An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-700 landing at LAX – Photo: Daniel Betts | Flickr CC
On the way back from my recent trip to the UK, I was scheduled to have barely a two-hour layover at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). That’s a pretty tight connection to clear immigration and customs, then change terminals, so I was expecting my newly-acquired Global Entry membership to save the day.
Yes, Global Entry was extremely convenient, but what I thought would be a story about how I made my connection with moments to spare did not turn out that way. Turns out that the fact I ended up on a flight, arriving to Seattle at 1:52 am, with only one other passenger, made my experience much more interesting.
Here’s how it happened.
It’s not every day that you see any sort of 737 in the Museum of Flight parking lot – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
Over the past few years, Alaska Airlines has been making gradual enhancements to its overall product. New seats from Recaro, in-seat power, Wi-Fi from Gogo, Starbucks coffee, and tablet-based in-flight entertainment (IFE). These improvements have all come together to create a product Alaska is calling Alaska Beyond. The most noticeable addition to their product is improving upon their dining options.
To complete the Alaska Beyond project (the last few aircraft will be reconfigured by the end of April), Alaska decided to have a party. Now, that’d be great on its own, but they made it even more impressive by taking a 737-990ER (N462AS, if you wondered) out of service for a day, and gave a two-hour demonstration of the product in flight. Who was to attend? Well, media, stakeholders in the Alaska Beyond product (including Tom Douglas, three-time James Beard award-winning chef), and Alaska’s 0.01% top-tier frequent flyers.
Seattle-area winery Chateau Ste. Michelle has formed a new partnership with Alaska Airlines – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
Inside the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field, Alaska got the party started with wine from their newest partner, Chateau Ste. Michelle, along with Beecher’s cheese.
After enjoying the ground party, we were ready to head into the sky. We began to head back to the parking lot (yes, the parking lot) to embark on our flight.
While KPAE will have Boeing heavies still, it is about to get smaller, scheduled visitors – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
Snohomish County was going to get a passenger terminal one way or another. American development corporation Propeller Airports has been granted a long-term land lease, to the tune of an eventual $25 million, to construct a two-gate terminal at Paine Field (KPAE). This is the airport, as most of you probably know, where Boeing builds the 747, 767, 777, and most 787s.
The airport will be operated as a public-private partnership between Propeller Airports and Snohomish County. Paine Field currently operates with a total of 305 daily movements (very few of them are actually Boeing’s). The airport has been described as operating at a mere 45% capacity. This terminal will likely kick that up an additional 5%, better translated as an additional sixteen aircraft movements.
No matter how close to residential areas the airport is, the public good and possible economic development for Snohomish County outweigh the complaints of ever-quieter airliners landing at Paine field.
A Delta plane getting boarded by the Seahawks as they head to Phoenix for the Super Bowl
Sunday morning in Seattle, people should be drinking their morning coffee, reading a paper (or this site, obviously) or going for a morning run. But when the Seahawks are headed for the Super Bowl, the city takes on a different vibe. Streets are lined with people along the drive from the team’s offices and training facility at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center (VMAC) in Renton, to SeaTac for their journey to Phoenix.
The airport was surrounded by fans, family, and friends of airport staff who were plane-side to wave farewell. But their departure leads to a bigger, more important, question for AvGeeks: who, and what, were they flying?