This series covers a last minute trip up to PDX for family reasons. Booking 2 weeks out, AS was the cheapest at $221 roundtrip in Y and with their heavy LAX-PDX service, they had the best fit to my schedule. I was originally anticipating claiming these miles with AA, but after the announcement of AA’s FFP changes for 2017, I opted for a status match to AS MVP Gold status. With my MVP Gold status in hand, I quickly requested complimentary upgrades for both flights. I immediately received an upgrade for Part 1 and got a last second upgrade for Part 2.
Part 1 – LAX-PDX [AS 529, Boeing B737-800, First] – You are here Part 2 – PDX-LAX [AS 570, Boeing B737-800, First] – Here
I arrived at LAX around 4:15, parked my car, and was at T6 around 4:30 for check-in. There was only 1 agent at the priority line, so it was a 10 minute wait for the 2 gentlemen before me to finish up before I was helped. My bag was tagged to PDX and I was handed my boarding pass.
I personally dislike these boarding passes, finding information on them is not easy given the small font.
AS is one of the biggest operators at T6, with only a handful of AA and DL flights to round things up. They have the place decked out in AS insignia.
The security line was slightly long and it took 15 minutes to clear security. I finally reached airside at 5:00.
The AS Board Room, which I don’t have access to.
T6 is under a lot of renovation, so things are slowly improving.
The seats all have their own in-seat power in the waiting areas.
Plane spotting in T6 is very difficult, and these were the best shots I could manage. A couple of AS B737s.
The only shot of my plane that I could get from the terminal.
FIDS, as you can see AS and DL are the heaviest LAX-PDX operators with WN and AA having limited options.
My boarding gate.
Alaska Airlines, AS 529 Equipment: Boeing B737-800 [N586AS, delivered September 2007] Departure: 6:00 (ATD: 6:25) Arrival: 8:20 (ATA: 8:18) Flight time: 1:53
Right on time, boarding was called. After special assistance boarding, the first class cabin was called to board. Scanning my boarding pass, the gate agent thanks me by name name and wishes me a good flight. Down the jetbridge we go.
3 FAs were in the galley and welcome me on board.
The F cabin, which has 4 rows of 2-2 seating with large black recliners.
Settling into my seat, you can admire the carpeted bulkhead with traditional Alaskan designs.
The seat pitch is tight for F standards at 36” (same as Y+ on AA).
The legroom is hindered by an entertainment box.
The center console.
The seats have in-seat power and a USB outlet.
Safety card for this B738.
Beyond inflight magazine and the AS fleet information (sporting their new livery).
Our next door neighbor in the morning light.
A few minutes later, the catering truck shows up.
Now that the catering arrived, we were handed out water bottles.
As boarding continued, the FA offered coffee to the F cabin as a PDB. She also introduced herself, took aperitif drink orders for after takeoff, and asked us to let her know if there is anything she can do to make our flights better.
Some fresh fish being loaded up.
At 5:55, we pushed back giving an AA/AS tail line-up.
We then taxied past the DL operations at T5.
As we join the long queue for takeoff, an Air Bridge Cargo B747F landing.
AS B737 to SEA.
A trio of FedEx MD-11Fs.
Turning onto the runway, you can see a long line of planes in the queue behind us.
CM B738 in Sao Paolo FC special livery, I flew this plane PTY-UIO.
Starting our run down the runway.
Lifting up over LAX.
Approaching the coast.
Downtown and the winglet.
Malibu beneath the early morning haze.
Service started with a hot oshibori.
My aperitif is served and the FA addresses me by name and asks me if I was interested in joining them for breakfast. She said there was a hot option (eggs, sausage, and a waffle) or a continental breakfast (cereal). I opted for the hot option.
My breakfast tray is laid down in front of me and seeing my empty glass, the FA immediately asks if I wanted another glass. I requested an orange juice with my breakfast.
A decent portion of eggs, which needed salt and pepper from the packets. The sausage and waffle were both sweet. The waffle was already getting a little bit hard by the time I was served it.
Syrup, salt, and pepper.
The fruit plate.
A warm Danish with apricot filling.
The AS cutlery. No spoon is given in their set, which is a little strange.
It was a cloudy run up to PDX with nothing to see the whole trip.
When my tray was cleared, the FA asked if I wanted anything else to drink. I took a coffee and Baileys.
Shortly after my drink was handed to me, the captain came on and asked the crew to prepare the cabin for arrival. Green was now visible between the clouds as we dropped into Oregon.
Mt. Hood poking up in the distance.
Crossing over the southern suburbs of Portland and the Willamette River.
Turning to align with the majestic Columbia River.
Crossing over I-205 as we do our final descent on a cloudy day.
An AS Dash-8 in Boise State Broncos special livery. The Idaho Vandals, Washington Huskies, and Oregon State Beavers special liveries were also there.
Touching down a little bit ahead of schedule.
What a treat, my first glimpse of the new AS livery. It is definitely a beautiful upgrade for AS.
Pulling into our gate next to some AS and WN B737s.
PDX has not changed at all and looks just like it did when I was a kid with this nasty green carpet.
After collecting my bag, I stopped by the kiosk to buy my MAX ticket. The Portland light rail system connects the airport to downtown in ~20 minutes. The tickets cost $2.50 for a 2.5h pass or $5 for a 1-day pass.
Outside, the MAX is there and waiting. It runs every 15 minutes and the cabins are pretty clean.
Welcome to Portland!
And with that, I’ll leave off this series and pick things up as I head back to LAX.
Los Angeles - LAX
Portland - PDX
AS offers one of the best soft products in North America. It was such a night and day experience compared to my recent experiences with AA (ground staff and crews). The hard product isn't great on their B737 fleet, but AS catering pretty solid and one of the few carriers to offer food on flights of every length. At the end of the day, I value good crews over good hard product on shorter flights.
Cabin comfort: The AS cabins are dated with large black leather recliners. The seats are very comfortable, but they lack legroom, the pitch is tight, and there is very little personal storage.
Crew: Fantastic crew and ground staff. They all address passengers by name and genuinely seem to like their jobs. Only 1 FA working the F cabin so service was a little on the slow side, but my glass never sat empty so it wasn't really a problem.
Meal and catering: The competitors on this route (AA and DL) only do beverage service for LAX-PDX. AS serves a breakfast, so that should be considered in the scoring. The tray was pretty full and although the eggs and waffle could have been better, the fruit plate was a good size and the Danish was good. Plenty of drinks on this flight.
Entertainment: No newspapers offered. Standard seatback literature. No personal IFE (AS only gives out tablets on flights over 3 hours).
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