Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines flies first commercial flight with new biofuel made from forest residuals


Alaska Airlines made history today flying the world’s first commercial flight using a new sustainable alternative jet fuel made from forest residuals from the Pacific Northwest – the limbs, stumps and branches that are left over after a timber harvest or forest thinning of managed forests on private land.

The flight departed this morning from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., powered by a 20 percent blend of the new, sustainable biofuel sourced directly from the Pacific Northwest.

The fuel for today’s flight was produced by the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA), led Washington State University. NARA is a five-year initiative that unites 32 member organizations from the academia, aviation, private industry, and the government, that came together under a USDA grant to demonstrate the viability of producing alternative jet fuel from forest residuals.

While traditional forest practices leave some of the harvest materials behind to replenish soil nutrients and provide cover, the excess forest biomass is usually is piled and burned. The biofuel used in this flight was made from excess forest residuals collected from both sustainably managed forests owned by Weyerhaeuser (OR), the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe (WA), and the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes (MT), as well as rejected wood fibers from Cosmo Specialty Fibers (WA). Using forest residuals for biofuel feedstock is exciting because it does not compete with food production; air pollution is cut by reducing slash pile burning; removal of residuals prepares the forest floor for replanting; and the new industry of woody biomass collection and conversion helps create jobs in rural economies. Also, forest residuals are abundant and can be sustainably supplied from private lands.

Sustainable alternative jet fuels reduce greenhouse gas emission by 50-80 percent over the lifecycle of the fuel- from growth of the feedstock, transportation to a processing facility and production. The actual emission reduction depends on the type of feedstock used. Today’s flight will emit approximately 70 percent less CO2 than conventional petroleum jet, a win for the environment and Alaska Airlines alike.

Alaska Airlines flew two more flights in June using a blend of biofuel produced from the non-edible portion of sustainable corn.

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#SJCRobots – Introducing Silicon Valley Airport’s New Customer Service Agents

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Mineta San Jose International (SJC) is transforming how Silicon Valley travels with the unveiling today of #SJCRobots, the airport’s new customer service agents.

Named Norma, Amelia, and Piper, they are the first robots to be deployed at a U.S. airport, and are engaging and entertaining travelers while assisting them with locating dining, shopping, and other services.

“Our #SJCRobots offer travelers who are arriving and departing through Silicon Valley’s airport with an iconic experience reflecting our region’s unique culture of innovation,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. “This is also another example of how we’re partnering with the private sector through our Smart City Vision to demonstrate new technologies that can help shape the way we live, work, play, and travel.”

Director of Aviation Kim Becker joined with other City and private sector representatives, including Sachin Jain, policy advisor for Mayor Liccardo’s Smart City Vision team, to introduce and demonstrate the robots’ capabilities to the SJC community.

”We are proud to be the first-to-market among U.S. airports, and to join other world-class airports in Asia, Canada, and Europe, to offer robots as we re-imagine the customer experience,” said Becker. “SJC is accomplishing its mission – to connect, serve, and inspire – with an innovative approach to customer service for our local travelers and global visitors through our successful partnership with our concessionaires, Future Robot, and 22 Miles.”

Stationed on geo-fence mats and located at Gates 11, 21 and 25, the robots are immediately engaging to travelers with their avatar-friendly faces as they audibly introduce themselves by their names: Norma, Amelia, and Piper. They assist, engage, and entertain further by:

– Offering in-terminal dining, shopping, and other Airport services information on a 32-inch touch screen tablet operating on Microsoft Windows software
– Providing a You Are Here interactive map and directory
– Displaying information in six languages – English, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish – allowing travelers to choose their preference, and
– Dancing, playing music, and taking photos that can be sent to travelers’ email accounts or displayed on the robots’ faces.

The #SJCRobots are made possible through the innovative Airport team and their  partners:

– Airport concessionaires – Hudson News Group, Pacific Gateway Concessions and HMSHost, which paid for the $120,000 robot program through the concessions marketing fund – Future Robot, the robot designer and manufacturer based in South Korea, and – 22 Miles, located in Silicon Valley (City of Milpitas), which programmed the robots to engage tech-savvy SJC travelers.

Norma, Amelia, and Piper are aptly named for these aviation pioneers:
– Norman Y. Mineta, former San Jose mayor, congressman and U.S. Secretary of both Transportation and Commerce, and SJC’s namesake – Amelia M. Earhart, American author and the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and – William T. Piper, a U.S. airplane manufacturer and founding president of the Piper Aircraft Corporation.

The robots are an addition to SJC’s customer programs and strengthen the services offered by engaging, entertaining, and assisting travelers. 

