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Report No: 2021-401
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to this brand new series where I would present Alaska Airlines for the first time. Alaska Airlines has recently joined the oneworld alliance and had a 30% off sale that was valid on all their flights in December 2020 so I decided to try them on one of my US domestic trips.
In this report, I would cover my first ever Alaska Airlines flight from Washington Dulles Airport to Los Angeles Airport on their Boeing 737-900ER in their Main Cabin. Unfortunately, as there are no open oneworld lounges in IAD, this report would not cover any lounge reviews.
Here is the routing for this series;
Loads for this flight
Domestic First: 90-95%
Premium Class: 85-90%
Main Cabin: 90-95%
I have checked-in online to this flight, the day before and the first thing I got was this upgrade offer for $213.93 to Domestic First.
As I politely declined the offer, then the seat map popped up. The upgrade rate for Premium Class was $89. Unfortunately, partner oneworld Emerald's does not get Premium Class access for free, however, we do get free Preferred seating which also covers exit rows. I previously assigned myself seat 17A and sticked with that seat.
The day of the flight, I have taken the bus 5A from central Washington, DC to Dulles Airport. The ride takes about 50-55 minutes and a single ride would cost $7.50. We were only 3 passengers that day heading to the airport at that time.
While on the way to the airport, I spotted the incoming aircraft which was this Boeing 737-900ER with the oneworld livery.
About 2 hours before the flight, the bus had arrived to Washington Dulles Airport and I was inside the terminal.
Here is the layout of the airport. The Alaska Airlines check-in desks are located at check-in island #3.
As I was going to check a bag, I needed to stop by the counter. All the counters were empty and I was able to drop my bag really quickly. However, the agents weren't familiar with attaching a priority tag on baggages belonging to partner elites, I needed to alert the agent that she forgot the priority tag; after reminding her, she said she'll attach one and in the end, at LAX my bag had the "Priority tag" and was one the first bags to arrive.
FIDS for the day. Compared to my previous travel in the last few months, the airport is getting crowded every day with more flights. However, the number of international flights are still 25-30% of the pre-COVID era.
After checking-in, it was time to head towards security. There wasn't any line downstairs at the security checkpoint, thus without a wait, I was at the airside.
As I didn't have lunch that day and I knew that no proper food would be served onboard, I just checked the list of open concessions at the airport website and decided to go to the United terminal to have lunch as there were significantly more restaurants/cafés open over there compared to the A/B terminal where the only open food concessions were Dunkin Donuts and Wendy's.
I took the AirTrain to concourse C,
And, decided to have a pizza at &pizza for a late lunch.
After having my lunch, it was time to return back to the A/B terminal where Alaska Airlines flights depart and arrive at. This time, I decided to take the moon buggy to Concourse A.
On the way, I did some spotting starting with this United Express Embraer
Air France 777-300ER which had recently landed after a flight from Paris CDG.
After a ride on the moon buggy, I was inside the A/B concourse and decided to have coffee before the flight.
So, I have purchased a Matcha Latte and some treats from Dunkin Donuts while waiting for my flight.
As I mentioned earlier in the report, I wasn't able to access any lounges before this trip as the only oneworld lounge in this airport, which is the British Airways Galleries Lounge is closed due to COVID. Unfortunately, I don't have a PriorityPass membership, otherwise I would be able to visit the Air France or the Turkish Airlines Lounge which were open that day.
While I arrived at the gate, N487AS was already there and the passengers from the incoming flight from Seattle were still deplaning. At that time, the gate agents were gate-checking heavy carry-ons and those bags of volunteers.
A few minutes later than our scheduled boarding time, boarding had started with the respect of boarding groups. Alaska's boarding process starts with passengers requiring extra assistance and those with infants, continues with active US military members which is followed by First Class passengers and then groups A to E are individually called. As I hold British Airways Executive Gold status ( oneworld Emerald ), I was automatically assigned "group A" on my boarding pass.
I'm glad that Alaska Airlines has joined the oneworld alliance.
After being welcomed by the crew, I have headed to my seat 17A which is located in the second emergency exit row of the aircraft. This Alaska Airlines 737-900ER was equipped with the Recaro slimline seats which I quite enjoy flying with. Plus, the AS version of these seats has headrests.
As you could imagine, the legroom at the exit row is quite generous
The seat back also has a USB port and a power outlet
The aircraft was equipped with the Sky Interior cabin design.
While boarding was going on, it was still raining; our neighbor was this Austrian 767-300ER which would be replaced by 787's in the future.
