Review of Alaska Airlines flight Los Angeles Seattle in First

Airline Alaska Airlines
Flight AS 445
Class First
Seat 4F
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 02:50
Take-off 22 Oct 16, 07:00
Arrival at 22 Oct 16, 09:50
AS   #101 out of 121 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 57 reviews
NGO85
By 1335
Published on 26th October 2016
Background:

This series covers a quick jaunt up to Seattle for the weekend. This trip was last minute since Ms. NGO85 needed to be there for work Monday and Tuesday so booked a ticket on DL leaving on Saturday morning. I decided to tag along for the weekend so booked a ticket on AS for $116 roundtrip in Y. AS and DL are bitter rivals on the LAX-SEA route so fares are generally very competitive. I’ve had good luck with complimentary upgrades on AS as a MVP Gold (4/4 prior do this trip), so it was no surprise to get an e-mail 72 hours before departure notifying me of an upgrade to F on LAX-SEA sector. The return flight didn’t have the same luck, so that will report will be done to cover the Y product on AS. The routing therefore is:

Part 1 – LAX-SEA [AS 445, Boeing B737-800, First] – You are here
Part 2 – SEA-LAX [AS 450, Boeing B737-900ER, Economy] – Here

This report will cover the flight from LAX to SEA. The bonus for this report will be spotting at LAX from a couple of weekends ago. The bonus for Part 2 will be of Seattle and a trip up to Everett to see Paine Field so it will be worth your time to stop by that report to see the new AF B789 awaiting final delivery.



Pre-flight:

Since we both had 7am flights, we planned on arriving at LAX around 6am for our flights. There was a glitch with AS where I wasn’t given TSA PreCheck at OLCI. I called the AS service center and they couldn’t fix it so they instructed me to go to the check-in counters and they’d make sure they gave it to me. As promised, after explaining to the agent my situation, she quickly inputted by KTN and handed me a boarding pass with TSA PreCheck.

Boarding pass in hand, we head upstairs. AS has already finished revamping the lobby at Terminal 6 to reflect their new image.

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The security line was a little congested, but the PreCheck line was empty so we were through within seconds.

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Terminal 6 still has a lot of work before it looks attractive. AA and DL are still using a lot of gates here for overflow.

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Map showing how to walk from TBIT to T8 now that they are all connected.

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Ms. NGO85’s DL B717 to SEA.

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After dropping her off at her gate, back to T6.

photo 7



————————-

Alaska Airlines, AS 445
Equipment: Boeing B737-800 [N592AS, delivered February 2008]
Departure: 7:00 (ATD: 7:11)
Arrival: 9:50 (ATA: 9:20)
Flight time: 2:09


I got to the gate at 6:21am and pre-boarding was underway.

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I joined the priority queue once they called for First and AS Elites to board.

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Reaching the plane, two cheery FAs greeted me with a smile and a good morning.

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Blurry cabin shot.

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I settle into my seat, which is a tight seat pitch for F standards. Not that different from most Y+ seat pitches.

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There is also an entertainment box under my seat restricting the underseat storage a little bit.

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Power outlets.

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Water bottles are pre-placed on boarding. Once the F cabin was well populated. The FA poked her head out and asked for a raise of hands for who wanted coffee. Coffee was quickly brought out as a PDB.

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The cabin after boarding was complete. It would be 100% full today in both cabins.

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Our twin next door.

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The seatback contents.

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Safety card for the B738 and B739s.



AS fleet information. The ERJ-175s look really good in their new livery.

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We push back 15-minutes before our scheduled departure.

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The beautiful new AS livery.

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Ms. NGO85’s B717 is going to lose the race up to SEA today since we backed out first.

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As we taxi out, the FAs do the safety demonstration since there are no overhead monitors in the AS planes. The FA then comes through and takes breakfast orders as well as drink orders for after take-off.

DL A330 operating the morning flight to CDG.

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AA and DL.

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AA A321.

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The Aussies are out in force at TBIT: QF A380, QF B744, and a pair of VA B77Ws.



CX B77W in new livery.

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BR B77W in new livery.

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WN B737 in front of the Theme Building.

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DL ERJ-170.

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Aligning onto the runway.

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As we bolt down the runway, an UA A319 lands in parallel.

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Lifting up over LAX.

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The iconic view departing LAX.

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Goodbye LA.

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Winglet and Santa Monica.

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Cruising past Malibu.

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Ventura (California).

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Service starts up with hot towels.

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My post-departure drink is handed to me.

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A view of the cabin as meal service commences.

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No monitors on AS, but they have GoGo Inflight. Nothing I’m willing to spend money on so I just use my own entertainment.

