Perhaps the most exciting part of the flight is that it isn’t that exciting. The 20 percent biofuel blend fueling the turbofan engines burns just like conventional jet fuel. It’s no different for the pilots or the passengers, for whom it’s just another flight to D.C. And for Alaska Airlines, the ho-hum nature of the flight is one of the big points the company is trying to make.
There have been many biofuel demonstration flights during the past few years, with everything from fighter jets to 747s burning the stuff. But they’ve typically been demonstration flights without passengers. That’s changing as airlines begin regularly scheduled flights. Lufthansa has flown several flights in Europe using a biofuel blend, and United Airlines made a biofuel passenger flight Monday, a first for a domestic carrier.