Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Alaska Airlines First Class Flight Experience - Flight from Seattle to San Diego and San Diego to Orlando on August 12th 2013

This flight was from Seattle, WA with stop in San Diego, CA to Orlando, FL. Some might wonder why I did not write about the flight to WA yet, but I simply did not get to it and will deliver it at a later point.

This was the first time I was on Alaska Airlines and the main reason we were on this flight was that we got lucky and got some miles from family to use for a First Class ticket to visit them in WA. Not that we do not pay for 1st class tickets, but when you fly with a new airline , it is nice to find out first if it is worth it.

This flight started on August 12th in Seattle. Our take off time was scheduled at 5 55 pm. We booked it for two reasons like that. 1. because of the miles and 2. so we have the entire day to get things ready and spend time with family.

Arriving at the airport in Seattle you will find Alaska Airlines right at the beginning of the Terminal. It was not busy , so we unloaded fast and we were off to the check in. Having first class is always a pleasure, because there is short or no lines and the process seems to be more friendly. We did not have to wait more than 1 minute and got called to the counter. The young girl was very friendly, took our ID’s and got the check in down within in 2 minutes including all my golf luggage. One suitcase had 1.5 lbs more than it should have had, but there was no question or comment.

The check in area of Alaska Airlines is very nice. All reorganized with plenty of kiosks for fast check in and a great set up of the counters to make it easier for all travellers.

So from arriving to getting done with check in , we only spend 5 minutes or so. Girl was friendly and helpful. A good start.

Next we browsed through the security in a flash. Seattle offers a premier line for First Class Passengers and others. The line was like 5 people or so. Took us maybe 5 minute to get that done. After both those experiences, my mood was great.

We had something to eat, but that will be part of the Airport review which you can find soon here online. Alaska Airlines seems to use the N Terminal in Seattle, which is easy to reach with the train.

Getting on the plane was yet another easy thing to do. The First Class lane was opened right after children and people with disability and because there is only 16 passengers flying in first class, it takes a couple minutes to get in and settled.

The seats in Alaska Airlines First Class are old leather seats. Not sure what year, but they are older. Nothing too fancy and no foot rest. But the size is good and foot room is good as well. On this flight we had 1C and 1A. Which we usually do not get because of the wall in front of you , which can take space away when stretching. This time I did not think it was a problem at all.

While the other guests were boarding we were offered some water. I was thankful for that, but a little disappointed, because usually I get a glass of champagne or whatever drink I want and would have preferred that over the water or taken it with the water. It was not a big deal. Boarding was fast and we were on our way on time.

After we reached our travel height, we were greeted by Joseph, who was the steward taking care of us 16. He was very nice and smiling all the way with eye contact.

First we were offered a drink. I was going for a Bloody Mary. This is a drink I love to have when starting any flight. It is , if you will , a tradition for me to have that. It took not very long and I had it sitting right on my table. Drinks were served in nice glasses.It tasted great. We have to consider that they do not have a full bar. For that , it was a good drink.

Christiane had some Cabernet. They offer different wines on every flight and mostly regional. I think it was called Red Blend and it was a good wine. I actually ordered one myself when Joseph came along again.

As it was a short flight to San Diego, CA, we did not get the entertainment console. I was ok with that. Next Joseph came out with a snack. Grilled chicken with side salad. Now that was a great tasting snack I must say. The chicken was perfect and with a very tasty orange sauce. Salad looked fresh. A nicely decorated plate. While eating my wine was refilled without asking and anything laying around was taken immediately.

I had a couple more drinks, trying to get in sleeping mode for the long flight. We arrived in time and leaving the airplane was yet another breeze. While leaving I said thank you to Joseph and the other stewardess and found out, that we will have the same staff on the long flight to Orlando, FL. That was great news, because they simply did a great job and were very friendly.

San Diego Airport is not my favorite, but again, this will be a different article.
Our delay was 2 hours which we used to have a snack and a beer. We were scheduled to leave at 10 20 pm.  Boarding  started on time  and nothing but good to report. Alaska Airlines staff members were friendly, organized and with the First Class lane being clearly marked, entering was easy and fast. We got seats 1C and 1A again. There was plenty of storage for our carry on. Had our own compartment to be exact. All 16 seats were occupied yet again.

Same procedure while boarding. We were offered water and the staff helped all people to move fast and made the boarding process a very pleasant  experience without any incidents. Again we boarded on time and were on our way.

The seats on the Alaskan Airlines flight from San Diego, CA to Orlando, FL were almost identical to the other. Those seats had better head rests though. You could adjust them and that felt very comfortable. Other than that, they were the same old leather seats without footrest , but with plenty of room and space to put glasses etc. No power outlet to charge equipment again though. Before we started there was a very young child screaming for a while and one female first class passenger was not too happy and mentioned that to the staff. But the staff did not even get into any discussions and handled the situation perfect. The young child was quiet for the rest of the flight and so the lady had no reason to say something again. Personally I like when children are around on flights and because I travelled starting very young, I know that at times it was a little difficult because of my ears and my impatience as a child.

Joseph started us out with a drink as he did before and his Bloody Mary’s were consistently good. We also ordered the same wine again, trying to stay with what we liked.

Christiane decided to sleep through the long flight ( if you consider 4 ½ hours long). I wanted to watch a movie and have the snack again. About 20 minutes into the flight we got our entertainment console including free headphones, which you can keep.

Although the console is not huge, you can comfortably watch movies and play games. I watched a good movie and was pleased with the quality. If you do that, set the item on the table and you can see well. The head phones are not the top of the line, so do not expect the highest quality, but they do work fine.

I agreed to try the snack and we got a nice hot sandwich with ham and cheese and some more salad, which again was fresh. Tasted all very good. Had one more glass of wine , but then called it a day with drinking. I just had to wave my hand and Joseph took away all  glasses. I am sure if I would have had my empty glass standing there, he would have kept filling it up with the good stuff. I had to drive the next morning, so I did not want overdue it.

I slept about 2 hours and slept well. Christiane was not satisfied with her sleep and not happy that there were no blankets and pillows offered in first class. Not sure if Alaska ever did it. I guess we were used to it from some other airlines here and abroad.

Again we landed on time. For the first time in many years I departed the plane with a handshake and some compliments to Joseph and his staff members.

Getting of the plane and to the bag claim was super fast and our bags were out and ready within 20 minutes or shorter. All bags were there and in great shape.

Alaska Airlines 1st Class Summary

I am not sure what the price for a flight like this is. To me, in this case it would depend on the price. I liked the service very much. Everybody was friendly and you could feel that they wanted to make it a good experience for you. The drinks and the food were both very good and plenty. Alaska Airlines seems to have older planes. The first class seats are off good size, but old, no footrest, no outlet to charge.
Entertainment solution with the console is a good idea and I found it sufficient and easy to use.

Check in and boarding was fast and easy and a friendly experience as well.

I would flight Alaska Airlines 1st class again if the price is reasonable or if I have miles to use again. However, I will first check others before booking.

The biggest thing I did not like was that you do not have access to the Alaska Airlines 1st class lounge. I think it is not acceptable, that after paying 2ooo $ for a flight I have to pay 45 $ to enter the lounge. We had a not so good experience on the flight to Seattle, WA and did not even attempt it on the way back. I will write about it.

Alaska Airlines was a good experience with room for improvement. What was your experience?

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