Report No: 2021-1001
Welcome to this brand new Flight-Report series which I would cover a trip onboard Alaska Airlines to Portland, Oregon onboard their Domestic First cabin. This series would cover three different aircraft types, three different bands of catering and visit to three different Alaska Lounge's across their network.
The first flight would be a transcontinental flight from Washington Reagan Airport to Seattle Tacoma Airport onboard the ex-Virgin America Airbus A321neo aircraft.
Here is the routing for this series;
Loads for this flight
Domestic First : 100%
Premium and Main Cabin: 95-100%
Originally, this trip was booked ex-Baltimore because of a really good First Class fare which was $299 o/w; however, unfortunately AS cancelled their morning BWI-SEA flight permanently, thus, it was not feasible to leave BWI at 5pm instead of the morning. That's why AS offered a free airport change and honored the same fare if I decide to fly out of DCA.
Also the rebooking experiences, both on the phone and the online chat session were smooth and efficient with no long waits on the phone like other US carriers so that was also something positive to consider regarding Alaska Airlines.
I have checked in for my flight, the previous day on the Alaska Airlines website for my flight.
For both of my flights, I kept my pre-selected seats.
After check-in, I generated mobile boarding passes for both of the flights.
I have arrived at Washington's National Airport about 1h5mins before departure which was highly enough as I wasn't going to check any baggage.
The airport is going under construction as new security checkpoints would be installed soon which would allow concourses to be connected airside and respectively, transfers at this airport would be more smooth.
Here is a view of the new construction site
And the National Hall, which is now available to the public but soon would be part of the airside secure area when the new security checkpoints open.
There wasn't that much wait at security that morning so I was in the airside area within 5 minutes. As Alaska Airlines doesn't offer a lounge at DCA for their First Class passengers or oneworld frequent flyer members with status so I directly headed towards the gate.
Compared to the first months of the pandemic, more concessions were open at that time and most of them were crowded during breakfast hours.
I have arrived at the gate area about 15 minutes before scheduled boarding time and N930VA was already at the gate.
This bird is the newest A321neo in the Alaska fleet and it would be my first time on this specific airframe.
Gate 16 is a shared gate between Alaska and United and that's why there are two different podiums at this gate. About 10 minutes before scheduled departure time, the gate agents were inviting people to gate check their carry-ons as the flight was full and they were expecting to run out of overhead space.
Boarding had started a bit late that day, however, priorities were respected. I have boarded with First Class passengers which are invited after passengers requiring assistance, families with small children and active US military members boarded.
After being greeted by the crew members at the aircraft door, I have headed to my seat.
If you pay a little attention to the seat cushion, there were crumbs, probably from the previous flight which was not a good impression.
The legroom is decent and it's a nice touch that these aircraft have footrests where some older AS aircraft doesn't.
A Purell wipe and a small bottle of water was present at the mid-seat console.
The seat also has a USB port and a power outlet
And, at that time I have discovered a used Purell wipe at the literature pocket of the seat. It is pretty obvious that the cleaning company in DCA, didn't clean the aircraft as it should be.
Here is a view from the window. Our neighbor was this United Express Embraer E-175 which was going to head to Houston IAH that morning.
The overhead panel
Although, boarding started a little bit late, it ended early so we were able to push back earlier than scheduled.
And shortly we were pushing back.
United 737 parked at gate 12
A JetBlue Embraer parked at a remote stand near Terminal A
A closer look to N197JB
Another Alaska A321neo that was going to head to Los Angeles as AS5 that morning.
Delta A321 parked at Terminal B
JetBlue A320's parked at Terminal B/C
American narrow-bodies at the same concourse
N314RH - a Boeing 737-MAX-8 that I have flown twice ( one of those flights are already reported in Flight-Report )
More American narrow-body aircraft at Terminal C
N447YX is also an aircraft that I have taken in the past. I have previously flown this aircraft on the PHL-DCA route. That morning, this bird was heading to Boston as part of the American Airlines Shuttle route.
More AA Eagle Embraer's
And more AA Eagle aircraft at the new Regional concourse
And after a short taxi, we have took off towards the south.
