My first Alaska Airlines flight (and I loved it!)

This past weekend I flew Alaska for the First2Board Seattle Sessions. I chose Alaska because they have a nonstop from San Antonio, which is a big bonus considering that I have to connect a lot when flying out of there. I had heard nothing but good things about their product, and I decided to try it out for myself.

Alaska

The flight to Seattle was just shy of 4 hours. I flew on economy, and I paid $152 for the outbound flight and $284 for the return. Even though I could have flown for free with just about any airline, the nonstop feature was very important to me, especially on the way back, where I would lose two hours due to the time difference.

Boarding:

Alaska boards by seat numbers, with first class boarding first, then all elites, then Morgan Freeman, then anyone with a carry-on being placed under their seat, and finally the seats in the back, and then everyone else (me).

We flew a 737-800, which is much larger than other versions of the 737. After a few minutes taxiing we were on our way and had a smooth climb out to 36,000 feet.

Seat:

Our aircraft had very slim seats, so there was a lot of legroom on every seat and good personal space.

AlaskaThe tray was somewhat small though, and the pouch was extremely small, so much so that my large water bottle barely fit, and I had to be strategic about what I would keep on the seat with me for the flight.

AlaskaI had to get up several times to switch from items like my book, my iPad, etc. One very big plus on the seat was individual power outlets on every seat.

Alaska

As soon as we reached cruising altitude the front crew turned off the seatbelt sign and meal service began. They have portable devices for rent ($8) where you can watch movies. I did not use one.

Alaska

I ordered the Banh Mi sandwich, which is a sliced pork loin with mayo and a separate veggies ziplock bag with cucumbers, shredded carrots and jalapeno peppers. The pork packed a big flavor punch, and it was very very tasty. The veggies were fresh although I ate them separately so as to not make a mess on my small tray. I washed it down with an Alaskan Summer Ale. The crew gave me the choice of bottle or glass. Since the tray was so small, I chose to keep the bottle and asked him to give me the bottle cap, which I kept on the whole time in order to avoid spills. My seatmate did spill his wine though not on me.

Alaska

Gogo wifi:

The flight offered Gogo inflight wifi. I opted for the wifi option for the entire flight, which was $15.09 after taxes. I normally don’t pay incidentals on board, but it was a 4-hour flight and in this particular case I was dealing with a situation and I wanted to stay connected, so the price was very reasonable. The wifi did kick me out a few times, although it was working the majority of the time and when it did it was pretty fast.

Service:

The one thing I had heard about Alaska that has always been positive is the service. Maybe my expectations had been built up too much, but I thought the service was just ok. It wasn’t bad, quite the contrary, but it wasn’t overly friendly either. Nothing different than what I’ve seen everywhere else.

We touched down right on time to beautiful views of Seattle and Mount Rainier (I was sitting on an aisle seat, so I didn’t take any pictures) for a very smooth approach and somewhat rough touchdown.

On the return trip I was stuck on a middle seat (even though I had requested aisle), so I noticed that seat 6B was available. According to SeatGuru, that seat is an ADA seat, but it’s a good seat, because it is right behind the last first class seat, separated only by a curtain, so it has tons of legroom and you can still stow your carry-on below the first class seat in front of you. While there is always a possibility that you could be re-seated if someone needs the seat, I was already stuck on a bad middle seat anyway, so the worst that would have happened is that they would have sent me back to one of those. Since it didn’t happen, I was able to fly comfortably for the 3.5 hours return. The seat’s tray pulls out from the arm rest.

I "almost" sat in first class

I “almost” sat in first class

Tons of legroom plus my carry-on

Tons of legroom plus my carry-on

Overall impression:

I really liked Alaska as a product, as the food was great, the seats were comfortable and had power charges, and the aircraft was pretty modern. I will definitely fly them in the future whenever my schedule and routes permit it.

Have you ever flown Alaska? If you have, what has been your overall impression? Any tips for future flyers?

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