Summer Plans: Alaska Airlines

Summer is upon us, although it doesn’t feel like it in Seattle. I have been home in Seattle for about two weeks and I still have not gotten used to the chilly weather! So far, my summer has consisted of watching a lot of Netflix and reading. It’s been nice to have a few weeks off from the hustle and bustle of school. However, I’m ready to get started with my summer internship (and not-so-ready to start my online, ERAU Worldwide International Business class)!

As I have mentioned before, I will be the Schedule Planning Intern at Alaska Airlines this summer. Being from Seattle, I have flown on Alaska all my life, since Seattle is their main hub. I have always loved the customer service that Alaska provides, as well as their company culture (and the signature cheese platters they offer in-flight)! Needless to say, I feel very blessed to be able to work as an intern for my hometown airline for the summer.

Alaska Airlines 737 at Sea-Tac Intl. Airport last summer

Of course, people have asked me what I am doing over the summer. When I told them I will be a Schedule Planning Intern for an airline, I discovered that many people who are unfamiliar with airlines’ corporate operations are not quite sure what schedule planning is…

A basic overview: schedule planning consists of creating the schedule that the airline will operate each day, over a few month’s time. For example, this summer the schedule planning group may be working on creating the schedule for the winter months. When creating the schedule, many different aspects of the operation are taken into consideration. Crew, maintenance, aircraft turnaround times, passenger loads, gate space, and optimal departure/arrival times are just some of the pieces that are factored into a schedule. Another major component of the schedule is which aircraft will be flying each route. Alaska Airlines’ mainline fleet is comprised of Boeing 737s. However, Horizon Air, the regional/sister airline for Alaska, operates Q400s. SkyWest also operates E175s for Alaska Airlines. The interesting part about schedule planning is that it is one big puzzle. In order to operate a profitable flight schedule, all of these factors need to be carefully considered.

What is especially exciting about working at Alaska Airlines this summer, is the recent news about Alaska Airlines and Virgin America coming together. I am excited to see how the two west coast airlines will begin to merge, and create the dominant airline of the west coast.

Alaska Airlines refreshed livery-last summer at Boeing Field before the delivery flight of this aircraft

Of course, an awesome feature of being an intern for an airline is the flight benefits. Alaska Airlines, like many other airlines, provides flight benefits to interns. I have not received the details yet, but I am excited to be able to start using those benefits once I start working. I have already looked at the destinations I am hoping to travel to this summer, so let’s hope some of them work out!

As you can tell, I am stoked to get started with this internship! I’ll be starting on May 31st, and will be sure to update you on how my first day goes.

Until next time,

Lindsey

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