Alaska Airlines Confuses Columbus and Cleveland While Announcing Latest Route

Screenshot: Twitter

Alaska Airlines announced yesterday that it would start direct flights from its hub in Seattle, Washington to Columbus, Ohio. But the airline might want to take a quick peek at a real map. Because the graphic that the company posted to Twitter doesn’t show them traveling to Columbus. That’s Cleveland.

Screenshot: Twitter

In fairness to Alaska, Columbus and Cleveland are both cities in Ohio that start with the letter C. But you’d hope that if anyone was going to get geography right it would be an airline. That’s kind of their entire job.

The map that Alaska sent out in a press release was closer, but still not quite right. Below, you can see the actual location of Columbus on Google Maps, considerably further south from Lake Erie than where Alaska Airlines put the city on its own map.

The actual location of Columbus, Ohio
Screenshot: Google Maps

The distance from Cleveland to Columbus is over 140 miles, but that’s a greater distance than some other major cities with their own airports.


Milwaukee and Chicago are just 90 miles apart, for instance, though one guy in Milwaukee likes to have a little fun with the city’s proximity to other major cities. Mark Gubin, who lives near the Milwaukee airport, painted his roof with “Welcome to Cleveland” in 1978.

Why? Just to cause a little chaos for passengers who happen to look down and think they maybe got on the wrong flight.


“It was all tongue-in-cheek, just for fun. Living in the world is not a dress rehearsal. You better have fun with it,” Gubin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2005.

The next time you take Alaska Airlines, you might want to ask the pilot to point on a map where you’re going. Or maybe ask someone from Alaska’s marketing department. It’s not really the pilot’s fault.


As someone joked on Twitter, “Marketing Majors were told, ‘you’ll never need to know geography.’” Strangely, the account didn’t seem to get the joke, and simply replied, “#NeverSayNever Ohio... here we come:)”

Gizmodo’s request for clarification to Alaska Airlines was not immediately returned. But if the city of Cleveland got renamed to Columbus without any of us hearing about it, we’ll let you know.


Correction: This article originally stated that the “Welcome to Cleveland” troll sign in Milwaukee had been up since the early 2000s. It’s been up since 1978! Gizmodo regrets the error.

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Matt Novak

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog