Alaska Airlines continues to introduce new measures to keep both passengers and employees safe. I flew on Alaska last week for the first time since the pandemic began. I can say that the airline is being proactive in introducing and evaluating new measures to keep everyone safe.
The focus of this round of safety enhancements is to reduce the number of physical “touches” that passengers need to make from bag drop and boarding to the in-flight experience. I noticed last week that like other airlines, Alaska has reduced onboard food and beverage service. The new level of service uses disposable cups and plates – nothing during the onboard service gets reused.
Pre-order meals & store payment for touch-free purchase in the air
Now available in First Class on select flights over 2 hours—and coming soon to Premium Class and Main Cabin—guests can pre-order meals on flights (that have them) beforehand using the Alaska app or at alaskaair.com. You can also store your payment preference using your Alaska Airlines account so when it comes time to pay for your meal in the air, you can do so touch-free.
Currently, food & beverage service is still limited to reduce the interactions between our flight crews and guests. So your foodie favorites may not be there but hopefully will be back soon! Here’s what we’re currently offering on board. Alcoholic beverages are still not being catered for either first class or economy.
- First Class: Signature Fruit and Cheese Platters on flights over 2 hours and a variety of beverages including beer and wine from our West Coast partners.
- Premium Class: Small snack and a variety of beverages including beer and wine from our West Coast partners.
- Main Cabin: Small snack and variety of soft drinks or bottled water. To reduce the use of plastic water bottles, we encourage our guests to #FillBeforeYouFly.
Here is what Alaska offers on flights over 350 miles:
Print bag tags without touching the check-in kiosk
Soon, you will be able to print your bag tags by simply scanning your boarding pass (mobile or printed at home) at one of our kiosks. Here’s how it works: Once you pay for your baggage fee(s) using the Alaska mobile app or online, you can simply walk up to our kiosk at the airport, scan your boarding pass and your tags will be printed from the kiosk where you can safely grab the tag from the machine to place it onto your bag(s). You can also print your bag tags from home if that’s easier or ask one of our agents for assistance.
Once you’ve placed your tag on your bag(s), you can safely drop off your baggage to one of our agents, while maintaining a physical distance.
Scan boarding passes from a distance
Currently, gate agents are able to scan guests’ boarding passes using a mobile tablet or scanner while boarding. To help create more distance between guests, we’re providing our agents with the ability to scan a boarding pass from six feet away—if the conditions are just right. To scan from that far away, the boarding area will need to have good lighting and the barcodes need to be printed clearly. While we can’t achieve this laser-focus every time, our agents are working hard to “mind their wingspan” and taking every measure to keep our guests safe.
Get a text or email instead of paper
Coming soon to an airport near you will be a messaging tool that our customer service agents will use—to avoid printing & handling boarding passes or receipts—that is capable of sending you a text message that includes all of your travel information with a link to your boarding pass, gate and seat assignment.
Agents can also email any receipts, such as bag fees, if needed.
The Alaska app is also a great tool to book and manage your flight activity. It is available for Apple IOS and Android.
More steps to help keep you safe
Alaska Airlines is also employing the following precautions to help keep you safe:
- Requiring guests and employees wear a cloth mask or face covering at all times when at the airport or onboard Alaska aircraft. Flyers must also complete a health agreement at check-in to acknowledge and attest to their willingness to adhere to the mask requirement.
- Make EO Essential Oils alcohol-based, relaxing French lavender-scented sanitizing wipes available to guests during beverage service on all Alaska and Horizon Air flights.
- Enhanced cleanings of our planes in between every flight.
- Hospital-grade HEPA air filters on every aircraft; an air filtration system that circulates fresh, outside air into the cabin every three minutes.
- Limited onboard service to reduce interactions.
- Hand-sanitizer stations throughout the journey and more.
I have to admit it – I missed my three-course transcon dinner along with my Woodford Reserve on the rocks. Being safe during the pandemic is more important and will be the new normal until a vaccine is available. Alaska Airlines continues to lead and innovate to do what they can to keep passengers and employees safe. For now, it is the fruit and cheese plate with a Coke for me.