Updated June 2018
Alaska Airlines is the fifth-largest U.S. airline based on passenger traffic and is one of the most popular U.S. West Coast air carriers. Headquartered in Seattle, Alaska Airlines carries more passengers between the state of Alaska and the Lower 48 than any other airline. The airline has expanded significantly to serve several U.S. East Coast and southern cities including Nashville, Tennessee; Charleston, South Carolina and Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina. The airline has also expanded internationally, with nonstop service from Los Angeles to Costa Rica and Mexico City.
Long known for its Alaskan roots, symbolized by the Eskimo painted on the tail of the aircraft, Alaska Airlines offers a friendly and relaxed style of service, one that passengers have come to appreciate as the "Alaska Spirit." The airline also is known for embracing innovative technology to improve the customer experience.
Alaska is the leading U.S. airline on the 2017 Dow Jones Sustainability Index, and has also been ranked No. 1 in fuel efficiency seven consecutive years by the International Council on Clean Transportation, an independent, nonprofit research organization.
Since it started auditing its recycling efforts in 2010, Alaska Airlines has reduced passenger waste to landfill by 54 percent, essentially cutting waste in half. In the last eight years, flight attendants captured 12,000 tons of recyclable materials, about the same weight of 244 Boeing 737-900ERs. All these efforts support Alaska Airlines’ goal to reduce inflight waste per passenger going to landfills by 70 percent by 2020.
The carrier traces its roots back to 1932, when Linious "Mac" McGee of McGee Airways started flying his three-seat Stinson between Anchorage and Bristol Bay, Alaska. A merger with Star Air Service in 1934 created the largest airline in Alaska, which eventually became Alaska Airlines.
Alaska Airlines, Virgin America and Horizon Air, are owned by Alaska Air Group. In December 2016, Virgin America was acquired by Alaska Airlines to create the West Coast’s go-to airline. The two airlines were granted a single operating certificate by the FAA in January 2018.