Apolo Ohno taking a photo of his image on an Alaska Airline's Boeing 737...how surreal

Apolo Ohno taking a photo of his image on an Alaska Airline's Boeing 737...how surreal. Photo by me.

Back in March I blogged how you could win a trip to Hawaii for five days with Apolo Ohno on Alaska Airlines. Well, Alaska received almost 30,000 entries (one was mine) and four lucky people were selected (none of those were me, but I did get to be there…bonus). I always wonder, “does anyone ever win these things?” and sure enough they do.

Yesterday morning I got up at about 3:45am to head down to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to meet the lucky winners and of course Apolo Ohno. You know Mr. Ohno right? He is the most decorated American Winter Olympic athlete of all time and he is also a cool dude. For some, being that talented has a way of going to someone’s head, but not for Ohno. He was more than happy to take photos with fans.

I spoke with one of the winners and his guest; Kevin LaChapelle and his new fianc Whittnee Chen. Even though they have known each other for years, Kevin just proposed and Whittnee said yes. What better way to celebrate than a free trip to Hawaii, with Apolo?

Apolo after he arrived in Maui. Photo by Alaska Airlines

Apolo after he arrived in Maui. Photo by Alaska Airlines

Kevin told me he almost missed winning this trip. He saw the email and sent it to his spam folder. He then remembered signing up for the contest and took a second look. He had won!  Kevin said if Whittnee didn’t say yes to his proposal, he had many friends saying they would take her slot to Hawaii.

I was also able to interview Apolo on video about his thoughts on having his image on an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737. Well, long story short, I lost the video. Lame. It was really good too. Anyhow he told me it was very surreal. He explained how much he loves Alaska Airlines and is so happy they sponsored him. The silver lining of all this, I was Tweeting my frustrations on losing the video and Apolo responded over Twitter he would like to re-do it. Now, that is awesome!

Their special flight took off from Seattle at about 8:30am yesterday and arrived in Maui in the afternoon. When they arrived, they were greeted by the Lt Governor of Hawaii, James R. “Duke” Aiona Jr, the Maui Mayor Charmain Tavares and the Maui Surf Groms.

The groms are a group of young surfers who are looking to make surfing an official Olympic sport. The group helps disadvantage kids fly around the Hawaiian islands to compete and they were all very excited to meet Ohno.

It was fun to watch them all leave, but I wish I was going with them. Oh well, at least I can blog about it.

Check out all my photos (and a few from Alaska Airlines) of yesterday’s events – including a shot of the luggage processing area at SEA.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: david@airlinereporter.com

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