The Alaska Airlines Merger: All You Need to Know

This spring, Virgin Airlines and Alaska Airlines announced that the two companies would be merging. This made big news – Virgin Airlines has been one of America’s most trusted and popular companies for decades. What would happen when the two airlines joined? What could travelers expect? And how could this affect our Alaska car rentals clients?

Particularly in recent decades, company mergers are a common occurrence – not always to the benefit of employees, companies, and clientele. But the merger between Alaska Air Group and Virgin America does seem promising, offering expanded opportunities to both airlines’ clients. Furthermore, this has the opportunity to increase traffic flow between Alaska, the Lower 48, and other parts of the world.

Increased opportunities

Thus far, the largest benefit that clients are raving about is that the merging of these two airlines will allow for an increased route plan. Both airlines have limited flights to restricted sections of America. However, when the two airlines officially merge, there will be as many as 1,200 flights out of the airline per day with many more destination options on offer.

Most importantly, many of these new flight options will be nonstop. If you’ve traveled through these airlines you’ll know that transfers and layovers are a very real possibility. With the merger, the airlines are attempting to reduce the number of stops that travelers must endure on their journey.

Not only will this merger connect more Americans with other parts of America, it will also bolster opportunities with international partners. Both airlines are dedicated to expanding their client base, while maintaining the same customer service for their long-term loyal customers. We, for one, are excited to meet new Alaska car rentals clients from all over the globe thanks to this merger!

Membership programs

One of the largest concerns about the merger has been the outcome of both airlines’ mileage and loyalty plans. Until the transaction officially closes, these mileage plans will remain distinct and separate, allowing travelers to use them as they always have. Once the transaction is complete, the mileage and loyalty programs of the two airlines will merge, and Virgin American loyalty customers will be able to use their award miles in the new program.

The new loyalty program continues the commitment to rewarding great customers. It relies on outstanding customer service, and will continue to offer destinations around the world – now as many as 900.

Blending the top 2 – a Super Airline

The idea behind the merger is to blend two of America’s top airlines in order to create an enhanced, super airline of sorts. Consistently, Alaska Airlines and Virgin America are ranked at top in flight service, top for customer satisfaction, and best employers of the major airlines in the United States. In buying Virgin America, Alaska Airlines decided to expand upon both airlines’ skillset and combine the two in order to create the best of both worlds. Together, the airlines will be able to improve on what needs improving, learn from each other, and elevate what is already positive in both companies.

Will this affect our Alaska car rentals clients?

Here at Avis Alaska car rentals, we truly believe that this merger can only be advantageous many of our clients. It will offer you many more opportunities to reap rewards from your airline, and offer you more convenience flights in and out of Alaska to a wider variety of destinations. Alaska remains a major hub for this airline, alongside San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Portland, which provide greater traffic flow and popular paths between these major American cities.

For more information about the merger from Virgin American, go here. If you’re a regular Alaska Airlines flyer, click here to find out about the merger directly from the company as well as details on how it may affect you. Both airlines have said that their clients will not be directly affected by the merging membership plan, and will only experience positive outcomes.

One thing that will always stay the same – Avis Alaska and our commitment to high quality Alaska car rentals matched with supreme customer service. Reserve your vehicle with us today.

What You Need to Know Before Moving Alaska

Are you considering moving to Alaska? We can tell you right now, that Alaska is a top-notch place to live. Whether we’re lifelong Alaskans or new to town, we’re proud to say that Alaska’s quality of life is higher than any other state in the Lower 48. So if you’re here scouting the state in your Alaska car rental, there are some things you’ll want to know before making any final decisions.

Get finances in order

While it’s true that the satisfaction of Alaskan residents is much higher than that of other states, the economy is Alaska is also much different. Cost of living is considerably elevated in comparison to other states. Everything – fuel, groceries, goods, equipment – is more expensive in Alaska than it would be in Ohio, for instance. You’re likely to notice this even just by traveling around in your Alaska car rental.

That being said, the economy didn’t crash with the rest of the states. Jobs are always available to those who want them, and wage is much higher to match the heightened cost of living. The state quite literally will pay you a permanent fund dividend (PFD) for every person in your household once you have lived in Alaska for more than 12 calendar months. This is to encourage a larger population in a generally low-populated state, and to help assist residents with the inflated cost of living.

If you’re already visiting in your Alaska car rental, you may also know that the flights in and out of Alaska are pricey. Alaska can be isolated, and if you have family outside of the state trips to visit for the holidays are going to be hefty.

The best of both

Many Alaskans are proud to admit that Alaska is almost like a country and culture entirely its own – separate from the Lower 48 in mentality, hobbies, environment, and history. You’ll be able to find modern cities snuggled alongside sweeping landscapes and omnipresent wilderness. It’s not uncommon to see wild life roam the cities. Most of the moose are friendly and human-tamed, but keep your distance to be safe!

