Irregular Operations Leads to First Taste of Alaska Airlines

By Nick – Random Segments

I write this inflight on a Delta redeye from SNA to ATL, as today’s flights turned into complete chaos when a surprise snow storm hit Seattle Sunday afternoon while Daniel and I were taking our mileage run.  We pulled out from the gate and then as we were about to taxi to the runway, they closed the runway because the conditions had deteriorated to the point where the runways were dangerous, and needed to be plowed.  So we returned to the gate, the delay grew until the point where departure time would cause a missed connection.  Thus we got off the plane and worked with the agent to rebook.  The advantage of being in a hub is that Alaska was able to get us to any city, and the challenge was finding a city with available seats on the redeye.  That led to the connection in SNA, with an option of a 2 hour connection or a 28 minute connection.  Given the weather, we decided to go with the 2 hour connection.

After we were ticketed, it was the run across the airport because seats were not assigned, and we did not want to risk waiting until the last minute and ending up with the last row of the plane.  So off to the S Satellite in SEA, using my new Sky Club membership (I had some SkyBonus points that were getting ready to expire) to get everything lined up for the Delta flight, then over to the Alaska Board Room to get that flight taken care of.

I like the board room, as they offer real food, and the drink selection is decent.  I’ll leave Daniel to do the full review since he was going around with the camera on this trip.  We were instructed to go ahead and grab a seat, while the agent worked to get us some good seats on the flight to SNA.  We ended up with the front exit row on a 73W, so no recline but slightly more legroom.  For that flight, I could deal with it.  

The Alaska Experience

The flight attendants were extremely friendly, and really went above and beyond the standard economy service offered on most American carriers.  They also really showed personality, starting with praising all the passengers on the flight for getting on the plane and seated quickly so the door could be closed 5 minutes early.  Of course with the de-icing, we did not depart on time, but we were not terribly late upon arriving.  The other part of the service which is surprising compared to most US carriers was a second drink service on a 2 hour flight.  Instead of the second service being coffee or water, it was a full second service with all drink options being offered.  Its rare to see such a minor thing carried out in the US, for economy passengers.

The seat was reasonable for what it was, nothing special.  Daniel and I were both lamenting the buy on board menu, as it listed all of the meal options, but only one of the hot meal options was going to be available.  Not encouraging since we both lost confirmed upgrades on American because of the weather.  But what did now wow from the hard product, the soft product is much better than the standard economy product I’ve become conditioned to from the legacies that have good service on the east coast.  I actually want to try Alaska Airlines again, when I’m not trying to do a crazy mileage run gone wrong.

Overall, today has been exhausting, with 5,200 miles being flown in a 24 hour period, with irregular operations.  And just for a visual representation:


And SEA-SNA-ATL was done all in economy (though at least full fare).


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