Even if you’re not an avgeek, you’ll love holiday shopping at the Alaska Airlines company store
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In July 2020, the Seattle-based carrier opened a gleaming new 6-story office building called “The Hub” across from its corporate headquarters with an open-to-the-public company store (and a Starbucks) on the first floor. But because the pandemic was just taking hold when The Hub opened, there’s been barely any publicity about the store and, thus, few non-employee shoppers.
This holiday season should be much different. More people are traveling, and word is spreading about the unique logo and branded gear on the shop’s shelves for Alaska Airlines and its sister regional carrier, Horizon Air.
“This is the best of the best for company swag. says Karen McAvinew, Manager of Retail Operations for Alaska Airlines. She says the shop is a short drive, or a manageable 1-mile walk, from SEA airport and offers a view of the Alaska Airlines hangar and a peek-a-boo view of the 780-foot aerial walkway at SEA that is the longest arial walkway over an existing taxiway.
While most of the glassware, apparel, accessories, and gift items in the store can also be found in the airline’s online shop, we discovered plenty of in-store bonuses during our pre-Thanksgiving shopping excursion alongside several pilots who had stopped in before their flights.
The shop stocks – and displays on a wall – model airplanes in various scales of almost every current Alaska and Horizon livery flying, including the More to Love livery that celebrated the joining of Alaska Airlines and Virgin America, the Salmon Thirty Salmon depicting, yup, a salmon, the “Honoring Those Who Have Served” plane and livery celebrating “Captain Marvel,” “Toy Story,” Disney, and other promotions and partnerships. Prices range from about $30 to well over $100 and we spotted some models in the shop that show as sold-out online. Models of Alaska Airlines’ new Pride plane and one celebrating Seattle’s new professional ice hockey team, the Seattle Kraken, should land soon.
Be sure to look up. Hanging from the shop is a display of many collectible airplane models that have been discontinued.
Drinkware and Votives
McAvinew says that in addition to t-shirts and other branded clothing, Alaska Airlines’ drinkware is a top seller, including everything from shot glasses, tumblers, coffee mugs, and wine glasses to all manner of water bottles. Two branded hand-blown candle votives (“Dream” and “Cabo”) by Seattle’s Glassybaby, which donates part of its proceeds to non-profits, are available online and in the shop. This year there’s a special edition in-store-only Glassbaby votive ($78) as well.
Gifts for kids and pets
What avgeek could resist dressing their baby in Alaska Airlines’ onesies or teeny socks adorned with airplanes? In addition to child and teen-sized t-shirts and hoodies, the kids’ section in the shop has toys, Alaska Airlines’ plush huskies, Lego-like construction kits, and more. We couldn’t resist the kid-sized sunglasses ($6) that have a pilot cap plastic panel up above.
New to the line-up this year are Alaska-branded gifts for pets, including bandanas and bowls that say “copilot” and dog bone-shaped mats.
More ways to shop for avgeeks
You’ll find some of the items from the Alaska Airlines Company Store for sale at Planewear, a swag-filled aviation-themed shop in the Central Terminal at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The DFW Employee Store (open to all) by Gate C2 in Terminal C at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport is also an avgeek shopping delight.
Featured photo by Harriet Baskas.
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