Flight-Report

Review of Alaska Airlines flight Portland Los Angeles in First

Airline Alaska Airlines
Flight AS 570
Class First
Seat 1D
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 02:25
Take-off 18 Jun 16, 15:30
Arrival at 18 Jun 16, 17:55
AS   #106 out of 128 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 57 reviews
NGO85
By 708
Published on 24th June 2016
Background:

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.


Pre-flight:

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.

photo 1

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.

photo 2

My boarding pass (after the upgrade).

photo 38

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.

photo 3

I cringe every step I take on this carpet.

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FIDS at PDX.

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Airside in PDX.

photo 6

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.

photo 7

As the rain started to pour down again, my AS B738 in the old livery.

photo 8

AS Dash8 taxing by.

photo 9

PDX’s concourse.

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Restaurants and shops in the middle of the concourse.

photo 11



————————-

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.

photo 12

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.

photo 14

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.

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Seat pitch is even tighter in the bulkhead.

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Preplaced on the center console was a water bottle.

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There is a foldout cup holder on the front of the center console.

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And there are USB/power outlets on the front of the center console.

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Again, the jazzy carpeted bulkheads on AS.

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There was no PDB on this flight. We backed up on time and took off on time.

Airborne, service started with a hot oshibori.

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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.

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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.

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Packaged dessert.

photo 22

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.

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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.

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Seeing my empty cup, she offered some more coffee. I asked for coffee with Baileys instead, which was served with another brownie.

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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.

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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.

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Down to the baggage claim.

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It was a 15-minute wait for bags, but I was quickly outside waiting for the shuttle to pick up my car.

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See more

Verdict

Alaska Airlines

6.4/10
Cabin6.0
Cabin crew9.5
In-flight Entertainment3.0
Meal/catering7.0

Portland - PDX

8.4/10
Efficiency8.5
Access9.0
Services7.5
Cleanliness8.5

Los Angeles - LAX

7.6/10
Efficiency8.5
Access5.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

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).

Related

10 Comments

  • Comment 354763 by
    jish.b SILVER 213 Comments

    What a coincidence! I post my Alaska Airlines flight reports only to see two more from you, albeit up front but a very similar route!

    Alaska Airlines is one of the USA's better domestic airlines. The crew are decent, and the seats have a power port, even in Economy.

    Wow, a security line that is faster than TSA PreCheck?! :D

    I thought you actually got the new livery plane when I saw the cover picture! But I guess not haha

    Nice FR - I look forward to reading more from you!

    Cheers

    • Comment 355013 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1624 Comments

      "a very similar route!"
      - PDX is definitely not a very common destination, lol

      "The crew are decent, and the seats have a power port, even in Economy."
      - Yes, their Y product is really good, but with more and more UA/AA/DL planes getting IFE (like on your LAX-MSP flight), they will quickly fall behind the legacy carriers if they are not careful.

      "Wow, a security line that is faster than TSA PreCheck?! :D"
      - The ID check is really close to the body scanner so there isn't a lot of room to back people up like at LAX. At LAX, the PreCheck line is always empty and they taunt you by putting it on the other side of the glass windows while you wait in line for TSA.

      "I thought you actually got the new livery plane when I saw the cover picture!"
      - A little bait and switch, but it looked better than my plane ;)

      Thanks for stopping by Jish!

  • Comment 354780 by
    Numero_2 SILVER 8508 Comments

    Thank you Michael !

    "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." -> That was indeed quick. ;)

    I think the raviolis win easily the "ugliest inflight catering FR award" of the week. lol

    • Comment 355010 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1624 Comments

      Merci Clement^^

      "That was indeed quick. ;)"
      - But also the best news you can hear when you are mentally expecting to sit in Y. Last minute upgrades are always the sweetest.

      "I think the raviolis win easily the "ugliest inflight catering FR award" of the week. lol"
      - Not the most visually appealing, but the taste of the sauce really wasn't that bad. Also, the butternut squash filling was better than a standard processed cheese filling. I thought this ravioli tasted better than the one CM served me PTY-LAX.

  • Comment 354810 by
    Rl 777 812 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    The new AS livery is stunning IMO, it looks great on the 737.

    That was an extremely quick upgrade, talk about efficiency.

    The hard product wasn't the best (still not bad and MUCH BETTER than European J) with limited legroom but it sounds like the soft product was fantastic, very impressive service from the crew.

    Catering was also better than AS' competitiors which is a plus.

    AS seems like a pretty good airline to fly with in the U.S.

    Have a good one, see you!

    • Comment 355006 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1624 Comments

      "The new AS livery is stunning IMO, it looks great on the 737."
      - Lucky for them, the B737 is all they have ;)

      That was an extremely quick upgrade, talk about efficiency."
      - I saw the empty seat on the seat map and I was the next person on the upgrade list so I was anxiously refreshing my phone as boarding time approached and was resigned on a trip in Y before I got the surprise.

      "MUCH BETTER than European J"
      - Seat pitch is a little better, but I actually like the extra space between passengers on the Euro-style J.

      "AS seems like a pretty good airline to fly with in the U.S."
      - But they are a regional carrier so not a carrier that you can use if you live on the East Coast. They have healthy operations from LA area airports so they are pretty convenient for me. Worth a try if you are on the west coast through!

      Thanks for all your comments!

  • Comment 354872 by
    757Fan 487 Comments

    Thanks for the return report, Michael! I'm impressed that AS served a substantial snack on this short flight, and not just the regular snack box found on DL and AA. Come to think of it, I don't think AS ever serves just the snack basket, they must always serve a snack like what you had, which looks more like a small meal. They are definitely a great airline.

    Looking forward to your next trip!

    • Comment 355005 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1624 Comments

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Matthew!

      "I don't think AS ever serves just the snack basket, they must always serve a snack like what you had"
      - I've heard that on short flights like PDX-SEA, they will serve just a cheese plate or something like that. That is definitely a lot better than what any other carrier would dare serve on a <1 hour flight. It's definitely a model that helps distinguish AS (kind of like WN has continued to distinguish itself by keeping the free bags).

      "Looking forward to your next trip!"
      - Another trip on CM next week, actually spending some time in PTY this time.

  • Comment 354943 by
    KL651 TEAM 4333 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.
    This FR helps to understand why AS is so popular service wise.

    • Comment 355004 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1624 Comments

      Thanks for stopping by!

      I think as most Esteban reports show, the service can be spotty on AS, but both of my experiences were quite pleasant. The fact that AS always offers catering is another attractive feature over the main legacy carriers.

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