Alaska Airlines Cancels Flights After Volcano Erupts

Alaska Airlines said Monday it has cancelled more flights because of a massive cloud of volcanic ash from Alaska’s Pavlof Volcano that spewed into the air.

The Seattle-based airliner said it has canceled 41 flights involving six Alaska cities until the airline can evaluate weather reports after daylight Tuesday. The cancellations include all flights to and from Fairbanks . . .

Pavlof Volcano, one of Alaska’s most active, is 625 miles southwest of Anchorage on the Alaska Peninsula.

The volcano erupted Sunday afternoon, and by Monday morning an ash cloud had stretched northeast more than 400 miles into interior Alaska.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the volcano, located erupted at 4:18 p.m. local time (8:18 p.m. ET). The agency said that the eruption also led to tremors on the ground. (Read more from “Alaska Airlines Cancels Flights After Volcano Erupts” HERE)

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Former Alaska Airlines Pilot Charged With Flying While Under the Influence of Alcohol

A former Alaska Airlines pilot was arrested Thursday and charged with piloting a passenger plane while under the influence of alcohol.

David Hans Arnston, 60, of Newport Beach, Calif., allegedly was found to have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.134 percent and 0.142 percent during two random drug and alcohol tests administered by his employer.

By federal law, a person operating a commercial airliner is presumed to be under the influence of alcohol when his or her blood alcohol content is 0.10 percent or higher.

According to a criminal complaint, the tests took place on June 20, 2014, after Arnston had piloted two flights. The first flight was from San Diego International Airport to Portland Oregon, then he flew to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif . . .

“Those in command of passenger jets, or any other form of public transportation, have an obligation to serve the public in the safest and most responsible way possible,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “We cannot and will not tolerate those who violate the trust of their passengers by endangering lives.” (Read more from “Former Alaska Airlines Pilot Charged With Flying While Under the Influence of Alcohol” HERE)

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Alaska Airlines Bans Trapped Worker From Handling Its Flights as 911 Call Released [+video]

PlaneA Seattle airport baggage handler who fell asleep in the cargo hold of an Alaska Airlines plane Monday has been banned from working on any of the carrier’s flights.

Alaska Airlines said in a statement late Thursday that the unidentified worker “has been permanently banned from ever working on any Alaska Airlines flights.”

The employee of Menzies Aviation, which contracts with airlines to handle baggage, told first responders he had taken a nap in the front cargo hold of the Los Angeles-bound flight. The plane was forced to return to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport 14 minutes into the flight after the pilot and passengers heard banging sounds coming from the front cargo hold.

Menzies officials said he had worked for the company for 18 months and was fortunate he was trapped in a part of the plane that was pressurized and temperature-controlled. The front cargo hold is often used to carry passengers’ pets. The company added that its policies were knowingly violated by the employee.

Also Thursday, 911 calls made by the worker in the early part of the flight were released, revealing his increasing desperation to get out of the hold. (Read more from “Alaska Airlines Bans Trapped Worker From Handling Its Flights as 911 Call Released [+video]” HERE)

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Alaska Air and Jet Blue Among Safest Airlines in the World; JetBlue adds Portland-Alaska Route

By Paul Ausick. Given the number of lives lost in 2014 due to airplane crashes, it may seem a bit cynical to review a report on airline safety. However, an airline safety rating website recently announced its list of the world’s safest airlines for 2015, and we noted that two U.S. carriers are among the safest carriers in the world.

The website listed both a top 10 and a low-cost top 10, made up from the staff’s review of the 449 airlines they monitor. The two U.S. carriers that made the top 10 list of low-cost carriers are Alaska Air Group Inc. (NYSE: ALK) and JetBlue Airways Corp. (NASDAQ: JBLU). Other global low-cost carriers on the list, in alphabetical order, include Aer Lingus, Icelandair, Jetstar,, Monarch Airlines, Thomas Cook, TUI Fly and Westjet.

Among the legacy carriers the top 10, in alphabetical order, were Air New Zealand, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Finnair, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines. The U.S. legacy carriers American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ: AAL), Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) and United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) all posted the highest possible score (7 of 7 possible stars). Four other U.S. carriers that do not fly foreign routes scored 5 of 5 possible stars: Allegiant Travel Co. (NASDAQ: ALGT), Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV), Spirit Airlines Inc. (NASDAQ: SAVE) and Frontier Airlines. (Read more about the safest airline in the world HERE)

JetBlue Adds Anchorage Route

By Ben Mutzabaugh. JetBlue will increase its presence in Portland, adding a fourth nonstop route from the Oregon airport.

The route will be seasonal offering to Anchorage. JetBlue will begin offering daily nonstop service on the route on June 18. The 3-½ hour flights, to be operated on Airbus A320 jets, will run through Sept. 8.

JetBlue will compete head-to-head on the route with Alaska Airlines, which already flies the route. Alaska Airlines operates its second-busiest base at Portland.

