An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-900ER with special livery sitting next to the Museum of Flight
What do you get the company that already has all the cool toys? A special livery of course! Last week, Alaska Airlines unveiled their special Happy Birthday to You Boeing livery (it is really called the Celebration of Boeing). But this is not just any birthday… this is Boeing’s 100th birthday.
The event took place in the parking lot, just next to the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field (aka King County International Airport). There were about 700 people who attended the event including quite a few VIPs.
An American Airlines Boeing 737-800 – Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren | JDLMultimedia
Recently, I had the chance to fly pretty similar flights from Seattle to Puerto Rico and back on Delta Air Lines and then American Airlines.
I had not flown on two domestic airlines back-to-back with so much the same, and I found there to be a pretty stark differences.
To San Juan, I took two Delta Boeing 737-900ERs with the newest interior (one was only a few weeks old). I flew from Seattle to Atlanta (shocking), then on to San Juan. On the way home, I took two American 737-800s. One had the Boeing Sky Interior cabin, but still shared entertainment screens. The second was an older 737-800, with no sky interior and also shared screens (but more on that later). I flew out of San Juan, through Miami, and then on to Seattle.
The cost of the tickets were exactly the same: $236 each way. I also earned Alaska Airlines miles for both flights, so I didn’t care about miles on either, nor did I have any status [update: I did not realize that Delta only gave me 50% Alaska miles vs American’s 100%. Still knowing this, it doesn’t change any of my choices or opinions since I am not much of a miles guy]. I was also in window seats and had similar seat-mate setups.
I went into these flights with no expectation of doing a story, but the fact that on similar flights, there was an obvious winner, I became motivated. And yes, you will have to wait until the end to see which airline won — no cheating!
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.
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.