Susan and I arrived at Sacramento Airport’s Terminal B at 10:00am on a Friday morning and parked in the airports only parking garage. At check-in we were processed quickly by a sweet girl working the Alaska Airlines ticket counter, and after each of us checked a bag we headed to our gate for a 11:35am departure time.
Introduction: Washington Escort
Review: Alaska Airlines Domestic Coach – Sacramento To Seattle
Review: Alaska Airlines Regional Coach – Seattle To Bellingham And Back
Review: The Club At SEA – Concourse A
Review: Alaska Airlines Domestic First Class – Seattle To Sacramento
Alaska Airlines 369
Sacramento (SMF) – Seattle (SEA)
Friday, April, 15th
Departure Time: 11:35AM
Arrival Time: 1:20PM
Flight Time: 1hr45min
Aircraft: Boeing 737-900
Seat: 7F, Alaska Airlines Domestic Coach
Susan has MVP status with Alaska Airlines and had a chance earlier to upgrade into first class. Since the flight looked about a quarter empty we decided to take our chances and were hoping for an open middle seat on the Boeing 737-800 narrowbody jet. From the check-in counter you take an escalator up to the Automated People Mover (APM Tram) which transports you to the TSA security at Terminal B. Both of us have TSA Precheck, and we were processed quickly and into the main Terminal B hall at 10:30am. It was 20 minutes before boarding, and we decided to buy lunch and eat it on the plane together. We picked the Dos Coyote’s Mexican restaurant, picked up our food and headed to the gate. Boarding was delayed by an additional 10 minutes and being hungry Susan decide to have half her salad while we waited.
They called boarding after an additional 10 minutes, and we headed down the jet bridge. I glanced at our tickets to confirm we were sitting in seats 7D and 7F, and had to focus my vision. Susan had been upgraded to first class in seat 4A. I was still in 7F against the window. I felt like a rookie for not checking our boarding passes earlier, but was also surprised no one mentioned the upgrade to us at check-in. Susan always being sweet immediately offered the upgrade to me. I told her I was little disappointed that we would not be sitting together, but to enjoy her seat. “Hey, It’s a short flight” I commented. I also asked her to bring my burrito to me after she finish her salad so that I could eat lunch, and she said “sounds good.”
I settled into my window seat 7F with 2 other seat mates. Shortly after sitting down I realized I had left my phone and iPad in the overhead bin in my travel bag. I apologized to my 2 seat mates and during a pause of the boarding process, had them get up and then quickly grabbed my items.
I really like Alaska’s new slimline seats for flights under 2 hours and actually find them comfortable enough on longer hauls. The way they curve in at the lower back base is nice for knee and leg room. I also think the plastic shell on the back cleans up better than leather or cloth, and is probably more sanitary. The literature shelf at the top of the seat works well for hanging personal video players when you’re watching a movie. Some persons complain about the thin cushions, but I’ve never noticed any seating discomfort, even on long hauls.
Even though we boarded a little late, door close, push back, and take off went right on schedule. As we left the Sacramento area we had little turbulence or chop. The flight was smooth. At 15 minutes after takeoff the captain turned off the seat belt sign and the cabin crew started working the cabin. I was offered a drink and pretzels and accepted the pretzels and ordered a Diet Coke. I was also asked if I wanted to order any food off the inflight meal menu, and declined knowing Susan would bring me my burrito.
After finishing my pre-lunch snack, I waited for Susan to finish her salad and bring over my lunch. I waited, and waited and waited. I could see her in first, enjoying herself – and enjoying the inflight meal. After 45 minutes I realized for some reason Susan wasn’t bringing lunch. I also have to be honest that I was a little hungry by this point, and couldn’t figure out why she wouldn’t cart the food over. I would have asked my seatmates to move, again, but I had already put them out once and I didn’t want to be that “pain in the ass.” I was thankful this wasn’t a 5-hour Hawaiian flight – or I would be really fixed. 🙂
The rest of the flight went smooth. It’s really enjoyable flying over Oregon and Washington during this time of year. Everything is so green and it’s all punctuated by white snow covered mountains. As we came into Seattle we flew over Puget Sound and north of the city, with a 180° turn for the airport that really showed off downtown Seattle.
We landed almost exactly on schedule, and the plane taxied over to gate N16 at the N satellite terminal. After exiting the plane I found Susan smiling and waiting for me. She cheerfully said, “How come you never came over to get your lunch?”
Alaska Airlines has a great coach product. The employees seem genuinely happy working for this airline, and it reflects on the service received. The new slimline seats are very comfortable and every seat has a power charger. Not bad for coach.
In the past Delta would always issue flight and MQM credit towards their status levels. The credit received, going both ways, has been diminished over the last couple years and soon enough there probably won’t be any credit going back and forth at all between Delta and Alaska. It will be curious to see how the new Virgin America acquisition changes routes, service and reciprocal treatment between partner airlines.