One of the seating areas for the new Alaska Airlines Board Room at SEA’s N Satellite – Photo: Neil Enns | Dane Creek Photography
As of November 10, customers visiting Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s North Satellite terminal will have an enhanced passenger experience. After several months of delays and postponements, the new and highly-anticipated Alaska Airlines Board Room opened for business between Gates N1 and N2.
The N Board Room supplements the main location in the D Concourse of the main terminal, allowing passengers to have lounge access closer to Alaska’s departure gates in the remote terminal. This lounge is meant as a stopgap until a permanent lounge opens in 2018 as part of an overhaul and expansion of the North Satellite building.
When the project was first announced in December of 2014, the original target opening date was mid-2015, but postponements kept rolling in and pushing the date further out. Coupled with little information about lounge design and amenities, the anticipation grew, especially within the frequent flyer community on Flyertalk.
An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-900ER landing at LAX – Photo: Carlos Ever | Flickr CC
On Monday, an Alaska Airlines flight from Newark bound for Seattle had to divert to Buffalo for an emergency landing because of smoke reported in the passenger cabin.
According to a statement from the airline, a malfunctioning credit card reader on board Flight 17, operated by a Boeing 737-900ER, started producing the smoke. A flight attendant took it to the back galley, placed the the device into a trash bin to contain it, and used a fire extinguisher to suppress any possible fire, while the flight crew declared an emergency and prepared to divert. There were no flames from the device, and the plane landed without incident at 8:15am EDT with 181 passengers and six crew members on board.
No injuries or fire damage to the aircraft were reported, though fire and emergency vehicles met the aircraft on the runway as a precaution, due to landing overweight from to a full cabin and fuel tanks for the transcontinental flight. A passenger on board the flight posted details of the diversion as it was happening on Flyertalk, an online forum for the frequent flyer community. User “autumnmist” reported that the “[f]light attendants and pilot handled it well,” and also lamented, “[s]o much for getting a solid nap in before landing in Seattle!”
We reached out to autumnmist, who asked to be identified as “J,” for more information. J, seated in Row 13, stated that the passengers were calm, mostly dozing because of the early hour and some not realizing that anything had happened until the descent started. The cabin crew announced that all passengers should be seated and prepared for landing. The captain came onto the PA system to announce that there was a small incident and that they would be landing at Buffalo out of an abundance of caution, touching down in about 17-18 minutes.
Alaska Airlines flight attendant Jenn-Marie Mann and I rock putting my bag in the bin
Overhead bins… probably one of the more boring aspects of the airline business, but they’re very important and are about to get better. Boeing and Alaska Airlines just showed off the new Space Bins. What are these and why should you care? How about never having to worry about there being enough room for your bag on the plane? Yea… now that’s stellar!
The first plane with the new Space Bins – an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-900ER (reg: N487AS)
Multiple times during the special media event, held at the 737 Delivery Center at Boeing Field, Alaska stated one of the main reason for the new bins was to reduce anxiety.
Although many of us love flying, there are times where love and frustration can mix. Even when I am boarding with the first half of the passengers, and I know there will be room for my bag, I still worry.
Sometimes I board and quickly realize, “Houston… we have a problem…” there is no room for my bag! I have to gate check it and wait for it again at my destination, something I don’t want to do. And even if there is room, how many of you have been sitting in row 10, but your bag is in row 25? Annoying. These new bins will hopefully put an end to all of that.
This is the reason that most of us fly, being able to look down at the earth below us.
Flying around the U.S. is something that so many people do on a regular basis. The process used to be much more stressful. Having to track down a travel agent or even buying your ticket at the counter, hoping that there was a seat available. Today, we are able to book our tickets online, months in advance and can have increased confidence that we have a seat on the plane. But even in today’s hi-tech aviation business, there are still times that almost make it feel low-tech and high-stress. I experienced one recently on a flight to Las Vegas. That weekend in Vegas may have been fun, but for this AvGeek it was extremely stressful and I am not even sure if it was worth it.
There are many people who have airline benefits and have the ability to fly for free around the world. I have flown on these “buddy passes” before and previously, and it was not that bad of an experience. However, this trip to Vegas has seriously made me reconsider ever using one again.