As you know, I am currently on internship with Alaska Airlines for the summer. Most airlines give their interns flight benefits for the summer, and thankfully, Alaska Airlines is one of those airlines! So, of course, I am going to take advantage of the benefits.
When you are blessed with flight benefits, there is a specific way in which you go about actually getting on a flight. These procedures vary from airline to airline, but are normally pretty similar. You list for your flight, which indicates to the gate agents that you would like a seat on the plane. Then, you frantically check the flights throughout the day to make sure there are still seats open, hope no one with more non-rev status than you shows up for the flight, and pray that no one buys a ticket last minute (you can imagine how stressful it can get). You are called a “non-rev”, short for non-revenue passenger. This means, you are flying standby, and not paying for your seat on the flight. Flying standby is an art form. It requires you to be very knowledgeable about the flight schedules, hubs, and weight restrictions on different routes. It is not acceptable to miss work on Monday because you were non-reving and got stranded somewhere. Therefore, you have to get creative. Which is why it is sometimes referred to as the non-rev adventure or non-rev challenge.
For my first non-rev trip, I decided to play it safe. I definitely didn’t want to get stranded my first time. So, I decided to take a day trip up to Juneau, Alaska. Since Alaska Airlines was born in Alaska, and is a vital resource for so many people up there, I thought it would be a good idea to understand the Alaskan culture. There are quite a few trips up to Juneau from Seattle during a weekend, so I knew I would definitely be able to make it back in time for work on Monday.
Alaska Airlines also gives companion passes to interns, so I got to take my mom to Juneau with me. We woke up early Saturday morning and caught the 7:00 AM flight to Juneau. I was ecstatic when I found out we were going to be flying on a Combi! I had heard that the flight up to Juneau was supposed to be beautiful, because you fly over the mountains and along the river, but it was cloudy when we went.
Once we arrived in Juneau, which is a tiny little airport, we took a taxi up to the Mendenhall Glacier. It was absolutely beautiful! It sits between two hills, and flows down into the lake below. There was also a big waterfall off to the right of it. We walked the trails around the glacier for about an hour, and then decided to head into town. We ended up having to walk 1.5 miles down the hill to the bus stop, where we could catch the bus to downtown. The bus ride took about an hour just to go a few miles, since there were so many stops, but it was cool because we got to see some areas we otherwise wouldn’t have.
Once we got to town, we walked around all of the shops. We were surprised by the large crowds, but later realized it was because there were four cruise ships there. You could easily tell that the town lives off of tourism, because all of the shops were selling tourist items. For lunch, we went to a famous crab shack on the water. I had shrimp bisque and my mom had the crab cakes. They were to die for! After looking in all of the shops, it was almost dinner time, so we went to a food truck selling fish tacos. Once again, they were wonderful! I loved the fresh fish that were in them. After dinner, we took a taxi back to the airport, where we would catch our evening flight back to Seattle.
It was an amazing day trip, and a successful non-rev adventure. I would definitely recommend everyone go to Alaska at least once, whether it’s for a day or an entire vacation. It really is a whole different way of living. Each city has something special to offer, whether it’s whale watching, glaciers, hiking, fishing, or just a unique atmosphere. If you do decide to go up to the great state of Alaska, I also recommend flying on Alaska Airlines (I might be a little bit biased)!
Until next time,