Hey all! Welcome to my first ever Alaska Airlines flight report!
In the first part of my domestic flights around the USA, I flew in from San Francisco to Seattle on a Compass Airlines/Delta Connection E175, and then headed on a week long cruise on board the Norwegian Pearl. Here you go, the itinerary for what was a packed trip!
You can find the video flight report on YoutTube…or right here!
(scheduled to be a B737-400, the very reason why I selected this flight…read on!)
After the cruise, my father and I headed for the Museum of Flight and it was such a JOY!! Here are some pictures (as promised, more aviation related pictures :P )
That night, we went for a quick spin around Seattle (that included the first ever Starbucks outlet, but I forgot to check in on Facebook AND forgot to order a typical latte :) ). The next morning (departure day), we drove to Mt. Rainier before the flight.
Frog legs were interesting…
I decided to do perform an online check in for my Alaska Airlines flight(s) from the hotel. Rude shock: the Boeing 737-400 changed to a Boeing 737-900! Had this been 2013, I would’ve been pretty okay about this change. However, in 2015 after 3 B737-900 flights and another one to go, I was disappointed. I kept my hopes up though. Maybe the quick flight would involve a Boeing 737-900ER? Boeing Sky Interior? Split Scimitar winglets? I managed my expectations…
AS422 is one of many departures to Portland, most of them are on Horizon Air Q400s, but this was a proper big Boeing flight. Reached the airport well in time. Saw mostly Alaska Airlines planes on the way to the terminal, but that’s not a surprise is it.
Like Delta, check in was at a kiosk where we paid for luggage as well.
aited in line at the baggage drop area. iPads were used to scan the magnetic bars which I thought was pretty cool!
A very friendly young lady handled our luggage and she had a big smile. Very nice first impression! On looking at the boarding passes - once again, TSA PreCheck! Security was pretty quick.
AS422 would be departing from Gate C17. The far end of Concourse C! The (slowish) walk lasted a good twenty minutes. I looked at the plane - oh shoot it is a Boeing 737-800!!!! Most of my B737 flights have been on the -800s :( I was a bit gutted… Brilliant. Might have taken the Q400, spent more time in Seattle rather than killing time in Portland! Regular winglets, that’s all. N307AS would be taking me to Portland. Boeing 737-900ERs usually have an extra exit door towards the end, this one didn’t. The fuselage though, was a bit longer than the regular 737-800. I just had a thought. I wondered. I checked Planespotters to see full details of the plane. N307AS was actually a Boeing 737-900 indeed, a 14.3 year old one, at that!!!
Here's what might've been :(
There's my plane
Some waiting later, boarding was announced. A very detailed boarding announcement was, including an offer to check cabin luggage complimentary at the boarding gate. This was awesome! No waitlist passengers, that meant a relatively empty flight for us. Boarding was called by row numbers, filling in the aircraft from the back. This made sense. Being seated in the Seat 20A, I was in the zone for the first call of boarding. The nice boarding gate agent wished me a good flight, addressing me with my first name, pretty good stuff! At the door though, no greeting by a flight attendant, sadly. I was greeted by a very fresh looking cabin. 14.3 years old but no sign of wear and tear. Of course, the older seats were more comfortable and had more legroom in between them, but to keep up with times, airlines are squeezing in more seats wherever they can.
I saw a very old lady take my seat, to which she said to her husband ‘I’ll sit here for the time being…’ to which I jokingly interrupted ‘Yeah, that’s me!’ She apologetically got up and moved to the middle seat, and I started to feel super bad. However, this was soon forgotten about as this lovely old couple turned out to be one of the best co-passengers I have ever had on a flight!
Legroom was alright for this 29 minute flight!
They had come in from Paris on what presumably was a Delta A330, and they would drive on from Portland to…some place I can’t remember… We talked about quite a few things! Paris itself, how planes work, the mysterious disappearance of MH370 (I was a bit uncomfortable talking about this, to be honest). The nice lady kept telling me about her long trip that is ahead, which also caught the attention of the crew member - one flight attendant was deadheading to Portland, after serving the Delta flight from Paris. It was soon time to pushback and depart.
Alaska Airlines have installed seats with universal power ports - its a very helpful feature!
Pushback was bang on time. The flight attendant did her thing. Hilarity ensued when she said 'I'm getting a call, hold on' … while the two CFM56-7B26 engines were fired up. Two minutes later, the flight attendant came back after her call and finished her announcement, then telling us to switch off our phones. Hmmmm. Funny, yes! Professional, maybe not. As we began our taxi to Runway 34R, the flaps were extended.
Passed by the international terminal, couple of the Delta A330s existed. And a few Boeing 777-300ERs of Emirates and EVA Air. Things I could relate to!
Lined up alongside a Southwest 737-700W, but we got first call and blasted down a very smooth Runway 34R.
Was a pretty short-ish roll, a turbulent bank to the left followed and soon we were at our not so high altitude of 21000 feet.
Service commenced with apologies that only water and orange juice would be served (yeah, like American airline domestic food is something that will be missed, heheheh) Service started pretty much instantly, in fact it was two rounds on this short flight! Started off with water and orange juice (more ice than juice.. I didn't bother finishing it lol) and that was followed by a snack mix. Alaska probably has the best 'food', a snack mix not only containing pretzels but other stuff too. A very spicy Indian-like mix, something that I'm used to!
The first officer came on the PA to give us details of our arrival, she advised of a before time arrival into Portland. Descent from our not too high cruising altitude towards Portland.
Familiar sounds of the flaps occurred as the very light 737-900 was brought closer to Earth. A rather quick touchdown, slightly on the rough side was followed by hard braking as we quickly taxied towards concourse C, the Alaska Airlines concourse.
We were parked at C22, where all passengers disembarked. We had roughly three hours to kill. I wished my co-passengers a safe journey ahead. Stepping out N307AS, I noticed that this was one of the rarer 737s, by the virtue that it still had the cockpit eyebrows! Add to that, Alaska's 'Proudly all Boeing' sticker. Awesome stuff!
N307AS had zero activity around it, I realized that this was basically a ferry flight: change in base from Seattle to Portland! That explains the swap from a 737-400 to a 737-900! We kept waiting, as I found something else even rare! There are only 12 (as of the date of writing) 737-900s (not counting -900ERs), N307AS being one of them, and they are being phased out. I decided to walk around and countdown to the next flight with Alaska Airlines….
Waiting in the terminal? Why not try out the snack mix? :D
Seattle - SEA
Portland - PDX
Alaska Airlines' good impression started off right at the check in itself, with the very friendly lady helping us out. For sure, the long walk wasn't ideal, but some things cannot be changed. The gate agent was friendly, too. The same cannot be said about the crew, but nothing too severe. The cabin was in a spick and span condition. The 'catering' was alright for a 29 minutes flight. The fact they managed service is quite a good thing indeed!
Seattle Tacoma and Portland International Airports were pretty alight, I can't complain :)
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