The seat back pocket had the safety card and an inflight guide. Alaska Airlines doesn't offer any written literature onboard, although, personal device entertainment and WiFi is available onboard.
The drink options that were available on today's flight and entertainment options were clearly listed on the inflight guide. By the way, Alaska Airlines also offers free texting onboard their flights.
The back of the inflight guide has an advertisement.
After boarding was completed, I felt lucky that the middle seat next to mine was empty on a close to full flight. As we were pushing back, I already though that I was going to have an enjoyable flight.
By the way, on this flight there weren't that many business travelers and the majority of the passengers were leisure travelers, thus some of the other passengers who were seating in a "Preferred" seat also got empty middle seats.
Lufthansa A330-300 and Qatar Airways 777-300ER
Some UnitedExpress jets parked at Concourse Z
We are taxiing to the runway
After a 10 minute taxi, we have took off towards the south and our journey has commenced.
Some beautiful views after takeoff
After takeoff, I decided to discover the personal device entertainment system.
Starting with the Wi-Fi options:
The route map
And the IFE menu
During the flight, I have decided to watch a movie to entertain myself and while enjoying my movie the service had started. First, one member of the cabin crew handed a snack mix and a disinfectant wipe; and shortly later another cabin crew member asked my choice of drink, I opted for an orange juice and a few moments later, the cabin crew thanked me for being a oneworld Emerald member and asked me if I would also like any beer or wine. I have asked for some red-wine which was handed to me with Alaskan chocolate so I decided to drink the orange juice later in the flight.
Also as a sidenote, passengers could pre-order a Fruit & Cheese Plate in advance if they wish by paying through the Alaska website or the mobile app.
During the flight, I have watched two movies and the cabin crew appeared about every 20-30 minutes to collect trash.
While I finished my second movie for the flight, we were over Utah.
Shortly after that moment, I have decided to visit the lavatory which was clean during my visit.
At that time, at the last row of the aircraft which was empty, bottles of water and additional snack mix packages were available for those who were hungry or thirsty. I have helped myself with a bottle of water.
A while later, the captain has turned on the seatbelt signs and we have started our descent.
Shortly later, we have landed at LAX
As we have landed into one of the runways at the north of the airport, it took a while to taxi to the gate.
American Airlines 787 at a remote stand
Tom Bradley International Terminal with mostly aircraft of Asian carriers.
It's surprising to see all these Asian carriers, especially the China Southern A380, where travel restrictions and strict quarantines are enforced in that part of world.
Another Asiana aircraft, alongside with this Philippines Airlines 777-300ER.
JetBlue A321 at Terminal 5
Another JetBlue A321
Alaska aircraft at Terminal 6
Another Alaska 737
We were going to park at gate 60
And, we have parked at the gate on time.
There were no row by row deboarding enforced by the crew, although passengers were requested to maintain social distance and wait for those in the front to disembark first before standing up.
After saying goodbye to the crew, it was time to take this fuselage shot of this oneworld livery aircraft
And then, I headed to the terminal. As you could realize from the FIDS 95% of the flights departing and arriving at Terminal 6 are operated by Alaska Airlines.
At LAX, probably due to the construction going on, Alaska Airlines has only one baggage carousel for all their flights and with multiple arrivals at the same time; the belt area was pretty crowded and become more crowded while time was passing by. It was a bit chaotic and there were occasions were passengers didn't maintain social distancing procedures; however, my bag arrived within 15 minutes and I was ready to leave the terminal.
And, my first experience with Alaska Airlines has come to an end.
Thanks for reading and hope to see you in another report.
The series would continue with the next report where I would cover the Domestic First product of Alaska Airlines.
To conclude this report, I could tell that my first flight on Alaska Airlines was pretty pleasant and I enjoyed flying them. Both the ground staff and the cabin crew were friendly, the seats were comfortable, the IFE and power options were great; although with some slight improvements on the BoB menu ( not only selling cheese plates by pre-order ) and a better arrival experience at LAX this journey could have made the journey better.
(+) No wait for check-in and security
(+) Priorities respected throughout the boarding process
(-) Limited food options at the A/B concourse
(-) No lounge open for AS passengers
(+) Comfortable seats and generous legroom at the exit row
(+) Presence of power outlets and USB ports at each seat
(+) Friendly crew
(+) Toilets were kept clean throughout the flight
(+) Presence of Wi-Fi and IFE options
(-) No proper meal option on this flight
(-) Disorganized and chaotic baggage claim process