Old Cabin Good Service: Trip Report on Alaska Airlines 737-900 (First)

Overall Impression
Alaska Airlines first class was comfortable for the transcon service, however the old cabin meant less pitch in the seat, and this made it uncomfortable when not in recline, forcing passenger to recline there seat.

Booking
Last christmas I needed to get back East to go to my great grandmothers funeral, and was looking for award availability. American Airlines was the first to pop up with “sAAver” award availability. Meaning I could book this flight with a connecting flight from Chicago (ORD) to Albany (ALB) in first all for 25k miles. Thankfully the saver award availability was available on the date I needed, and I was ticketed on Alaska due to American airlines’s partnership with them (which looks to increase due to Alaska joining one world). I originated in LAX so this flight would be top on Alaska’s premium transcon service, so I expected the best.

Check In
Check in was very smooth. Due to my overnight stay at the Marriott, I took the shuttle in, and directed myself to the premium check in. The agent was very helpful, and seemed to really enjoy her job. When asked where the Alaska Lounge was she happily responded with directions, and finished checking me in. Overall the process was very smooth. Unfortunately I don’t have pictures of the check in desk.

lounge
Alaska offers something incredibly important for premium transcon passengers, a lounge. Alaska’s own branded lounge is next to gate 64, it also doubles as a priority pass lounge, and is notorious for not letting priority pass passengers in due to the lounge’s small space. The lounge was clean, and easy to access. The lounge attendant was incredibly friendly and quickly checked me in, telling me about the wifi the lounge provided (which was incredibly fast) and how to access it.


The lounge offered great apron views.

The lounge also offered some small snacks, scones and fruit. As well as an open bar, however I don’t drink so I don’t know the significance of the wine list, or hard liquors. This lounge was good for the experience, however it is nothing compared to other lounges at LAX. Despite the lounge being lackluster, the fact that Alaska offers lounge access is already better than its competition. American, Delta, and United only offer lounge access on their top transcon Premium routes like AA A321T, UA 787-10, and DA 757-200.

Seat
The seat is where this Aircraft really showed its age. I don’t have a picture of the bulkhead, however it was still sporting Alaska airlines Alaskan heritage, with what seemed to be thread in a very distatsful beige and brown color. The seats had a basic domestic recliner color palate. Blue leather. After sitting down in the seat I immediately noticed a huge drawback, the pitch was at an awkward angle where you weren’t sitting up, but you were also not reclined. making it feel like the seat pushed you over. Once the aircraft took off, and recline was allowed the seat became much more comfortable, allowing myself to sit back and enjoy the four hours to Chicago. As the Alaska and Virgin America merger is done new first class seats are being retrofitted to all Alaska’s planes, meaning this problem will no longer persist as increase in pitch is in the new design.


Legroom was no issue on this flight.
Food
Upon sitting down the crew distributed water bottles for the pre departure beverage, in my opinion a basic and easy way to get out of pre departure service, but I also understand the need to not obstruct the single aisle traffic flow. After takeoff drink orders were taken and passed out with warn nuts. An yummy way to start service.
I opted for a ginger ale, an easy drink. During this time our late lunch orders were taken. I had the chicken.
I decided to skip the appetizer as I was not very hungry, it was a salad and my seat mate said it was fresh and tasteful. The chicken was the star of this meal, very moist and very palatable. Despite the chicken being so good I found the rest of the meal to be unimaginative and dull, with no real flavor. A shame really because the chicken was so good. Meal service ended without a hitch, and went well. Being finished in under 30 minutes.

Service and Crew
Crew can often be hit or miss, especially domestic crew but this batch of flight attendants were set on bringing the Alaska brand up, and there quality control was impressive. My glass never fell empty and I was addressed by my first name the whole flight, the attendant never forgetting. Personalized touches like these made the flight memorable, and left a warm feeling inside me when we landed in Chicago. Before landing the purser of the cabin came around passing out chocolate peppermint candies, by the Seattle Chocolate Company (I believe, I know it was Seattle Something. Sorry). Overall I was very impressed with the service onboard and I would happily fly Alaska again if it meant my crew would be this good.


Chicago at night is GORGEOUS.

Final Impression
Despite the seat being old, and small hiccups like the pre departure beverage, I found Alaska airlines to be tasteful, and for the price incredibly worth the 25k American miles. The crew made this flight indelible, and I won’t forget it. I look forward to flying Alaska again soon.

Side note: I would like to write for, “The Points Guy” in College, and I heavily modeled this trip report of off theirs, any feedback is welcome, however please keep it clean and in good faith. Thanks for reading!

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First off, great trip report!

That sounds like a fun job, so I’ll be critical.

The content and details are nice, but if you’re planning to write for a relatively high-end media site, you gotta work on grammar, spelling, and syntax structure.

For example, “Alaska Airlines first class” should have an apostrophe following Airlines.

“christmas” should be capitalized.

“Alaska offers something incredibly important for premium transcon passengers, a lounge” should use a hyphen or a colon to separate “passengers” and “a” instead of a comma.

Those are some of the minor errors, but once again, loving the details you put into this!

Content-wise, it would be nice to have some better images representing the age of the aircraft’s seat. Though, the description you wrote is already great and vivid.

Anyways, nice trip report, it was fun to read.

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Thank you so much for the comments! I was aware about the pictures, but my phone is quite old so it’s difficult to get the best quality pictures, I will definitely implement your ideas into my next trip report! Thank you.

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Really great trip report, it was a great read!

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Alaskan isn’t really my favorite airline, wasn’t too impressed when I flew on them last. Anyways, cool, through trip report! Great that you enjoyed it.

I’m pretty sure that my eyes are deceiving me but is that an United 737 Max boarding in the 3rd pic?

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This is a good trip report, however how long ago was this as there is a max9 in 2 pictures

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That’s exactly why I took the photo! I thought it was a max too. These pictures were all taken “last, last Christmas” so it probably was. And I agree, I’m much more of a United/Delta guy!

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