Monday, March 17, 2008

Trip Report - Alaska Airlines Seattle-SFO

I got lucky and snagged a first class upgrade this week on the Alaska Airlines 6:15am Seattle-San Francisco non-stop (737-400 aircraft). After SFO, the flight continues to Los Cabos (SJD), which means the flight is half full of sleepy business folks and half excited folks in shorts. Its actually a pretty smart routing for Alaska since the Mexico-bound folks fill up the Seattle-SFO leg and I am not sure SFO could solely support a SFO-SJD flight, without the continuing folks from Seattle.

Anyway, I was really interested to see if Alaska has really improved their food in First Class as they have promoted recently in advance of Virgin America's arrival on the SEA-SFO route. Much to my dismay, the flight was located in the North Satellite -- far away from the Board Room. I know Alaska has run out of gates in the D and C concourses, but the N-gates are just
not user-friendly by any means.

We boarded early (5:40 am), had no late runners onboard, but still waited around until a couple mins after departure time. Urgh - Alaska seems to never leave early on this flight-- which can delay things down the line during often-foggy, ATC-delayed SFO.

The flight attendants were cheerful and helpful to the first class customers -- usual Alaska service (a slight bit above any other domestic carrier). I wasnt able to get an aisle seat, so I choose 3A to get the good views of SF upon decent into the Bay Area.

The main first class flight attendant was nice enough, but didnt address any customers by name. She said she had "fruit and a danish" if we wanted it...hmmm, it didnt seem there was any improved first class meal on this flight yet. I usually pass on first class meal on this flight, since its often a boring scone and bits of fruit.

The meal took a while, but it arrived on a tray (new) and larger portions of fruit and danish (actually a bear claw). I think some eggs or even just adding yogart to this meal would have been a real upgrade. Otherwise it just seems like a regular first class meal on any airline.

This flight usually flies right over the Golden Gate Bridge upon arrival and has some great views if you sit on the ABC side of the plane. It was a bit cloudy and hazy this morning, but still it provided cool views of Marin, Golden Gate bridge and the City.

This flight (along with the early PDX-SFO flight) arrives at the International Terminal at SFO -- usually at Gates 2 or 4. Sometimes the flight attendants mention this fact to help folks realize they need to trek over to the Domestic terminal to get their luggage. But on this flight there was no announcement. I am not sure if its not in their flight notes, but it should be.