Alaska Airlines

Travel Tidbits: smuggled finches, Iceland adventures, middle seats, and more

There does indeed seem to be an uptick in travel and travel news. Here’s some of what we spotted today.

Delta Air Lines will stop blocking middle seat starting May 1. They were last US airline still blocking middle seats.

Delta also announced on Tuesday that it is extending the expiration date on travel credits and bringing snacks back starting April 14. Passengers flying Delta One or First Class on select domestic coast-to-coast flights will see hot food options return in early June. First Class customers on some other U.S. routes will be served boxed meals beginning in early July.

Alaska Airlines now part of oneworld airline alliance

As of March 31 Alaska Airlines becomes the newest member of the oneworld airline alliance. That means that “as a Mileage Plan member, you can earn Alaska miles on all 14 member airlines when you fly to as many as 1,000 destinations in more than 170 countries and territories,” the airline said in a statement.

The new membership also means the benefit enjoyed by Alaska’s elite flyers will be honored on other member airlines.

“You’re an MVP Gold? Without doing a thing, you now also have Sapphire tier status in oneworld (75K fliers are Emerald and MVPs are Ruby in the alliance),” the airline notes, and, “Depending on your tier status, oneworld travel priveleges include priority check-in, access to more than 650 international first and business class lounges, preferred boarding, fast track through security, priority baggage benefits and more.”

Hair Rollers harbor finches

People try to smuggle things – foods, animals, drugs, etc – through airports all the time. U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently spotted a guy who was trying to 29 finches in these hair rollers.

Iceland is hot right now

If Iceland wasn’t high on your travel list before now, the volcanic eruption going on now should be grabbing your attention. Another reason to make plans to head that way: this package offer from Icelandair available to book through April 13 for travel from 10 US cities. Along with roundtrip airfare and three nights hotel, with breakfast, vaccinated travelers get a visit to the new Sky Lagoon, a Northern Lights Board Tour and a one-day pass for the Hop On Hop Off city sightseeing bus.

Travel Tidbits: chocolate, aviation history, bonus miles for rides

Alaska Airlines + Seattle Chocolate: good match

We nibbled our way through the research for a story you’ll find on the Runway Way Girl Network about how Seattle Chocolate and Alaska Airlines worked together to develop an exclusive chocolate bar flavor for upper tier flyers as an in-flight perk. And how that bar is now available to the rest of us. Take a look.

An aviation site reboot

If you like aviation history and anything related to airlines, airplanes or airports then, like me, you’ll enjoy visiting the rebooted website called The Airchive, which I profiled for The Points Guy site. Take a look at that story here.

Bonus miles for vaccine access rides

Getting an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccination is hard enough. But many people also have a hard time getting to and from the vaccination centers. So it is nice to see Delta Air Lines offering some bonus miles as a reward for those who donate cash to make rides available. Details that offer here.

Travel Tidbits for future flights

Courtesy UW Digital Collections

Going skiing? Save your Alaska Airlines boarding pass

If you’ve checked the rules and restrictions and feel safe flying to a ski resort this season, keep in mind that you may be able to ski for free once you arrive.

As it does each winter, Alaska Airlines is once again partnering with a variety of ski resorts to offer free ski passes on the day of arrival to travelers who show their boarding passes and IDs. Offers and deals will vary, of course, but there are offers for ski resorts in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and Washington.

Deals with the My Emirates Pass too

Emirates is resuming many of its flights to and through its Dubai hub and just announced it will resume non-stop service to Seattle starting February 1 and to Dallas and San Francisco, starting March 2.

Flights to/from San Francisco will operate four times weekly on Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ER. Flights to/from Seattle will operate four times weekly and flights to/from Dallas will operate three times weekly.

Emirates also announced a refreshed My Emirate Pass, which offers a wide variety of discounts and deals for travelers who show their boarding pass in over 450 restaurants, leisure destinations, and retail outlets across the UAE.

Will airlines bring back more free stuff?

The Alaska Airlines ski pass and My Emirate Pass programs have been offered before but, given the times, we’re especially glad to see they’re back.

Which makes us wonder: as airlines try to win back travelers, might we see more bonus items offered with our tickets?

Alaska Airlines to give emotional support animals the boot

Back on the leash

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has ruled that airlines no longer have to make the same accommodations for emotional support animals as they do for trained service dogs.

So it was just a matter of time before airlines starting to change their policies.

And now the changes have begun.

“This regulatory change is welcome news,” said Ray Prentice, director of customer advocacy at Alaska Airlines, in a statement. “It will help us reduce disturbances on board while continuing to accommodate our guests traveling with qualified service animals,”

Alaska Airlines is the first to take action. Starting January 11, 2021, the airline will only allow trained service dogs to travel for free in the cabin.

Under the revised policy, Alaska will only accept two service dogs per guest in the cabin, including psychiatric service dogs. Anyone flying with service dogs will have to complete a DOT form attesting that their animal is a legitimate service dog, is trained and vaccinated, and will behave during the flight.

Emotional support animals, whether they be pigs, monkeys, hamsters, lizards, or miniature horses, will no longer be allowed in the cabin.

Pets, including dogs, cats, rabbits, and household birds, can still fly, but they must be ticketed, at $100 each way. And passengers who bring pets onboard must keep them in a carrier, which counts towards the carry-on bag allotment.

So no more emotional support animals taking up a seat or a tray table. Or getting under you feet.

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More holiday cheer – and dances – from airports and airlines

If we were traveling around this month, we’d certainly be spending a lot of time in airport gift shops buying Christmas chocolates and other treats.

Some of that chocolate would even make it home and into nicely-wrapped gift boxes.

Instead, we’re home and keeping an eye on what airports and airlines are doing to be festive and still keep us safe during an unusual travel season.

SFO Airport is charming us with lights, music, and dancing

We love the giant light switch in this holiday message from SFO and we’re ordering one installed in our home office.

We also love this ‘put your mask on’ music video starring and produced by some incredibly talented people who work at SFO airport.

SFO’s mask video is a good pairing with the safety dance video Alaska Airlines put together that we featured here yesterday. That video also stars in-house talent.

Wreath-decorating contest at O’Hare Airport

It looks like they had so much fun with the pumpkin decorating contest at Halloween that now 13 shops at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport are competing in a wreath-decorating contest.

The public is invited to weigh in on which is best.

Voting is open through December 25, 2020.

O’Hare Airport also has some great themed holiday trees.

More to come..