Alaska’s new flagship lounge is huge, comfortable, and offers great views of the runways at SEA
Alaska Airlines has upped their game by opening a huge new flagship lounge at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on July 12. We got to tour the new lounge during a media preview the day before it officially opened.
Plenty of room to sip that coffee
The new lounge is part of a $658.3 million update that the airport is currently building at the North Satellite facility; with the completion of this phase, the work is approximately 1/3 complete, according to Sea-Tac Airport Managing Director Lance Lyttle. Construction got underway back in February, 2017.
The project adds eight gates, 255,000 square feet of space, and several new restaurants and shops to the airport.
Alaska Air captain raises the lucky (or unlucky) Copper River Salmon
â€œThis story again? It feels like Groundhog Day,â€ Blaine Nickeson, AirlineReporterâ€™s Associate Editor (and my good friend) said to me via email when I forwarded the fact that I was going to cover the arrival of the first Copper River Salmon for the eighth year in a row. He just doesnâ€™t get it. Maybe you donâ€™t either, but I am going to try to explain why I look forward to getting up at 3:30am to welcome some fish to Seattle.
Sure, sure, over the eight years the event has been pretty much the same (although this year was the most different). Historically, a bunch of folks show up at Alaska Cargo at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, wait for the first Copper River salmon catch of the year to arrive from Alaska, and then have a cook off in the parking lot between three legit Seattle chefs. This year was different because there was no cook off. I will say that I did miss being able to try the salmon, but really the cook off part of the event was just filler and the real excitement was waiting for the plane to arrive.
Beacon on! The Salmon-30-Salmon.
No question the best year was when I was able to fly up to Cordova, Alaska (on a milk run, in a 737 Combi), watch the fishing boats go out, see the â€œwinningâ€ fish be chosen, fly to Seattle with the said fish to the welcome crowd, and then eat the fish after it was cooked up by three fancy chefs. I think that experience really helps me better appreciate what it takes to get from ocean to tummy (like farm to table, but better).
Even with this year having no flight north and no fancy chefs, it was still awesome and I love going. When I reached out to Francis (who writes for us and is an amazing photographer) to see if he wanted to go with me, he was more than excited to come. Upon seeing Blaine’s anti-fish comments, Francis replied “for some reason I canâ€™t stay away, either.” Blaine was hoping for a different angle for this year’s story… I think I found one my friend, but not sure how you are going to feel about it!
Cathay Pacific’s inaugural departure from Sea-Tac Airport
Cathay Pacificâ€™s new non-stop service from Seattle to Hong Kong launched on April 1 with four flights per week; the service will go daily starting July 1.
The new offering is the only current flight between the two Pacific Rim cities; that should make it a popular option for travelers.
Cathay Pacific went all-out with a launch party at the gate
Cathay Pacific is using its excellent Airbus A350-900 on the route, which is now the airlineâ€™s eighth to the United States and follows existing services to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York (JFK), New York (Newark), San Francisco, and Washington DC.
Loyal readers will recall our 2017 review of Saga Premium (which, at the the time, was called Saga Class) on Icelandair’s venerable 757-200s.
Since then, Icelandair has added several Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets to their fleet (they ordered a total of 16 of the MAX in both the -8 and -9 variants), using them on routes to U.S. destinations on the east coast and upper midwest, along with several European routes.
I flew SEA-KEF on a 757, then returned via Chicago on a 737 MAX 8, as Seattle is, unfortunately, beyond the working range of the MAX 8.
So, two years on, what was it like to fly Saga? Candidly, I was a fan of the last trip, so the memory still felt fairly fresh. My outbound flight was on TF-FIR, aka VatnajÃ¶kull, aka 80 years of Aviation, aka the glacier livery.
This AvGeek was stoked at the opportunity to fly on VatnajÃ¶kull, even though it was parked at a corner gate between two diagonal jetways at SEA, making photos pretty much impossible that day. IMHO, it’s the one of prettiest planes in the sky today, tied for that honor with Icelandair’s Hekla Aurora livery on TF-FIU.
The outbound flight from SEA to KEF was as good as the last time – I was in seat 1A for this flight, which is in a bulkhead row. The seats themselves are the same as we reviewed in 2017. They feel even more dated now, especially when compared to contemporary options even on some domestic US carriers, but they’re still very comfortable and offer a generous amount of recline.