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Apolo Ohno Takes To The Skies In His Quest For Winter Gold

Alaska Airlines' specially themed aircraft invites travelers to "Follow Apolo"
11/17/2009 8:36 a.m.

SEATTLE —Alaska Airlines and Apolo Ohno today unveiled a specially themed Boeing 737-800 adorned with a larger-than-life image of the celebrated speed skater and "Dancing With The Stars" winner. The unique design features the Seattle native on the aircraft's fuselage and invites travelers to "Follow Apolo" at as he pursues winter gold in Vancouver, British Columbia.

"Apolo is one of the most decorated Olympians in history, and we're thrilled to support him on his road to Vancouver," said Brad Tilden, Alaska's president. "The ‘Follow Apolo' jet will fly across our route system to build excitement for this great American athlete."

On, fans can track Ohno's quest to become the most decorated winter athlete in U.S. history, view behind-the-scenes training videos, sign up to receive e-mail updates from Ohno, and send questions to his blog.

"It's an honor to be featured alongside Alaska's trademark Eskimo and have the support of my hometown airline for the most important race of my life," said Ohno, after seeing the plane for the first time.

A team of Seattle-area youth speed skaters aspiring to follow in Ohno's path accompanied the athlete onboard the aircraft as it was unveiled at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The skaters are members of Pattison's Team Extreme and train at Pattison's West Skating Center in Federal Way, Wash., where Ohno trained as a teen.

To celebrate Ohno's race for gold, passengers boarding the "Follow Apolo" jet received Ohno trading cards, copies of Ohno's signature bandana and press-on faux facial hair.

From Seattle, the jet will fly to Los Angeles followed by Vancouver.

A native of the Seattle area, Ohno began his speed-skating career at age 14 in Seattle and Vancouver. He went on to become the youngest skater to win a World Cup event title in December 1999. Ohno has since won 11 national champion, 18 world champion and five Olympic medals.

Alaska Airlines and sister carrier Horizon Air together operate 13 flights a day to Vancouver from several West Coast cities.

Note to news media: High-resolution photographs of the "Follow Apolo" jet will be available for download at by 1p.m. Pacific time, Nov. 17.

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK), together serve more than 90 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. Alaska Airlines ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Network Carriers" in the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 and 2009 North America Airline Satisfaction StudiesSM. For reservations, visit For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Newsroom at