Anchorage will become JetBlue’s fourth destination from Portland International (PDX). JetBlue also flies nonstop from PDX to its hubs at Boston and New York JFK as well as to Long Beach, Calif., which is a focus city for the carrier. (Read more from this story HERE)

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Dear Soldier On An Alaskan Airlines Flight From Washington, D.C. to Seattle

Photo Credit: REUTERSI’m sorry.

Early on Feb. 9, in the cold, black and blue hours of a winter Sunday, I said nothing.

I first saw you in your camouflage fatigues patiently waiting in the airport security line.

I spotted you later shuffling around the gate with a wide smile on your face waiting to board the six-hour, non-stop flight from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to Seattle-Tacoma International.

I watched a hurried woman stop and thank you for your service. You were so kind, so gracious, so humble.

Still, I said nothing.

Read more from this story HERE.

Fukushima? Strange Flu Hitting Pilots, Attendants at Alaska Airlines (+video)

Photo Credit: Free Patriot

Photo Credit: Free Patriot

A strange illness has been attacking flight attendants and pilots employed by Alaska Airlines. On December 23 and 24th, twenty four flights were cancelled due to a lack of personnel. Bobbie Egan, spokesman for Alaska Airlines, stated a “very unusual” cold and flu season hit the airline’s Pacific Northwest hub, and the entire region was affected.” The outage affected 270 passengers.

While the airline is calling it a flu, there is some speculation that the story is a cover for something else. There is a mysterious flu hitting the southeast and Texas, but there didn’t seem to be a “companion” statement from the Center for Disease Control that often follows the diagnosis of that flu. It would seem that if the Alaska Airlines flight crews were struck with the mysterious flu of the Southeast, the CDC would have issued a statement as they have in other instances.

What could be going on? This has certainly been an odd year for Alaska Airlines flight crews!

Read more from this story HERE.

Alaska’s Baggage, Change Fees Go Up Oct. 30

Photo Credit: Alan Berner/The Seattle TimesYou’ll soon pay more to check a bag or change a flight on Alaska Airlines .

For tickets purchased on or after Oct. 30, the fee for checking a suitcase will increase to $25 for each of the first two bags (up from $20 per bag) and $75 for the third bag (currently $25). However, elite-level frequent fliers still get free checked bags.

Read more from this story HERE.

Alaska Air Group Reports Record Third Quarter 2013 Results

Photo Credit: Kiskadee 3Alaska Air Group, Inc., (NYSE: ALK) today reported third quarter 2013 GAAP net income of $289 million, or $4.08 per diluted share, compared to $163 million, or $2.27 per diluted share in the third quarter of 2012. Excluding the impact of mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments of $20 million ($12 million after tax, or $0.17 per diluted share), and a one-time special revenue item of $192 million ($120 million after tax, or $1.70 per diluted share) that primarily resulted from the application of new accounting rules associated with the modified affinity card agreement, the company reported record adjusted net income of $157 million, or $2.21 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $150 million, or $2.09 per diluted share, in 2012.

“These results represent our best quarter ever and mark Alaska’s 18th consecutive quarterly profit,” Alaska Air Group CEO Brad Tilden said. “This is noteworthy given significant additional competition in some of our core markets. The balance and strength of our network combined with the ability of our people to respond quickly to changing business conditions are enabling us to succeed in this highly competitive industry.”

The following table reconciles the company’s reported GAAP net income and earnings per diluted share (EPS) during the third quarters of 2013 and 2012 to adjusted amounts:

Read more from this story HERE.

10 Killed in Alaska Air Taxi Fire (+video)

All 10 people aboard an air taxi were killed when it crashed and burst into flames at a small airport on southern Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, authorities said.

The single-engine de Havilland DHC-3 Otter “struck the runway and burned” around 11:20 a.m. Sunday at the Soldotna Airport, about 60 miles southwest of Anchorage, the Federal Aviation Administration said, citing local law enforcement officials.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the aircraft was taking off or landing at the time, the FAA said. By the time firefighters and medics arrived, the aircraft was engulfed, Soldotna police said.

“There were 10 souls on the aircraft and all perished,” said Capt. Lesley Quelland with the Central Emergency Services, which serves the Soldotna area.

The flight was supposed to take passengers to Bear Mountain Lodge off Alaska’s Chinitna Bay, about 80 miles southwest of Soldotna, the lodge’s co-owner, Mac McGahan, told CNN on Monday.

Read more from this story HERE.

Shoelaces Used to Restrain Unruly Airline Passenger on Alaska Air

Photo Credit: InSapphoWeTrustA passenger on a commercial flight from Alaska to Oregon was arrested Monday after he reportedly tried to open the emergency exit door while the plane was preparing to land.

Passengers and crew aboard the Alaska Airlines flight from Anchorage to Portland told authorities that 23-year-old Alexander Michael Herrera made “unusual statements” before trying to open the exit door, FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele said.

Mr. Herrera set off an alarm by pulling the door handle. “I put him in a choke hold and brought him down to the ground,” witness Henry Pignataro told KGW-TV.

Read more from this story HERE.