Review of Alaska Airlines flight Washington Seattle in Domestic First

Airline Alaska Airlines
Flight AS1
Seat 04A
Aircraft Airbus A321neo
Flight time 06:09
Take-off 30 Oct 21, 08:00
Arrival at 30 Oct 21, 11:09
AS   #25 out of 68 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 75 reviews
ISTFlyer
By GOLD 525
Published on 15th November 2021

Report No: 2021-1001


Dear folks,


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;


Routing


Loads for this flight

Domestic First : 100%
Premium and Main Cabin: 95-100% 


BOOKING AND REBOOKING EXPERIENCES


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. 


ONLINE CHECK-IN


I have checked in for my flight, the previous day on the Alaska Airlines website for my flight.


photo ekran-resmi-2021-10-29-080108

For both of my flights, I kept my pre-selected seats.


photo ekran-resmi-2021-10-29-080118photo ekran-resmi-2021-10-29-080123

After check-in, I generated mobile boarding passes for both of the flights.


WASHINGTON REAGAN AIRPORT - DCA


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.


photo 20211030_065436-min

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.


photo 20211030_065444-min

Here is a view of the new construction site


photo 20211030_065527-min

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.


photo 20211030_065600-min

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.


photo 20211030_070023-min-61263

Compared to the first months of the pandemic, more concessions were open at that time and most of them were crowded during breakfast hours.


photo 20211030_070057-min-49630

GATE AREA & BOARDING


I have arrived at the gate area about 15 minutes before scheduled boarding time and N930VA was already at the gate.


photo 20211030_070127-min

This bird is the newest A321neo in the Alaska fleet and it would be my first time on this specific airframe.


photo 20211030_070152-min

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.


photo 20211030_071325-min-21234

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.


photo 20211030_072122-min-90093

AS 1 WASHINGTON REAGAN AIRPORT TO SEATTLE TACOMA AIRPORT


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.


photo 20211030_072736-min

The legroom is decent and it's a nice touch that these aircraft have footrests where some older AS aircraft doesn't.


photo 20211030_072800-min

A Purell wipe and a small bottle of water was present at the mid-seat console.


photo 20211030_072856-min-93158

The seat also has a USB port and a power outlet


photo 20211030_081732-84422

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. 


photo 20211030_073028

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.


photo 20211030_073047

The overhead panel


photo 20211030_073550-min

Although, boarding started a little bit late, it ended early so we were able to push back earlier than scheduled.


photo 20211030_075400

And shortly we were pushing back.


photo 20211030_075943

United 737 parked at gate 12


photo 20211030_080016

A JetBlue Embraer parked at a remote stand near Terminal A


photo 20211030_080035

A closer look to N197JB


photo 20211030_080041-min

Another Alaska A321neo that was going to head to Los Angeles as AS5 that morning.


photo 20211030_080608

Delta A321 parked at Terminal B


photo 20211030_080620

JetBlue A320's parked at Terminal B/C


photo 20211030_080646

American narrow-bodies at the same concourse


photo 20211030_080656

N314RH - a Boeing 737-MAX-8 that I have flown twice ( one of those flights are already reported in Flight-Report )


photo 20211030_080706

More American narrow-body aircraft at Terminal C


photo 20211030_080718

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.


photo 20211030_080726

More AA Eagle Embraer's


photo 20211030_080740

And more AA Eagle aircraft at the new Regional concourse


photo 20211030_080753

And after a short taxi, we have took off towards the south.


photo 20211030_081023

Some photos after takeoff


photo 20211030_081045

There were clouds, so that didn't allow me to take a lot of photos that morning


photo 20211030_081108

National Harbor, MD


photo 20211030_081144-min

We are gaining altitude


photo 20211030_081257

And shortly later, we have reached our cruising altitude


photo 20211030_081811

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.


photo 20211030_090311

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.


photo 20211030_082756

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.


photo 20211030_082817

And it's time to check the guide


photo 20211030_082939-min

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.


photo 20211030_082950

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. 


photo screenshot_20211030-081354_samsung-internet

Weather information for Seattle and a link to the personal device entertainment option


photo screenshot_20211030-081413_samsung-internet

There was a wide variety of movie and TV show options available for that morning


photo screenshot_20211030-081432_samsung-internet

By the way, something nice to mention would be that Alaska Airlines is offering free texting for everyone for the duration of the flight.


photo screenshot_20211030-081512_samsung-internet

BREAKFAST - AS 1 WASHINGTON REAGAN AIRPORT TO SEATTLE TACOMA AIRPORT


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.


photo ekran-resmi-2021-10-26-140200

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.


photo 20211030_092659-min

The crew members also offered refills for drinks and checked the cabin within regular intervals.


photo 20211030_093708-min

After breakfast, I have visited the front lavatory, which was clean during my visit.


photo 20211030_095118-80160photo 20211030_095124-95814

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.


photo ekran-resmi-2021-10-30-082147

About 1h30mins before landing, the cabin crew offered another round of drinks and handed snacks from the snack basket.


photo 20211030_112549-minphoto 20211030_113258

A photo at that time


photo 20211030_120405

And here is a photo of my neighbors cat who behaved very well during his first flight.


photo 20211030_120531-min

While we were getting closer to Seattle, the scenery was a little bit attractive as snow was visible.


photo 20211030_130313photo 20211030_130320

And at some point, the captain has switched on the seatbelt signs, so the cabin crew started to prepare the cabin for landing.


photo 20211030_131352-min

Some scenery over suburbs of Seattle



And we have arrived at Seattle for ahead of schedule


photo 20211030_132448

Spotting at Seattle was definitely more fun that spotting at DCA
My spotting starts with this Atlas Air 747F 


photo 20211030_102705

Continues with this United 737 at a remote stand


photo 20211030_102755

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.