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Mt. Shasta (California).

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I went for the hot breakfast, which was placed before me. The FA then asked what I would like to drink with the meal. The meal was mediocre. I thought breakfast catering I’ve had twice LAX-PDX was better. I have to think DL offers a much better meal on this route and that may explain how light the revenue F loads are on AS for LAX-SEA. DL can offer IFE and better catering.

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Eggs, chicken sausage, and toast. The eggs and sausage were fine, but the toast had the consistency of a rusk. It literally crumbled it was so dry.

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A pretty good fruit plate.

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Glass of OJ.

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AS cutlery.

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After the meal, I ask for a coffee and Bailey’s to sip while I watch my movie.

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Three Sisters (Oregon).

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Mt. Hood (Oregon).

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The Columbia River as we cross directly over Portland.

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Mt. St. Helens in the foreground and Mt. Rainier in the background.

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Mt. St. Helens (Washington).

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Mt. Rainier (Washington).

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The Port of Tacoma.

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Mt. Rainier poking up in the horizon.

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We fly past the city to land from the north on a cloudy day.

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As we descend, Seattle can be seen through the cracks in the cloud layer.

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Can you spot the Space Needle?

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Downtown Seattle.

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Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field.

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Almost there.

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We touch down at SEA well ahead of our scheduled arrival time.

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FI B757 for Kevin.

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OY B767.

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AS CRJ-700.

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The fleet of AS Dash8s.

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AS B737.

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AS B738.

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We pull into a gate next to one of the rare AS B739s without winglets, one of the oldest B737s in the AS fleet at 16 years.

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Deplaning.

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We arrived at the satellite terminal, so have to head down stairs to take the train back to the main terminal.



And with that, I leave off this series as I begin my short stay in Seattle.





***BONUS***: Spotting at LAX on a sunny Saturday afternoon waiting to pick up my brother.

KL B747-400 (PH-BFV, Vancouver) arriving from AMS.



AA A321.

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EY B777-200LR (A6-LRB) arriving from AUH.



UA B737.

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OZ B777-200ER (HL7739) arriving from ICN.



AS Dash8.

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LH A340-600 (D-AIHF, Lübeck) arriving from MUC.



DL B777-200LR (N705DN) arriving from PVG.



UA B757.

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EK A380 (A6-EOL) arriving from DXB.

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Some other bird watching…

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See more

Verdict

Alaska Airlines

5.6/10
Cabin6.0
Cabin crew9.5
Entertainment1.0
Meal/catering6.0

Los Angeles - LAX

7.1/10
Efficiency9.0
Access6.0
Services7.5
Cleanliness6.0

Seattle - SEA

8.1/10
Efficiency9.0
Access7.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness7.5

Conclusion

Another good flight on AS thanks to a good crew. The hard product and catering could be improved, but for a complimentary upgrade I'm not going to complain too much.

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 at the seat or under the seat in front of you.

Crew: Fantastic crew and ground staff, they were all smiles and joking with passengers (this was a LAX based crew). Only 1 FA working the F cabin so service was a little on the slow side, I didn't get served my breakfast until we were almost out of California.

Meal and catering: The competitors on this route probably have better breakfasts, namely their biggest competitor (DL). I found the toast to be quite poor. The eggs, sausage, and fruit was all fine, but it just wasn't anything exciting. I think AA has more innovation in its catering.

Entertainment: No newspapers offered. Standard seatback literature. No personal IFE (AS only gives out tablets on flights over 3 hours) and no overhead monitors.

Informations on the route Los Angeles (LAX) Seattle (SEA)

12 Comments

  • Comment 371921 by
    KL651 TEAM 3937 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.
    I really love the new AS livery too.
    I agree the breakfast really looks industrial though it's still better than nothing in Y.
    I wish I could try AS as they have an excellent reputation, too bad they're just not strong on the east coast.

    • Comment 372107 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1624 Comments

      Merci KL651^^

      "I agree the breakfast really looks industrial though it's still better than nothing in Y."
      - The breakfast is about as standard as one can expect with the bare minimum: eggs, sausage, and toast. Definitely nothing fancy.

      "I wish I could try AS as they have an excellent reputation, too bad they're just not strong on the east coast."
      - I've discussed this with Kevin, AS has some transcon routes, but they are normally very crowded and aren't as competitively priced relative to other airlines. The lack of a real alliance hurts their ability to funnel in passengers, but they do have a large global network and have a ton of award space through AA.

  • Comment 371928 by
    Numero_2 SILVER 7658 Comments

    Thank you (again) Michael !

