One of Alaska Airlines’ most distinctive planes, a Boeing 737-900ER named Our Commitment, took to the skies in late April. The aircraft, N492AS, disappeared off the radar in early April. But by the end of the month, the plane was reborn with a sparkling new paint job that celebrates the airline’s long-running partnership with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).
Our Commitment celebrates the power of education
The plane features the faces of 14 kids who belong to Alaska Airlines employees. One of these is Arthur, the 8th-grade son of an Alaska Airlines training delivery specialist. Arthur attends Raisbeck Aviation High School in Washington and is keen on aeronautics and space exploration. He sounds smart and switched on, and Alaska Airlines wants to harness that.
It is kids like Arthur and the power of education to propel them forward that the Our Commitment livery celebrates.
“This special paint theme builds on more than 15 years of partnership, including Alaska employees and guests donating millions of miles to UNCF to fly students to college tours and campuses,” says Alaska Airlines in a statement.
One of our equity commitments is to help create career pathways for students by supporting programs like @UNCF, who we’ve worked with for over 15 years. We're proud to reveal a special aircraft in partnership with UNCF, called “Our Commitment.” Learn more: https://t.co/7xhhRzoErI pic.twitter.com/oYz9xFxu4K
— Alaska Airlines (@AlaskaAir) April 26, 2021
Washington’s Reagan National Airport sees first Our Commitment flight
Our Commitment will fly throughout Alaska’s network year-round, spreading the word about UNCF and inspiring conversation around racial equity and the transformative impact of education in the lives of young people.”
You can’t fault that aim. So where has this plane with its eye-catching black, yellow, and ochre paint job been flying to?
The inaugural flight with the new livery took place on April 27. Alaska Airlines operated N492AS on the return AS4/AS3 service between Seattle and Washington. At the end of the day, the airline squeezed in a flight down to Dallas/Fort Worth.
On its social media accounts, Washington’s Reagan National Airport said it was honored to host Our Commitment’s first commercial flight.
"The time is always right to do what is right." – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
— Reagan Airport (@Reagan_Airport) April 27, 2021
Our Commitment scoots around the west coast and further afield
Since then, Our Commitment has primarily jetted up and down the west coast from its Seattle base, with the occasional flight further afield. That’s seen N492AS touch down in Portland, Houston, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver, San Diego, Orlando, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, and Chicago.
Until this week, the plane had not made it up to Alaska Airlines’ namesake State. That problem was fixed on May 5, when Our Commitment flew into Anchorage. The plane is also making a return trip on Thursday, operating a return service from Seattle. On Friday, N492AS is scheduled to make its first appearance in St Louis. AS346 is timetabled to touch down in St Louis around 21:30 local time.
Using aircraft to promote core values at Alaska Airlines isn’t new. Previous clever use of planes includes their Honoring Those Who Serve aircraft that paid tribute to men and women in the US military.
“We use our aircraft to drive awareness and inspire conversation around topics of importance to our company,” says Alaska Airlines.
De Marco Best, a Duty Manager of Simulator Operations in Seattle, says of the Our Commitment plane;
‘This airplane supports kids and education. I happen to have an affinity for education and kids, especially underserved youth and those who look like me. I think all kids could be inspired by this plane to find a career that they’ll love. If every child can find a career, not a job, that they are passionate about, it could propel them and create lasting change that instills the power of education.”