Some photos after takeoff
There were clouds, so that didn't allow me to take a lot of photos that morning
National Harbor, MD
We are gaining altitude
And shortly later, we have reached our cruising altitude
About 25-30 minutes after takeoff, the lead flight attendant has came, introduced herself, took drink orders and verified my pre-ordered breakfast. Shortly later, my peppermint tea and cup of water have arrived.
While enjoying my tea and waiting for breakfast to be served, it was a good time to explore what was in the literature pocket.
The safety card, the inflight guide and a flyer regarding the Alaska Visa credit card was present.
There was also a NY times subscription paper available but I guess that it was a leftover from a customer on one of the previous flights.
And it's time to check the guide
The guide has a lit of available drinks and entertainment options of the flight. The unpictured side of the guide has another advertisement of the Alaska Visa credit card.
This flight was equipped with Wi-Fi and a personal device IFE system.
Wi-Fi for an hour was $6.50 while Wi-Fi for the entire flight was $20.
Weather information for Seattle and a link to the personal device entertainment option
There was a wide variety of movie and TV show options available for that morning
By the way, something nice to mention would be that Alaska Airlines is offering free texting for everyone for the duration of the flight.
The meal options available for this flight was available on the Alaska website since 2 weeks before the flight. For this flight, I have opted for the Caramelized Onion Frittata.
And the tray was served about 1 hour after takeoff. Alongside with the main course, a fruit plate, a blueberry yoghurt, bread and butter was present on the tray. To be honest, after experiencing a cold sandwich on a 2500+ mi American Airlines flight in First Class the previous month, it was really nice to have a hot meal on this flight which was quite tasty and appropriate. However, the portion of the frittata was a bit small.
The crew members also offered refills for drinks and checked the cabin within regular intervals.
After breakfast, I have visited the front lavatory, which was clean during my visit.
After the breakfast service, for the reminder of the flight, I have decided to entertain myself with a movie from the personal device entertainment system on my computer.
About 1h30mins before landing, the cabin crew offered another round of drinks and handed snacks from the snack basket.
A photo at that time
And here is a photo of my neighbors cat who behaved very well during his first flight.
While we were getting closer to Seattle, the scenery was a little bit attractive as snow was visible.
And at some point, the captain has switched on the seatbelt signs, so the cabin crew started to prepare the cabin for landing.
Some scenery over suburbs of Seattle
And we have arrived at Seattle for ahead of schedule
Spotting at Seattle was definitely more fun that spotting at DCA
My spotting starts with this Atlas Air 747F
Continues with this United 737 at a remote stand
Alongside with these two AS birds, we were going to wait for some aircraft to take-off as we needed to cross an active runway. After a brief 45 second wait, the aircraft that needs to take-off took off and we have continued our taxi.
Some AS and AA aircraft at remote stands
Korean Air 747F
A Southwest 737-700 which was being towed to a gate after overnighting at Seattle the previous night
Alaska aircraft at Concourse N
More Alaska aircraft at Concourse D
After a 5-10 min taxi, we have arrived at gate C9 and parked over there.
Shortly later the seatbelt signs have been switched off and it was time for deplaning.
After being thanked by the crew by name when deplaning, it was time for a fuselage shot.
And here is the last shot of N930VA for the day from the terminal. The birds next flight was to San Diego as AS1198.
And it was time to head to Concourse N for my next flight to Portland.
This report has came to an end.
The journey would continue at the next report.
Thanks for reading this report and hope to see you in another report.
To conclude this report, I could mention that this Alaska Airlines flight was an enjoyable one with proper meals, a comfortable seat and a friendly crew. At this time this report is published, they were the only two airlines ( alongside with United ) that serve hot meals in Domestic First which is really appreciable as hot meals have nothing to do with COVID transmission. The inflight entertainment system also had decent amount of content and with the crew being friendly and making regular runs to check how passengers were doing, Alaska Domestic First was a good way to fly within the USA; however, to be honest, if the cleaning company in DCA cared a bit more regarding hygiene and cleaning the aircraft, it would have been a better experience as I wouldn't have to wipe the seat before the flight which shouldn't be my job.