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I got a behind-the-scenes look at Alaska's brand new 'Star Wars' plane

May 04, 2022
5 min read
I got a behind-the-scenes look at Alaska's brand new 'Star Wars' plane
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Editor's Note

TPG's Clint Henderson took a free flight to Santa Ana, California, to attend a preview event for the new Alaska Airlines livery. The opinions expressed below are his and weren't subject to review by Alaska or Disney.

May the fourth be with you.

Alaska unveiled a new "Star Wars"-themed plane Wednesday in Seattle for a special charter flight to Disneyland, just in time for May 4. The date is increasingly being used to celebrate all things "Star Wars." In fact, all day on Alaska flights, customers wearing "Star Wars" clothing or costumes get priority boarding.

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(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

The plane is sleek, with a black fuselage with "Star Wars Galaxy's Edge | Disneyland Resort" written on the side. Alaska branding remains in its traditional spot in front of the wings in white. The Boeing 737-800 plane with registration number N538AS has been with Alaska for some time ... nine years to be exact.

"The new plane is beyond cool," said popular Disney influencer Michael (he doesn't share his last name). He runs the Instagram account MichaelDoesDiz and attended the inaugural. He told me he loved being on the brand-new "Star Wars"-decorated plane, "I think it's so awesome to be able to see some of my favorite stories brought to life."

The Alaska Airlines “Star Wars Transport to the Disneyland Resort” aircraft flew us from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) to Orange County’s John Wayne Airport (SNA), which the airline calls "a gateway to Disneyland."

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

"The transport to Star Wars is a great representation of our collaboration with Disneyland Resorts. We've been partnering with them for more than 20 years," Natalie Bowman, managing director of marketing and advertising at Alaska Airlines, told TPG. "It's just great to introduce a new world to our guests."

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

Bowman told assembled guests, "We are so excited to enter this aircraft into our fleet." She said the plane took over 500 hours to paint, and called it "one of the most detailed aircraft out there."

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(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

"We are so excited to celebrate this longtime collaboration," said Lynn Clark, vice president of sales and services for Disneyland Resort, who closed her comments by saying, "May the force be with you all."

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

The airline went all-out for the launch of the new livery. A special boarding area was decorated to resemble the entrance of a spaceship.

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

There were several "Star Wars"-themed backdrops for guests (and some fun Alaska employees) to take pictures in front of.

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

There was even an R2-D2 on hand to take pictures with guests.

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

Of course, the real star of the show was the jet. Alaska confirmed to me that it is the carrier's first "Star Wars"-themed plane, even though it's had a long collaboration with Disney.

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

Inside the plane, there were lots of gifts for guests.

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

There were some good souvenirs for "Star Wars" fanatics, including special Mickey Mouse ears at each seat. Guests had two options: BB-8 ears or ones decorated like Chewbacca. There was also a Mickey Mouse rice crispy treat dipped in chocolate, as well as Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge badges.

Additionally, super cute porgs could be found throughout the plane and at each seat.

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

Alaska flies multiple times a day between Seattle and Santa Ana mostly with Airbus A320 jets.

The airline has a lot of competition with several carriers at the airport. John Wayne Airport has been on a bit of a growth spurt despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Southwest Airlines is the largest carrier at the airport, with American Airlines and United Airlines close behind. However, the airport is also served by Allegiant, Delta, Frontier and others. American Airlines even offers transcontinental service to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) featuring the specially configured premium-heavy A321T.

Related: Is the new Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser ‘hotel’ really worth it?

It's always fun to see a plane get its new livery unveiled, and this was no exception. It's actually my second "Star Wars" plane. I happened upon a United plane decked out in "Star Wars" livery (since removed) last year, but this one is really over the top.

If you want to try to find the plane to book your own "Star Wars" adventure, call Alaska and tell them the plane registration number is N538AS. You can find where it's going next by using flight-tracking website Flightradar24.

Featured image by (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

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  • Annual Fee

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  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.