Flight Review: Alaska Airlines First Class – Airbus A320

Alaska Airlines is the fifth largest airline in the United States. Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, they operate a route network around the US, with hubs along the west coast. My flight today was from Los Angeles to Seattle, which is a highly competitive route operated by American Airlines, Delta, Spirit, United and Alaska Airlines. There are 235 flights a week between these two cities, and over 1.2 million passengers per year fly the route.

Airline: Alaska Airlines
Flight: AS1781
Aircraft: Airbus A319 N530VA
From: Los Angeles (LAX)
To: Seattle (SEA)
Date: 8 April 2019
Departure: 08:15
Arrival: 10:03
Flight Time: 1:48
Seat: 1F

I opted to take Alaska Airlines for today’s flight as an airline I’ve not flown on before. I stayed overnight at the fantastic Hilton LAX, located a short ride from Terminal 6, home to Alaska Airlines at Los Angeles.

TSA at Los Angeles was pretty busy this morning, being a Monday morning.

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Alaska Lounge, LAX

After heading through security I made my way to the Alaska Airlines lounge. Alaska are one of the few airlines in the US that offer lounge access on a domestic first class fare, something that frustrates me when flying with other airlines. It’s great to see them giving a little extra to domestic first passengers.

The Alaska lounge is pretty comfortable, albeit a little busy at this time of the week. I found a seat and had pancakes and a bagel in the lounge.

 

Heading to the gate

After breakfast I left the lounge and headed to the gate.  On the way I noticed this cool dog walking area, which occupies a prime position overlooking the ramp!

Boarding

Boarding was very quick, and first class passengers were given priority boarding.

Our aircraft today was an ex-Virgin America Airbus A319.  The interior was very cool, and I noticed on the door a sign saying ‘The Alaska look is landing soon’.  It’s a shame they’re removing this excellent interior, but I look forward to seeing what Alaska do to the cabin.

The cabin

The cabin on this aircraft is still very much the ex-Virgin America cabin. It’s illuminated by purple mood lighting, plush leather seats and a gorgeous clear window at the front of the cabin replacing the cabin wall.

Before pushback we were offered a glass of orange juice.

Into the Western skies

After a short taxi (including a loop around a taxiway due to a paperwork delay) we took to the skies, climbing out over the abandoned neighbourhood of Surfridge. It was built in the 1920s and abandoned in the 1960s as LAX had grown exponentially.

Inflight service

Shortly after takeoff we were given a fruit smoothie ahead of the breakfast service, as well as a cup of coffee.

Next up was a breakfast sandwich – not massively filling but a decent offering in a world of buy on board.

We flew up the west coast, passing to the east of San Francisco, towards Portland OR, finally making our descent into the Seatac area.

Despite the low cloud, we got a good view of Mount Rainier poking through the cloud.

The cloud broke up on final approach and we were able to see the tree lined streets of Seattle below us.

We touched down in Alaska Airlines central, and taxied to the gate.

The verdict

Overall I was very happy with Alaska’s service on this flight. Compared to my experiences of the ‘big 3’ US airlines, Alaska offer a decent service, and a lounge which is a rarity for domestic first class travel these days. A decent seat and fantastic onboard service leave me feeling I’d definitely fly with Alaska again.

1 comment
  1. You were lucky enough to fly on an ex-Virgin aircraft. Our last trip on Alaska First from SF to Cabo was quite disappointing in terms of cabin comfort and service.

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