Alaska Airlines surprised their employees last week with the unveiling of the company's first ever Pride Plane. The Plane is decked out with the slogan “Fly with Pride” written across the side of an Airbus A320, with brightly colored silhouettes of planes and stripes on the main body and engines. The design choice, says Alaska Airlines via Twitter, is “iconic rainbow stripes & inclusive colors such as brown, black, light blue, white & pink to represent BIPOC & Transgender communities. Without those groups of people & their activism, we would not have Pride today.”
The day started with Alaska Airlines chief operating officer, Constance von Muehlen, speaking about her identity as a lesbian, “it has also made me courageous as a leader, more empathetic as a leader, more vulnerable as a leader, more transparent as a leader. Because that’s what I became as a person as a result of my identity. So I’m grateful for that. And I am grateful for all of you and I am grateful for Alaska Airlines, for allowing me to be who I am, because together we do amazing things.”
Her emotional speech was followed by the raising of the Progress Pride flag at Alaska Airline’s office building in Sea-Tac.
The new Pride livery was revealed at the airport and the plane took part in a Pride “Parade in the Sky,” starting in Seattle, with stops in Portland, San Francisco, and San Diego — flying select employees, community partners, and special guests.
At each stop, there were cheers for disembarking guests, a DJ, and party at the gate for boarding guests. In San Francisco vogue dancers encouraged guests to partake in striking a pose. The celebration continued onboard the flight where there were rainbow fans, cookies, and wine.
Between San Francisco and San Diego, guests were treated to a fan clacking lesson with their rainbow “Fly With Pride” fans. Clack. Clack. Clack! The whole plane reverberated with clacking fans and laugher.
The cabin lighting transitioned between all the rainbow colors to help set the mood. Everyone was having a great time. Even the handful of guests who initially didn’t know they would be part of the Pride flight quickly joined in and embraced the celebration (even those who struggled with the fan clacks). All the passengers onboard the Pride flights were surprised with a free flight to anywhere Alaska Airlines flies!
Alaska Airlines has been a longtime supporter of the LGBTQ+ community and has stood against hate and intolerance. The company has sponsored and participated in Pride parades and events in Anchorage, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, San Diego, and Honolulu. In addition, they are proud partners of the Human Rights Campaign , Lambda Legal, Greater Seattle Business Association and many grassroots organizations throughout the year.
The airline will be celebrating Pride beyond Pride Month with the Pride plane flying throughout the airline’s network all year long. So look up and you may see a little rainbow flying proudly across the sky!
Out Traveler contributor Barry Hoy is a Canadian transplanted to New York City, who writes about travel, food, and lifestyle and showcases great destinations, local experiences, and all of the must-see (#bucketlist) places around the world. If he’s not traveling, he’s already planning his next trip. Follow his adventures via Instagram @asianmapleleaf or on his travel blog at asianmapleleaf.com