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Alaska Retires Passenger-Cargo Hybrid Planes

Era of passengers flying alongside heavy cargo and reindeer comes to an end.

Though you may know Prancer, Dancer, Comet and Vixen, you will no longer be flying with them aboard Alaska Airlines. The Associated Press reports the Seattle-based carrier will retire their four combined cargo and passenger aircraft, opting to keep the two separate aboard different planes.

The former combi aircraft were Boeing 737-400s, capable of flying 70 passengers along with heavy cargo. The special jets were capable of carrying up to 14,000 pounds of cargo, ranging from food and supplies to live animals – including reindeer. Alaska was the only airline in the United States to use the special combined airframes and were utilized on special routes incapable of being reached by boat, trains or truck.

“Because of where we are and where we live, we have the opportunity to help move a lot of unique things,” Marilyn Romano, vice president of Alaska Airlines, told the AP. “and a lot of them are living.”

Alaska will favor three reconfigured Boeing 737-700 aircraft on those routes, formerly used to fly passengers. They will be tasked with a wide range of operations, from delivering groceries on the Alaskan “milk run,” to transporting animals across the state. With the change, the airline will now fly cargo and passengers separate aboard different 737-700 aircraft.

For those who want to fly aboard the last combi flights, there is still time to book a ticket aboard these unique aircraft. The final flight will take place on October 18, 2017 in honor of Alaska Day from Juneau back to the airline’s home airport in Seattle.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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