    What are the criterias to obtain the TSA PreCheck ?

    "There is also an entertainment box under my seat restricting the underseat storage a little bit." -> This backpack could easily fit in overhead bins. :p

    "The FA poked her head out and asked for a raise of hands for who wanted coffee." -> That's not very welle mannered from her. ;)

    "Ms. NGO85’s B717 is going to lose the race up to SEA today since we backed out first." -> But she had so much fun ridind an old school MD.80/90 ;)

    The breakfast looks very small in quantity.
    "Glass of OJ." -> Glass of ice. :P

    Very nice spotting at LAX ! The LH A346 is a beauty. ^^

    • Comment 372106 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1624 Comments

      Merci Clement^^

      "What are the criterias to obtain the TSA PreCheck ?
      - You have to sign up for it and pay $$$. Otherwise, sometimes you can get it randomly... which kind of defeats the whole purpose of the system. With GlobalEntry, you also get approved for TSA PreCheck.

      "But she had so much fun ridind an old school MD.80/90 ;)"
      - I was supposed to be booked on a DL MD80, but it just got swapped to a B738, so sad ;( There is nothing like the smell of jet fuel being burned on old aircraft...

      "Glass of ice. :P"
      - We are Americans; we always like having drinks as condiments to our glasses of ice^^

      "The LH A346 is a beauty. ^^ "
      - Such a long fuselage ;)

  • Comment 372029 by
    eminere™ 264 Comments

    Those fluffy birds! What an excellent camera.

  • Comment 372094 by
    757Fan 432 Comments

    Great report, Michael.

    "AS and DL are bitter rivals on the LAX-SEA route so fares are generally very competitive. I’ve had good luck with complimentary upgrades on AS as a MVP Gold (4/4 prior do this trip), so it was no surprise to get an e-mail 72 hours before departure notifying me of an upgrade to F on LAX-SEA sector."

    I used to fly on AS all the time, and it was nice when the DL elite benefits use to carry over to them as well too!

    Food looks pretty lacking I'd admit, but at least they served something. I'd agree with you that DL serves something a bit more substantial on a flight like this though.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 372104 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1624 Comments

      Hi Matthew, thanks for stopping by.

      It's crazy how quickly AS has switch from DL to AA in terms of a partner airline. Even the AS agents talk about how much nicer AA plays with them than DL these days. DL still gives service benefits to AS elites, but not sure how much longer that will last since the reciprocal benefits for DL elites on AS are all but gone.

      Definitely not the best of breakfasts, but for a complimentary upgrade it was better than nothing!

  • Comment 372788 by
    Rl 777 812 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    “Ms. NGO85’s DL B717 to SEA.”
    - Nice one!

    “I settle into my seat, which is a tight seat pitch for F standards. Not that different from most Y+ seat pitches.”
    - The box underneath doesn't seem to improve the situation either.

    “The cabin after boarding was complete. It would be 100% full today in both cabins.”
    - The design at the front looks really interesting!

    “The ERJ-175s look really good in their new livery.”
    - Definitely, really like the new livery in general.

    Absolutely breathtaking spotting shots taken at sunrise, amazing.

    Lovely shots of Venice beach and Playa del Rey after takeoff, lovely! The other ones are amazing too (Malibu, etc.)

    Amazing aerial shots throughout the flight, love mountains.

    Maybe not the most impressive breakfast but still great you didn't pay for F on this flight, it looks pretty colourful though haha.

    Stunning bonus from LAX and of the birds at the end :).

    Have a good one, see you!

    • Comment 373486 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1624 Comments

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      “Nice one!"
      - I've only gotten flown a B717 once, so I am a little jealous.

      “The box underneath doesn't seem to improve the situation either."
      - The entertainment box for an entertainment-less flight^^

      “The design at the front looks really interesting!"
      - It's all part of the "Alaska" theme highlighting the Inuit roots of the state.

      "Amazing aerial shots throughout the flight, love mountains."
      - We were lucky to not have a cloudy morning. Most of the time the mountains can't be seen as they sit below the cloud layer. I changed my seat from A to F to make sure I was on the right side of the plane to catch everything.

      "Maybe not the most impressive breakfast but still great you didn't pay for F on this flight"
      - Absolutely, I'm not complaining to get free upgrades so will gladly take whatever they give me. I just think this is poor relative to other breakfast catering I've seen from AS.

      "Stunning bonus from LAX and of the birds at the end :)."
      - Sunny, blue skies in LA always make them look bright and shiny.

  • Comment 385133 by
    Ms.NGOherself 1 Comments

    Wow.

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