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] – Here Part 2 – PDX-LAX [AS 570, Boeing B737-800, First] – You are here
This will be a cell phone camera only report since I apparently forgot to charge my DSLR battery after a trip to IAD the week before and only had enough juice for Part 1. So I apologize for photo quality in advance.
I arrived at PDX around 1:00pm since my brother and parents had earlier flights. While they were checking into their flight to IAH, I went over to the AS counters. AS is the biggest operator at PDX, although most flights are on Dash8s to regional destinations.
This guy did not belong in this line and was just trying to get a standby seat. The agent quickly asked him to step aside and helped me first. She checked my bag and confirmed my bulkhead seat. I was originally in 6A for this flight since AS has a soft bulkhead between the F and Y cabins.
My boarding pass (after the upgrade).
I reconvened with my parents and headed off to the security lines. PDX always has really long security lines, but there is an express line on the far right for elites, which was actually quicker than the TSA Pre-Check line that my parents used.
I cringe every step I take on this carpet.
FIDS at PDX.
Airside in PDX.
While waiting for my parents to make it through the Pre-Check line, I did some quick spotting. The stunning new AS livery. This plane was unfortunately heading down to SNA, not LAX.
As the rain started to pour down again, my AS B738 in the old livery.
AS Dash8 taxing by.
Restaurants and shops in the middle of the concourse.
Alaska Airlines, AS 570 Equipment: Boeing B737-800 [N524AS, delivered March 2009] Departure: 15:30 (ATD: 15:38) Arrival: 17:55 (ATA: 17:50) Flight time: 2:12
After seeing my parents off to their flight, I went over to my gate. The area was crowded since our flight to LAX was sharing the gate area with the flight to SNA that left 5 minutes after us.
Right on time, boarding started up with special assistance boarding. They announced that this flight was selected for special screening by TSA and that all passengers would have to show ID as they boarded the plane. Right after first class boarded, they announced that they were boarding MVP Gold members as well as AA and DL elites. As I made my way to join the queue, the gate agent pages me to the front desk. I quickly make a U-turn and she greets me and tells me she has 30 seconds to quickly clear my upgrade for the last seat in F. I quickly hand over my documents and 15 seconds later she hands me my new boarding pass saying to enjoy my flight in 1D with a smile. I quickly rejoin the line and head down the jetbridge.
The entrance to the plane, where I drop my headphone case, which bounces into the galley. The FA picks it up and hands it back to me with a smile saying “throwing things at me?” I thank her and settle into my seat. The cabin was already full, so no shots. The seats look the same as in Part 1.
Seat pitch is even tighter in the bulkhead.
Preplaced on the center console was a water bottle.
There is a foldout cup holder on the front of the center console.
And there are USB/power outlets on the front of the center console.
Again, the jazzy carpeted bulkheads on AS.
There was no PDB on this flight. We backed up on time and took off on time.
Airborne, service started with a hot oshibori.
The FA greeted me by name and asked what I wanted to drink as an aperitif. She quickly returned with a gin and tonic and pretzels.
She then returned and asked if I was interested in joining them for a snack. She said it was squash ravioli with puttanesca sauce. She laid down my tray and asked me if I wanted another gin and tonic. Seeing that I used the whole bottle, she offered to premix it in the galley. The tray as delivered. The salad was not interesting, and I really don’t like bleu cheese salad dressing. The pasta was decent and the sauce with capers was good. The fried onions on top were soggy.
After my tray was cleared, the FA asked if I wanted another gin and tonic. I asked for coffee, so she said it would just be a couple minutes while she brewed a new pot. While I waited, I went up to use the lavatory. It was a standard B737 lavatory.
Retuning to my seat, the FA brought out my coffee and a couple more brownies. AS has some free programming that you can access using your own device, but the free options are very limited.
Seeing my empty cup, she offered some more coffee. I asked for coffee with Baileys instead, which was served with another brownie.
As she was preparing the cabin for arrival, she asked if I wanted another one. I asked if there was still time. She winks and says “there is always time for one more.” The AS crews are so much better than their domestic competitors.
We landed early and pulled into our gate. Deplaning, the first officer and our FA were there in the galley to thank me for flying as I deplaned.
Down to the baggage claim.
It was a 15-minute wait for bags, but I was quickly outside waiting for the shuttle to pick up my car.
Portland - PDX
Los Angeles - LAX
Another good flight aboard AS, I'm very happy I picked them over AA and their ERJ-175s. I sacrificed overall comfort moving from the soft bulkhead in Y to the hard bulkhead in F. Good thing the service was good up front to make up for those deficiencies in hard product.
Cabin comfort: The AS cabins are dated with large black leather recliners. The seats are very comfortable, but they lack legroom. The pitch in the bulkhead was pretty bad to the point I could barely move my legs.
Crew: Again, the crew and ground staff were both fantastic. I was addressed by name by everyone I interacted with at the check-in counter, gate, and on-board. They had 2 FAs working the F cabin so service was was attentive and being in 1D, the FA was able to keep an eye on my drink level at all times from the galley.
Meal and catering: The competitors on this route (AA and DL) only do beverage service for PDX-LAX. The snack was average. Not really a meal at all, which was fine with me. The tray looks empty with the bread being served. The salad was mediocre. The pasta was pretty good, but portionsize was small (only filled half the plate). Only big positive was bottomless drink service.
Entertainment: No newspapers offered. Standard seatback literature. No personal IFE (AS only gives out tablets on flights over 3 hours).
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