Fans of Seattle Seahawks' quarterback Russell Wilson get to go to the head of the line on Alaska Airlines starting Thursday. The airline is paying tribute to the football player's actions on and off the field by allowing fliers wearing his No. 3 jersey to board early on flights originating in Seattle.
The preferential boarding is good through the team's entire NFL season and will be extended if the Seahawks again make it into the Super Bowl. (And yes, it must be an official jersey.) The team beat the Denver Broncos last year 43-8 to clinch Seattle's first Super Bowl victory.
"He's a remarkable young man and a remarkable leader," spokeswoman Bobbie Egan says. The airline in 2013 partnered with the player it calls its CFO, as in chief football officer, and featured him in a number of commercials. It even named a plane in his honor.
The partnership extends to community events in Seattle where the carrier is headquartered. Last year, Alaska Airlines supported the Russell Wilson Passing Academy to bring inner-city kids to football camp to meet and learn from Wilson.
The company also helped sponsor a "Pledge It. Prove It. Take Flight." event that drew 600 students from high schools in western Washington to hear Wilson's inspirational words and take the "pledge" to finish high school.
Alaska donated more than 7 million air miles to Seattle Children's Hospital in a tally based on every pass or rush touchdown Wilson scored. The miles are used to fly children in need of treatment from as far away as Alaska. And there's a Wilson connection there too: The quarterback visits the hospital every week, posting photos on his Facebook page.
As part of Wilson-mania this season, the airline offers 10% off airfares for fans flying to away games in San Diego, Washington, D.C., St. Louis, Kansas City and Philadelphia. It's good on Alaska flights from Washington state, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska or British Columbia.