SJC joins other airports across the globe, including Narita in Tokyo, Edmonton in Alberta, and Schiphol in Amsterdam, which also offer robot customer service agents in their terminals.

About Mineta San José International Airport
Mineta San José International Airport Silicon Valley’s airport, a self-supporting enterprise owned and operated by the City of San José.  SJC serves more than 10 million passengers annually, with 173 peak daily departures on 14 domestic and international carriers to 40 nonstop destinations.

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Delta Premium

Delta Adds Premium Economy Cabin

Delta Premium

Newest cabin experience offers more space, elevated service and thoughtful amenities on Delta’s longest flights.

Delta Premium, the latest cabin experience from Delta Air Lines, will debut on select international flights in late 2017. Through additional space, elevated service and distinguished amenities provided by partnerships with brands focused on design and quality, Delta is bringing the ‘premium’ back to the premium economy experience.                                                                                                                         

In 2014, Delta began introducing differentiated experiences for customers through a well-defined range of options, allowing customers to tailor travel to their specific needs. Delta One, First Class, Delta Premium and Delta Comfort+ offer enhanced experiences, while Main Cabin and Basic Economy service offer value options. All cabin experiences offer a high level of service and Delta’s unmatched operational reliability.

Delta Premium will feature:

More space with up to 38 inches of pitch, up to 19 inches of width and up to seven inches of recline. Delta Premium seats will also offer adjustable leg rests and head rests;

Westin Heavenly® In-Flight Blanket with pillow and a TUMI amenity kit featuring Malin+Goetz Travel Essentials, allowing customers to settle in and arrive well-rested;

Pre-departure beverage service followed by fresh, seasonal menu selections presented with Alessi serviceware designed exclusively for Delta;

A 13.3-inch, high resolution in-flight entertainment screen that is among the largest in its class, allowing customers to stay entertained with Delta Studio’s industry-leading library of complimentary movies, shows and games, and noise-cancelling headphones;

In-seat power ports for large and small devices and convenient storage to keep them within reach;

Sky Priority service, which includes faster check-in, accelerated security, priority boarding and expedited baggage service.

“Delta Premium is Delta’s latest example of paying careful attention to what customers tell us they want and responding with unique products designed to meet their individual needs,” said Tim Mapes, Delta’s Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer.

Delta Premium will be available beginning in fall 2017.


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BA Partners With Iconic British Brand Liberty London For First Class Amenity Kit


Top British brand Liberty London has created an exclusive range of washbags for customers flying in First with British Airways. The sleek, slim and stylish washbags feature a contemporary look using a range of carefully chosen prints from Liberty London’s vast textiles archive, updated for today’s modern traveller.

The new Liberty London First washbags appear on board from January 7, 2017. Throughout the year further print designs will be added to the collection, giving British Airways customers the opportunity to enjoy even more of Liberty London’s iconic style.

Troy Warfield, British Airways’ director of customer experience, said:

“Liberty London is an iconic British brand so it’s fantastic to work in partnership with them to offer our customers flying in First the very best and most eye-catching washbags in the sky. “We’re sure that the washbag’s contemporary design, featuring some of Liberty London’s most beautiful prints, will make them highly sought after and a collector’s item in their own right. “They perfectly compliment British Airway’s stylishly understated First cabin to enhance the travelling experience for our First customers.”

James Millar, Liberty London’s design director, said:

“We are thrilled to partner with British Airways on this exciting project! We wanted to create a product with longevity that customers can enjoy time and time again, and that showcases Liberty London’s expertise with print and colour.”

The women’s washbag features ‘Christelle’, an eye-catching oriental inspired floral print, and comes complete with a convenient wristlet. The men’s washbag features a black embossed textured exterior, with ‘Felix Raison’ paisley motif printed lining.  

Prints for both the men and women’s Liberty London washbags were chosen to reflect British Airways’ own colour scheme and contain a range of carefully chosen skincare and well-being products provided by Aromatherapy Associates, respectively. Initially the new Liberty London wash bags will be introduced on British Airways’ A380 Heathrow to Los Angeles red carpet route and then they will be offered to customers flying in First on the rest of the airline’s worldwide network.

Customers flying in First with British Airways can enjoy dedicated check-in desks and Fast Track access to a network of exclusive luxurious lounges around the world – including the prestigious Concorde Room in London’s Terminal 5 and New York’s Terminal 7 – to relax, dine and drink fine wines and champagnes before their flight.

Once on board they have their own private, spacious suite, with a fully flat bed, complete with mattress and a crisp white cotton duvet to sleep during their flight. Or they can unwind watching thousands of hours of the latest movies and TV shows thanks to British Airways High Life Entertainment on widescreen TVs, and enjoy delicious five star in-flight dinning served by attentive cabin crew at 35,000 feet.



Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines honor the brave men and women of the armed forces and their families.

Alaska Airlines

By offering complimentary travel to veterans on Honor Flights, priority boarding for active duty military and donations to numerous non-profit military organizations, Alaska Airlines has long been a proud supporter of the United States military. Alaska has now unveiled its largest (and heaviest) honor to date – a Boeing 737-900ER with a customized paint job to honor the brave men and women of the armed forces and their families.

The livery is part of a new initiative called “Alaska Airlines Salutes,” which combines the many employee-led efforts to support and honor those who serve. The design features an Alaska Airlines Salutes medallion and a fallen soldier badge, with the Battlefield Cross to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The plane also features five rings surrounding the engine, representative of the five branches of the United States military, and American flag winglets.

The process of creating a military-themed livery began more than two years ago when Alaska Airlines line aircraft technicians Kevin Kruse, Brett Megran and Brian Bowden decided to pitch the idea to Alaska Airlines executives.

The three technicians are part of a group of employees who created Alaska’s Fallen Solider program in 2011. The program ensures that the remains of fallen soldiers are transported to their final resting place in a respectful and dignified manner and includes customized baggage carts that the group has delivered to six of Alaska’s largest airports.

“We were sitting around one night in Portland, brainstorming other ideas to support the military,” Megran said. “At that point we had the Fallen Soldier cart, we had the Fallen Soldier belt loader in Seattle, so we thought, ‘why not have an airplane too?’”

“With Alaska Airlines’ history of having outstanding and unique liveries, we knew that we could come up with one that would proudly honor our United States military,” said Kruse.

After their pitch meeting with the entire executive team, Kruse, Megran and Bowden were prepared to answer several questions. However, when their presentation was over, Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden and other company leaders were immediately supportive.

“Leaders at Alaska empower us to take action. That’s really what the ‘Alaska Spirit’ means to me – we’re empowered to have dreams. For Brian, Kevin and me, this airplane is a dream, more than four years in the making, that has finally become a reality that we can share with the world,” said Megran. “It’s going to have such an effect on so many people’s lives. They’ll see the airplane and know that Alaska cares about them.”


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AA had unexpected landing in the remote town of Cold Bay, Alaska and a village pulls together to care for customers and get a Dreamliner flying again


It all began on the morning of Oct. 12, 2016, when American Airlines flight 288 departed Shanghai for Chicago (ORD). Once in the air, the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner encountered a unexpected mechanical issue and Check Airman and Capt. Mike Forte and Capt. Marty Reedy began guiding the plane toward an unexpected landing in the remote town of Cold Bay, Alaska.

Once safely on the ground, each workgroup had an immediate task ensuring customers would be comfortable, fed, sheltered and rebooked. Flight attendants offered a third meal service on the ground, while American’s Integrated Operations Center coordinated with the Corporate Security department to help customers off the plane.

Crews knew nothing would be easy working from a former World War II base in a town where residents are measured in dozens. In fact, American’s 100 customers and 14 ORD-based crewmembers more than doubled Cold Bay’s population. In heavy rain and darkness, supplies were limited and connectivity was almost nonexistent.

The U.S. Coast Guard opened its heated hangar, and, despite having minimal equipment, the pilots helped unload luggage along with an American Customer Care manager traveling on his personal time. Even the Cold Bay Airport Volunteer Fire Department got in on the act, graciously providing a ladder used when personnel needed to evaluate the aircraft.

That evening, American coordinated with its codeshare partner Alaska Airlines to fly a spare B737 to Cold Bay. That aircraft brought customers to Anchorage, where they had a sit-down dinner and a place to sleep thanks to the hard work of so many of American’s behind-the-scenes teams.

Three of the four pilots stayed with the B787 in Cold Bay to fly it home. Tech Ops team members who had flown in from Seattle worked through the night, and despite minimal sleep and food, still found time to interact with some curious locals. A chef named Gunny, airport manager Hap (short for Happy), local pilot Chris and fueler Mike from Frosty Fuels were among those who made sure American team members were cared for in tough circumstances.

On the afternoon of Oct. 13, customers departed Anchorage on an American flight to ORD. When they arrived, they were greeted by more than a dozen Customer Service agents and offered food, including Chicago’s own Garrett Popcorn, to show thanks for their patience. Misconnecting customers were provided hotels.

You might say it took a village to get our colleagues, customers and aircraft back where they needed to be. In the end, everyone pulled together to get customers to their destinations and the plane back in service in just 48 hours.