Alaska Airlines Launches Havana Flights, In-Flight Messaging

Alaska Airlines has launched its new flights to Havana and new in-flight amenities, including an in-flight messaging service. 

The new Havana service marks the first regularly scheduled U.S. commercial flights between Los Angeles and the city. The new schedule is as follows:

Start Date City Pair Departs Arrives Frequency
January 5 Seattle - Los Angeles 5 a.m. 7:39 a.m. Daily
January 5 Los Angeles - Havana 8:50 a.m. 4:55 p.m. Daily
January 5 Havana - Los Angeles 5:55 p.m. 8:45 p.m. Daily
January 5/6 Los Angeles - Seattle 11:45 p.m. 2:35 a.m. Daily

The Havana flight will operate using a Boeing 737-900ER. Onboard, customers will enjoy Alaska Beyond Entertainment, offering free and premium entertainment direct to customer devices. Other onboard amenities include a selection of food and beverage inspired by local flavors, custom leather seats with adjustable headrests, and power outlets for laptops and personal devices at every seat.

The airline is also launching new in-flight amenities. First among these is a new service for guests on on Alaska's Gogo-equipped flights that enables them to use iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to stay connected while in the air. Free Chat launches in beta January 5, with full functionality deploying January 24. To use it, guests will need to sign into their Gogo Wi-Fi accounts and follow a few steps to begin chatting on their devices. 

Free Chat is the first of a variety of new in-flight products Alaska is rolling out in 2017. In addition to a brand-new Premium Class service that launched this week, Alaska is introducing a number of other enhancements. Though these products are currently limited to flights operated by Alaska Airlines, customer response and feedback will inform future cabin enhancements and offerings on Alaska Airlines, the recently acquired Virgin America and Horizon Air-operated flights.

Additional new amenities launching this month:

Free movies through March: To celebrate its recent merger with Virgin America, Alaska is offering free, unlimited access to its entire catalog of entertainment available to stream on guests' devices, including Hollywood movies and popular TV shows through March 31. New titles available to view in January include Hollywood hits Nice Guys, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, X-Men Apocalypse, and Ice Age Collision Course.

Upgraded food and beverage options: Later this month, guests will begin to see new food and drink options on the snack and beverage cart when they travel, including new premium wines from Washington State's award-winning Chateau Ste. Michelle, as well as new premium craft beer, bourbon and sparkling wine from La Marca.

Premium Class: Alaska's new class of service debuts this week on select routes. In addition to four extra inches of legroom, passengers seated in Premium Class enjoy early boarding and complimentary snacks and alcoholic beverages. More than 40 percent of Alaska's fleet has been retrofitted with the new section, and by year-end, more than 90 percent will feature this new class of service.

Upgrades to Alaska's new Premium Class range from $15 to $79, in addition to base fares, and can be purchased at the time of booking. Premium Class is not currently available on flights operated by Virgin America or Horizon Air.