photo 20211030_102910-min

Some AS and AA aircraft at remote stands


photo 20211030_102947

Korean Air 747F


photo 20211030_103002

A Southwest 737-700 which was being towed to a gate after overnighting at Seattle the previous night


photo 20211030_103007

Alaska aircraft at Concourse N


photo 20211030_103021-min

More Alaska aircraft at Concourse D


photo 20211030_103222

After a 5-10 min taxi, we have arrived at gate C9 and parked over there.


photo 20211030_103326

Shortly later the seatbelt signs have been switched off and it was time for deplaning.


photo 20211030_103332

SEATTLE TACOMA AIRPORT - SEA


After being thanked by the crew by name when deplaning, it was time for a fuselage shot.


photo 20211030_103704

And here is the last shot of N930VA for the day from the terminal. The birds next flight was to San Diego as AS1198.


photo 20211030_103745-min

And it was time to head to Concourse N for my next flight to Portland.


photo 20211030_103851-min

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.

See more

Verdict

Alaska Airlines

8.5/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering8.5

Washington - DCA

8.2/10
Efficiency8.5
Access9.0
Services7.5
Cleanliness8.0

Seattle - SEA

8.2/10
Efficiency8.5
Access8.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

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.

Related

4 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 586440 by
    flyLars 54 Comments

    Hey Istflyer, thanks a lot for your report.
    299 bucks oneway coast to coast seems like a very considerable deal. Also great to see that Alaska did not offer you a replacement route out of Baltimore which they always have too but also a airport change free of coast, which is a nice gesture. The service though seems quite whack for a six hours flight (You get that amount of food on 2,5 hours flights in European business) but it is sure an improvement towards the cold sandwich you got earlier.
    Thanks again and looking forward to reading the upcoming parts!

    • Comment 586458 by
      ISTFlyer GOLD AUTHOR 365 Comments

      Hi Lars and thanks for stopping by,

      299 bucks oneway coast to coast seems like a very considerable deal.

      - Indeed it's a great price and the same fare is still active an valid for bookings.
      Also great to see that Alaska did not offer you a replacement route out of Baltimore which they always have too but also a airport change free of coast, which is a nice gesture.

      - The only AS flight out of BWI was departing at afternoon for that day, while my original flight was during the morning, thus Alaska allowed me to do an airport change. It's a really nice goodwill gesture, although many airlines allow airport changes within the same city pair during schedule changes as DCA, IAD, and BWI are both considered as the same city when it comes to airline ticketing.
      The service though seems quite whack for a six hours flight (You get that amount of food on 2,5 hours flights in European business) but it is sure an improvement towards the cold sandwich you got earlier.

      - Indeed, I really appreciate that Alaska is serving hot meals at this stage on these longer flights; however, it's true that in Europe you'll get a better meal on an intra-European flight but for the US the meal looks quite decent, but not good as what JetBlue is serving.
      Thanks again and looking forward to reading the upcoming parts!

      - Hope to see you there. Thanks again for your comment.

  • Comment 586460 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5653 Comments

    Hi ISTFlyer, thanks for sharing!

    After my recent flight in the back with the new AS 321neo cabin, it's nice to see a report up front. Every time I book transcon flights in First on them lately, I'm only getting older 737s with the old cabins so I have yet to fly up front in the new post-merger cabins. Definitely not as nice as the Virgin America F cabins in their heyday but better than average compared to the US3.

    Originally, this trip was booked ex-Baltimore because of a really good First Class fare which was $299 o/w

    That's a great deal! I only seem to see those prices to/from SEA on Transcons. Out of SAN or LAX the lowest I ever see is $399, but $499 is most common these days.

    Also the rebooking experiences, both on the phone and the online chat session were smooth and efficient

    I love the chat function on their website/app. It's super convenient and efficient!

    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

    Indeed! After B6, AS have the best domestic F catering at the moment. Like you mentioned, of the US3, only UA serve hot meals.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 586475 by
      ISTFlyer GOLD AUTHOR 365 Comments

      Hi Kévin and welcome to this report,

      After my recent flight in the back with the new AS 321neo cabin, it's nice to see a report up front. Every time I book transcon flights in First on them lately, I'm only getting older 737s with the old cabins so I have yet to fly up front in the new post-merger cabins. Definitely not as nice as the Virgin America F cabins in their heyday but better than average compared to the US3.

      - Never flown Virgin America until it stopped existing but I understand what you mean as these Recaro First Class seats have significantly less legroom than the AS 737's or the VA configuration; however, yes, the seats are comfortable and better than some of the current Domestic First seats on the US3.

      That's a great deal! I only seem to see those prices to/from SEA on Transcons. Out of SAN or LAX the lowest I ever see is $399, but $499 is most common these days.

      - Unfortunately, it's related the demand out of California. During the first part of COVID, when the CA state did not allow non-state residents to stay in a hotel, AS was offering $239 First Class tickets to the East Coast and Florida but since demand was restored, it was no longer possible to see these fares. The cheaper fares out of Seattle or Portland, should be related to the corporate travel bans of major companies over there.

      I love the chat function on their website/app. It's super convenient and efficient!

      - Especially with long call center wait times on most other airlines unless you have direct status with them, it is nice to have this option available for everyone.

      Indeed! After B6, AS have the best domestic F catering at the moment. Like you mentioned, of the US3, only UA serve hot meals.

      - Exactly

      Thanks for sharing!

      - You're very welcome. Thanks again for your comment.

Login to post a comment.