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SEA-LAX-SEA On Alaska... The Best, Of Course  
User currently offlineN400QX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (14 years 10 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 4272 times:

JUL 28 07:32

Well, we got to the airport about 06:30 (way too early, but I like watching the ramp activity). Walked directly to Concourse D at SeaTac, security was uneventful and there were no lines. It was just starting to pick up. We got to the gate, D5, and found a seat. The gate agents were sitting behind the podium watching the ramp so we didn't know they were there. They popped up once the aircraft was taxied from wherever it was kept overnight. It was the first flight of the day on N962AS, an Alaska MD-83. No delays, right?
We got our boarding passes printed up and I was dismayed to find out I was placed in 9D. Y Class.  Sad That was strange, as I had expected the F Class upgrade. Apparently my mom had priority (HA!) and there was only one seat left in First. Oh well.
The gate agent informed us at about 07:15 that our flight would be delayed for 20 minutes due to "ATC". I was skeptical after watching that show on MSNBC (I know, silly me.. its the media after all). So I flipped on my ATC radio and tuned to SEA ATIS to find out that there were, in fact, gate holds for aircraft departing to LAX. Quickly I switched to Clearance Delivery and caught the readback of my flight, Alaska 288, and then the controller told the FO that we'd be wheels up precisely at 08:06 Lima. Sure enough, once we had boarded, the captain informed us that we were in a gate hold of sorts and that we would be in the air at 08:06. And we were.
We flew the SUMMA 5 Departure and we were on our way to LAX. The flight was uneventful until just passing Lake Tahoe when engine number two suddenly lost power, quieted down very noticably, the nose came up, and we banked. I could feel the deceleration and figured they were messing around with the engine, but after about a minute or so I was wondering. But, alas, I finally heard it spool up, the nose came down, we levelled out, and I could feel us accelerating again. It was foggy in LA and we landed uneventfully on 24R and taxied to gate 32. I was met by a friend from school who is in LA for acting and modeling and we went for coffee (coffee is better in Seattle, they had no idea what they were doing at the cafe I went to) then Santa Monica (the Pier) and went to her Venice Beach condo for a bit. Venice Beach is... interesting to say the least. Then we went to Long Beach and went to the hotel.
In the morning, we got a taxi to the Queen Mary where we boarded the Catalina Express Starship Express, a high speed catamaran that runs to Avalon.
We had a nice relaxing weekend on Catalina except when my watch went missing. Hmm. No idea where it went, but I saw a nice Breitling in Flying Magazine that I'll bug my mom for. hehe.

JUL 31 18:31
ALASKA 281 err ALASKA 501 (19:26)

We hopped the Starship Express in Avalon for the return trip to Long Beach. Then we got on the Metro Blue Line train.

Big mistake.

About 10 minutes into the train ride we come to a screaching halt. Some idiot ran in front of the train ahead and made quite a mess. So much for the 18:31 flight to Seattle.

After about an hour of delays on the train, we finally make it to LAX. The gate agents, I have found, are much nicer in Seattle. Ours had quite an attitude but did, thankfully, get us on the next flight. It, too, was delayed.

N969AS came to the gate very late (I didn't even notice the time because of the earlier stress, we missed the dinner flight so I had to run to BK to get a burger-- ick-- and had barely enough time to get my triple grande caffe mocha extra hot with whip that wasn't extra hot before we boarded). I had ample reading material with the Wall Street Journal and Flying Magazine next to me and the flight went by really fast. We arrived in Seattle at 23:30 or so on 16R, taxied into the same gate we departed from, D5. Drove home as quickly as possible and came to the airliners.net chat room.  Smile

I guess even the best of vacations can end on a sour note.

Look for my report on a SEA-LAS flight later this month.

8 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineDeltaOwnsAll From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1173 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (14 years 10 months 4 days ago) and read 4185 times:

Nice report, looks like I missed you by one day as I flew out of SEA on the 29th. I have a stupid question...where did you get the ATC radio? Also...does Alaska upgrade for free from any fare if you are with their Elite program?

User currently offlineN400QX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (14 years 10 months 4 days ago) and read 4186 times:

Oh-- I was originally to fly out on Sunday, but that got changed. I got my ATC radio(s) from Radio Shack. I took my PRO-94 (made by Uniden -- $200), but I think the PRO-71 (also by Uniden -- $80) is much better for ATC.

And I'm not quite sure how Alaska upgrades for free... I think it has to do with the MVP or Gold thing. Knowing a few airline people (as I do) always helps, too.  Big grin But flying Alaska, first isn't a whole lot better than coach.... they probably have the best coach class in US commerical aviation.

User currently offlineDeltaOwnsAll From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1173 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (14 years 10 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4176 times:

Ah, cool, thanks for the info. I have another stupid question...how do you know what frequency to tune into to listen to the ATC?

User currently offlineEIPremier From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1550 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (14 years 10 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4175 times:

Great report!

Just out of curiosity, what kind of breakfast did you get on the flight down?

I have to agree with you regarding customer service staff at LAX. I have dealt with agents representing a number of different airlines at LAX, and my conclusion is that the agents are invariably rude.

However, the AS staff at SEA are some of the best in the industry  Smile

User currently offlineN400QX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (14 years 10 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 4168 times:

A good site to find a list of freqs for an airport is http://www.airnav.com.

I knew I missed something.  Smile
Breakfast on the way down was pancakes wrapped over spiced apple squares with scrambled eggs with chives. Fresh fruit was a banana and also got a blueberry muffin and two after-meal mints. Alaska has the best airline food of any airline I've flown.

And I agree- the Alaska people in Seattle are the most helpful I've ever talked to... thats not just the gate agents, but the Seattle-based flight crews as well. I got to chat with the pilots after the flight and they were really nice and I found out that the first officer took lessons at my home airport (S50). Flying them is a pleasure, unlike a few airlines I could name.

User currently offlineDeltaOwnsAll From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1173 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (14 years 10 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 4161 times:

Can you use the ATC radio while in flight without disturbing the communications in the cockpit?

User currently offlineN400QX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (14 years 10 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 4152 times:

Yes, technically you can, but it is against the law. Its a no-no. I only use it in the terminal and the plane before the doors close (all electronics have to go off when the door closes, all radios have to stay off until the door opens). It doesn't work very well in a big metal tube anyway.

But if you don't mind having an unexpected appointment with a Federal magistrate.... Big grin

User currently offlineDeltaOwnsAll From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1173 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (14 years 10 months 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 4149 times:

Lol, ok, if i disappear...you will know what happened to me ;p jk...would never screw with that.

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