On Friday morning, a Field Gulls reader named Graham was greeted at Sea-Tac by a surprise party pop-up from Alaska Airlines featuring a flight to Pittsburgh inside of a soaring Russell Wilson. The following is the email sent from Graham to me:
Passengers flying on Alaska flight 333 from Seattle to Pittsburgh in the early hours of this Blue Friday were treated to a surprise promotional party, complete with a DJ, photo booth, and a game of cornhole. (Like celebrity deaths, classic narrative tropes, and dual-threat quarterbacks, everything came in threes.)
You may have realized that Alaska Airlines has partnered with Russell Wilson for years now, offering priority boarding for anyone sporting a Wilson jersey. Today’s flight offered a little more: everyone with an Alaska mileage plan on this flight 333 earned 3x the mileage, and had the priceless privilege of flying to Pittsburgh in a newly unveiled 737 decked out with a “Russ wrap”.
Many, if not most passengers, were clad in Seahawks apparel, but a sizable minority sported Steelers black and yellow. The DJ — B Two Times — spun mashups with heavy bass that was a little jarring for the pre-dawn crowd at first. At 6:20 am, the resident mic’d up hype man gave a quick intro and the promise of Russell Wilson swag giveaways, with the dubious claim that the tchotchke was “better than morning coffee, folks!”
Our MC plugged the Alaska mileage program before launching into his first round of Russell Wilson/Alaska Airlines trivia, doling out promotional swag for correct answers and “good” wrong answers alike.
Is Russell Wilson Alaska’s Chief Financial Officer? (No, he’s the Chief Football Officer)
What kind of plane is this? (A Boeing 737-900 ER)
How many miles is the flight from SEA to PIT? (2,119) (Same as the year Tom Brady retires)
How many hours did it take to deck out the plane with Russell Wilson decor? (200)
By 6:45, gate C9 was percolating with adequate energy levels. Strangers played Giant Jenga. An extra-enthusiastic dude in the WSU polo did a touchdown dance. A Steelers fan with the same name as Russ and Ciara’s daughter (Sienna) got some Hawks swag that she declared she would give to her mom.
The main takeaway? All season, one flight departing Seattle for away games will host a similar “Threemium” surprise Seahawks experience. It sounds like they won’t be announced ahead of time, but if you’re after some fruit, muffins, and a little party music, I’d bet on morning departures on Blue Fridays and flight numbers with at least one #3.
As passengers lined up to board the plane, B Two Times spun Macklemore, Ciara, and “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire while I played some corn hole with the photo booth attendant, Melissa. I am personally traveling for an impending road trip through the South, but as the line of 12s disappeared down the passenger boarding bridge, the FOMO was very real.
SeaTac @alaskaair turned Gate C9 into a #Seahawks party for this flight to Pittsburgh. Dance music. SEA!HAWKS!, Russell Wilson chants on jetway. Wilson painted on side of jet. Of course it’s Flt 333. Walter Jones aboard too. (Note the Terrible Towel infiltrators amid pompoms) pic.twitter.com/HnWbfalnb3— Gregg Bell (@gbellseattle) September 13, 2019