Flying with the

This Boeing 737-800 had the Hawaiian Lai on the tail, which didn't make too much sense flying to Alaska

My mother recently flew from Seattle, WA to Alaska and was excited to write about her travels, knowing her son runs an airline blog. I normally run a series “1st Person Perspective” where I will talk about my travels, but this will be the first “2nd Person Perspective.” My mother is a wonderful woman, who hates the travel process. We both thought it would be interesting to get the perspective of someone who hates the travel process, but loves to go new places. This is her story….

Even though I am an experienced, but reluctant traveler, I am not that knowledgeable about airlines. So this article is a simple personal account of my trip to Alaska and back.

It all began on August 23, my sister and I headed to SeaTac Airport which serves the Greater Seattle area and Puget Sound.

The new check-in system that Alaska Air has might look confusing and something out of the future, but it is efficient.

The new check-in system that Alaska Air has might look confusing and something out of the future, but it is efficient.

I have flown out of this airport many times, and since Alaska Airlines is headquartered there, they take up a large portion of the concourses.

Check in was very efficient. Lots of kiosks to get boarding passes and at least ten counters open to check and weigh baggage. The counters surround a central conveyor belt that seemed like a great idea to me.

After going through an uneventful security check we headed to our gate to board Flight 836 to Anchorage. It turned out our gate was in the North Satellite, which meant we had to take the underground train to get there. It took a bit longer, but we had given ourselves plenty of time.

While we were waiting to board, the woman at the counter announced that they were taking upgrades to First Class for $100; at first we were hesitant, but then decided we’d do it. It was a 3 1/2 hour flight and we were on vacation!

In First Class you see real food, that is actually good.

In First Class you see real food, that is actually good.

We were very excited, but trying not to show it, hoping the other first class passengers would think we belonged (who knows how many of them were using bonus miles or upgrades themselves).

I have flown first class before and it reminds me how coach used to be in the ’œolden’ days: larger leather seats and more legroom, attentive flight attendants, and real food on real china. We felt very privileged and a little decadent, especially when ordering a bloody Mary at 8:00 am and no little bottle! A real mixed drink! Plus you get to deplane early in First Class.

The flight left on time and our Boeing 737-800 cruised northward at 38,000 feet. We had a female pilot-or co-pilot-whoever sits on the right. We were offered a free DVD player and an exceptional breakfast (asparagus quiche, fresh fruit, and sausage).

It is Alaska's (the state, not the airline) 50th year of being a state.

It is Alaska's (the state, not the airline) 50th year of being a state.

Out the window, I could see Vancouver Island and the Canadian Rockies before it clouded over.

The flight time zoomed by and after a smooth landing, we were in Anchorage. The airport is very modern and filled with stuffed wildlife in glass cases. It is named after former Senator Ted Stevens who has since been indicted for corruption. But that’s a different blog story’¦

We only had to wait for our bags for about a minute-Alaska Airlines has a new policy that if you have to wait more than 25 minutes, they give you $25 dollars toward your next flight.

Fast forward through the wonders of Alaska’¦.

On the return flight from Anchorage to Seattle, my sister and I decided to ’œslum’ it and go coach. I did notice that Alaska attendants now call it the’ main’ cabin. We had aisle seats across from each other and no one was in either middle seat, so we were fairly comfortable in the narrower seats that were also leather.  No fancy meal, but we could have purchased an Asian Chicken Wrap or Anytime Chicken Basket for $6. There were complimentary drinks including generic cola and a bag of ’œGourmet’ Party Mix. Not exactly as luxurious as our flight out, but the plane did get us there with a smooth ride and almost on time. We again landed at the North Satellite concourse, so our luggage actually beat us to the claim area.

Overall, both flights were  uneventful-a definite plus for me.

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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me:
Adam Wilkinson

As a resident of Juneau, I have had occasion to fly Alaska frequently (as they have a monopoly on long-distance air travel in Southeast Alaska.) Fortunately, they consistently do an excellent job, so I’m happy to fly with them. I have an upcoming trip to the Midwest on which I’ll be flying Northworst and Delta once I reach Seattle and frankly I’m not looking forward to those segments.

Now if Alaska Airlines would just lower their prices from JNU to SEA, but without competition on the route that isn’t likely to happen.

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