Because of this, Alaskans have adjusted their lifestyle around the environment of the state. Fishing, hiking, water sports, winter sports, and hunting are hobbies that everyone in Alaska enjoys. Residents and visitors alike bond through festivals and competitions that focus on these activities, and you’ll find yourself welcomed in if you take part. You will quickly discover this if you take your Alaska car rental around the state in the summer.

Your daylight hours will change

Daylight is a bizarre concept in Alaska. In the deep winter months, daylight only comes to visit for 5 hours a day at most. Even then, daylight is never full – it remains partially dark and dim, even at noon and the sun never full rises in the sky.

During the summer months, daylight is your only companion. At 1 a.m. you will still find a dim, dusky light in the sky that looks closer to dawn than the darkest hours of the night. For anyone who has experienced this for a short period of time, you’ll know that these arctic daylight hours can take some getting used to. If you need extreme dark to sleep, you’ll want to invest in black out curtains before you make your big move.

Strong family community

Because Alaska is so isolated, the people in this state know how to build a strong community and to adapt. They understand function over fashion in their clothing (if it isn’t good for the outdoors, it isn’t good for an Alaskan), and keep their loved ones close – but are always willing to welcome newcomers into the fold. Dogs are everywhere in the city, trotting beside their humans with wagging tails. Many Alaskans can make anything out of anything, and know how to survive with minimal daylight in the largest snowfalls. There’s no doubt that in Alaska, you’ll learn a new kind of living that will become almost addictive.

Once you’ve reserved your Alaska car rental from Avis, we’d be happy to offer you tips on scouting the state for a possible move. Once the move is complete, we can then help you find the perfect permanent vehicle to travel the state.

Hiking Anchorage’s Chester Creek Trail

Hiking in Alaska is a top sport. If you’re visiting Alaska, then you would be seriously missing out if you didn’t check out at least a few trails before you leave. You don’t even need to take your Alaska SUV rental the metropolis of Anchorage – Chester Creek Trail is just outside of this city and is a gorgeous hike for both beginners and experts.

What to bring on the hike

Since you’re likely just going on a day hike, you don’t need to bring any more than you’d bring to any other day trip. A few snacks, a light sweater, and a large bottle of water will be plenty.

However, you may also want to bring a camera and a picnic blanket. This scenic trail is absolutely spectacular; more than one hiker has stopped for a relaxing picnic and a photo-op. Pack a basket will all of your favorite goodies to enhance the quality of your hike.

How long is the hike?

Chester Creek Trail is great for beginners, though experts still enjoy this easy stroll for its immense beauty. The walk runs only 4 miles and loops around from Westchester Lagoon to Goose Lake.

Terrain of Chester Creek

You certainly won’t need to worry about wearing intense hiking shoes for this trail. The terrain is flat, with a paved guided path. No directional skills? No problem here. Just follow the path and you’ll be find your way just fine. This is because technically the Chester Creek Trail is still within city limits, so there’s parking for your Alaska SUV rental.

Certainly, Chester Creek Trail isn’t exactly a dip into the wilderness. You’ll see the outskirts of Anchorage suburbs and neighborhoods, as well as plenty of spaces to stop and let the kids play. There are sports fields and picnic spots (where that blanket and loaded basket will come in handy!), and playgrounds to help wear out your kids’ extra energy before they have to get back in the Alaska SUV rental.

Be prepared to move out of the way for cyclists and joggers. This is a popular exercise trail for locals, because of the smooth path and beautiful surroundings, as well as its proximity to the city center.

Wild life in Chester Creek

Don’t expect to see the same kinds of scenes that can be found in other landscapes and hiking trails across Alaska, but that doesn’t mean Chester Creek isn’t beautiful in its own right. You may even catch a few wildlife sightings! Songbirds are common along the trails, ready to provide you with a soundtrack for your hike. Bird lovers will certainly want to bring along their bird whistle and book. They’ll have a great time spotting and naming birds along the 4 mile route.

Moose aren’t as common, but there is still a possibility that you’ll see one or two. Have the camera ready!

For a more challenging trip

If you want to roam off of the Chester Creek Trail to get a bit more of a challenge without having to get back into your Alaska SUV rental, take off down Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. This trail is nearly 3 times the length of Chester Creek, at 11 miles in total, and intersects with Chester Creek. It goes along a semi-urban route (like Chester Creek) to Kincaid Chalet. Here again you’ll find cyclists, runners, and rollerbladers enjoying the warm summer weather.

On the Tony Knowles Trail, you’re much more likely to see moose as you dig deeper into nature. You’ll also catch a variety of other wild sights, like beluga whales off the coastline. This trail remains suitable for beginners with a bit more stamina, and continues to have a relatively flat terrain.

Alaska is a world of wonders that is waiting to be explored. Reserve your Alaska SUV rental from Avis today to set out on a hiking tour of the state.