaska Airlines has been making gradual enhancements to its overall product. New seats from Recaro, in-seat power, Wi-Fi from Gogo, Starbucks coffee, and tablet-based in-flight entertainment (IFE). These improvements have all come together to create a product Alaska is calling Alaska Beyond. The most noticeable addition to their product is improving upon their dining options.

To complete the Alaska Beyond project (the last few aircraft will be reconfigured by the end of April), Alaska decided to have a party. Now, that’d be great on its own, but they made it even more impressive by taking a 737-990ER (N462AS, if you wondered) out of service for a day, and gave a two-hour demonstration of the product in flight. Who was to attend? Well, media, stakeholders in the Alaska Beyond product (including Tom Douglas, three-time James Beard award-winning chef), and Alaska’s 0.01% top-tier frequent flyers.

Woodinville Winery, Chateau Ste. Michelle has formed a new partnership with Alaska Airlines. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Seattle-area winery Chateau Ste. Michelle has formed a new partnership with Alaska Airlines – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Inside the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field, Alaska got the party started with wine from their newest partner, Chateau Ste. Michelle, along with Beecher’s cheese.

After enjoying the ground party, we were ready to head into the sky. We began to head back to the parking lot (yes, the parking lot) to embark on our flight.

Continue reading Going Above & Beyond: Taking a Flight to Nowhere to Check out Alaska Airlines’ Passenger Product