Random Alaska Airlines Observations

Alaska’s $50 companion certificate which comes with the Bank of America co-branded Visa remains one of the best deals in travel, since it can be used on any fare — from the cheapest up through full fare first, without capacity controls.

Onboard meals have gotten better. Last night’s cod was rather tasty, and the dressing that came with my prawn salad was quite flavorful. And they still serve ice cream sundaes.

The crews are uniformly friendly. That’s just always been an Alaska Airlines thing, and it remains so. But they’re not the most nuanced. This is not a refined product, it’s transportation.

At least they make announcements reserving the forward lavatory for first class, and they use the curtain, but that doesn’t stop passengers from streaming forward and of course the flight attendants don’t say anything.

I like the new generation dig-E-players, but it’s not a replacement for a stable seat-based entertainment system since it can be annoying to hold onto the dig-E-player and watch a movie while the tray table is occupied by.. a meal. And why oh why does Alaska always collect these things with 30-40 minutes left in the flight??

Alaska’s first class seats just aren’t meant for transcon flying. After a long day, followed by 5 hours in that seat, mighty uncomfortable.

Seattle can be a mess. Long lines for first class checkin, a crowded and disorganized checkin lobby, and multiple lines for most passengers to wait in to first check in and then to check bags. Not to mention long security lines, Seattle is one of those airports with hugely variable waits for screening, almost to the extremes of Vegas. I’m no expert in such matters but some airports just seem to handle the same volume of passengers so much better than others.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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