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Alaska Airlines offering a first look at the Great American Eclipse

(The 2016 total solar eclipse as seen from Alaska Airlines flight 870; courtesy Alaska Airlines)

If you’re determined to see this summer’s “Great American Eclipse” on August 21, there may be no better place to be than on a special Alaska Airlines charter flight that will give passengers an early – and unique view – of the eclipse.

Alaska’s special eclipse flight will leave Portland, Oregon at 7:30 a.m, and fly off the coast of Oregon to let passengers be among the first to get a glimpse of the eclipse.

Because weather is the largest variable when it comes to eclipse-viewing, and the Pacific Northwest is more prone to overcast skies than most other parts of the country, going up in an airplane above the potential weather or cloud cover, will be an ideal way to see this event.

“As an airline, we are in a unique position to provide a one-of-a-kind experience for astronomy enthusiasts,” said Sangita Woerner, Alaska’s vice president of marketing “Flying high above the Pacific Ocean will not only provide one of the first views, but also one of the best.”

Interested? Who isn’t?

But here’s the catch.

Alaska’s special eclipse flight is invitation-only flight. But the Seattle-based carrier is going to give one lucky fan and a guest a chance to win a seat on the flight with a contest that starts July 21 on Alaska’s social media channels.

We’re setting our clocks for the eclipse – and for the contest details – so stay tuned.

And for those of who haven’t been following the news about the “The Great American Eclipse” – here’s the story:

It’s going to be the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in United States history since 1918 and will be most view-able first from above the Pacific Ocean before appearing in Oregon and following a diagonal path across the country to South Carolina.

Learn more at GreatAmericanEclipse.com.

An Uber ride with a Brussels Airport worker

The Uber driver taking us from Brussels central train station to our hotel was on duty  Wednesday only because he couldn’t go to his regular job out at the airport.  President Donald Trump was scheduled to land in Air Force one at Brussels Airport on his way to attend a NATO summit meeting and the driver said his airline had canceled flights for the day.

I asked him if he had been working at the airport the day of the terrorist attacks last March.  He had. And had lost a friend who was working the ticket counters that day. It took him six months and a lot of therapy to get back to work, he said, and he knows many passengers are still choosing not to travel to through Brussels.

I didn’t ask him if the Manchester terrorist attack was giving him new nightmares, but as we drove through town, past clusters of police and armored vehicles in the streets in advance of Trump’s visit, he said he couldn’t wait till this visit was over.

 

Alaska Airlines to start flying from “new” Seattle area airport

 

 

Here’s one way Alaska Airlines is dealing with the fact that Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is reaching capacity: the carrier is going to begin operating some flights out of a ‘new’ airport in the region: Paine Field – Snohomish County Airport, which is the right next to Boeing’s giant assembly plant in Everett.

While Boeing’s newly -completed aircraft and private jets use Paine Field, it currently has no commercial service.

Over the years, there has been plenty of debate about using Paine Field for this purpose, though, because it is located about 20 miles north of Seattle and about 40 miles north of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.  Being able to catch a flight from there would allow travelers living north of Seattle to skip what has become terrible traffic that sometimes makes getting to the airport take longer than a regional flight.

Subject to government approvals, Alaska has announced that starting in the fall of 2018 it will begin offering up to nine daily flights out of the airport.

“We’re not quite ready to share details of the routes,” says John Kirby, Alaska’s vice president of capacity planning on the airline’s blog, “But I can tell you they won’t be limited to short, regional flights. We’re talking daily, nonstop flights to some of our most popular destinations.”

Construction of a “state of the art terminal” is slated to begin in June and Alaska said it will announce routes, flight schedules and begin selling tickets early next year.