Alaska Airlines launches contest to 'test drive' a 737

Alaska Airlines is celebrating its latest order of Boeing 737-900ER aircraft by launching a contest to ‘test-drive' a 737.

Five grand prize winners in Alaska’s (NYSE:ALK) “Keys to the Sky” contest will get two round-trip tickets anywhere Alaska flies from Seattle and keys to one of the company's flight simulators at its Seattle flight operations center, good for a 30-minute ride with an Alaska instructor pilot.

Alaska 737 on approach to SEA
The contest, which begins at 6 a.m. Pacific time on Friday, Oct. 10, will take the form of a scavenger hunt clues in which participants will follow clues put out over the airline’s Facebook, Instragram or Twitter presences. Clues will lead to five Seattle-area locations. The first person to arrive at each location and reference the hashtag #SeattlesAirline will win a grand prize. The runner up at each location will be invited to take a ride on a delivery flight aboard one of Alaska's new Boeing 737-900ERs in 2015.

Full contest rules, terms and conditions can be found on the Alaska Airlines blog. Fellow pilots, be advised, however. "This is a for-fun contest only!" an Alaska spokesperson told TheTravelPro. The instructor pilot will not be signing off any dual instruction or simulator time in the winners' log books.

The announcement of the contest coincided with the announcement that the airline had ordered 10 additional 737-900ERs, bringing Alaska's total Boeing jets on order to 74. Airline officials said the order represents a significant investment in the long-term success of Alaska Airlines, and supports one of the largest employers in the region.

"Buying locally built airplanes is a point of pride for us," Brad Tilden, Alaska Airlines' president and CEO, said in a statement announcing the purchase. "These new planes will allow us to serve our customers even better with improved in-cabin experience, including our new leather Recaro seats with added leg room, power outlets at every seat and larger overhead bins."

The new planes will allow for network growth and will further enhance the fleet’s fuel efficiency by replacing less efficient 737-400 aircraft with new 737-900ER. The 737-900ERs can carry 25 percent more passengers while using the same amount of fuel.

Both versions of the aircraft are configured with First and Economy Class cabins. The new 737-900ERs will have an additional row of recliner seats in First Class, bringing the total to 16 compared to 12 in the 737-400. The Economy cabin will accommodate 165 passengers, compared to 132 on the 737-400.

Significantly, passenger space will remain the same, with First Class passengers enjoying seats that are 21 inches wide, with pitch of 36 inches. Economy Class seats will continue to be 17 inches wide – among the narrowest in the industry – with pitch of 32 inches, according to

The airline has created a two-minute promotional video showcasing its newest 737-900ERs being built at Boeing's Renton, Wash., assembly plant.

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Photo by Carl Dombek
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