Granted, this may not be a particularly exciting itinerary, but it doesn’t seem as though there have been many AS trip reports lately.
AS 325 SJC-SEA MD-83 N975AS Y Class
Sched Departure: 12:07 Actual Departure: 12:27
Sched Arrival: 14:06 Actual Arrival: 14:26
I used Alaska’s web check-in for this flight, which allows check-in up to 24 hrs prior to the scheduled departure time. I entered my departure city and confirmation code and confirmed there were no sharp objects or firearms in the luggage I had yet to pack.
I arrived at SJC approximately 1 hr prior to departure, printed boarding pass in hand. The very friendly skycap checked my one bag, and I walked the short distance to security. I later felt embarrassed when I realized I had forgotten to tip her. I assume $2 per bag is still standard protocol?
There was no line at the security checkpoint outside the AS/QX boarding area, and I was not searched, frisked or violated in any way. At gate C-14, the monitor showed a twenty-minute delay on the flight due to a late arriving aircraft. Boarding was called at 12:05, and we boarded through both the forward and aft set of stairs of our MD-80.
We took off at 12:45 from runway 30R, using the standard loop departure pattern, which took us back over the SJC VOR. We flew over Redding, Medford, Portland and Olympia and passed the assorted Cascade peaks. We then headed northeast to line up for our approach to runway 34R.
As far as the in-flight service is concerned, we received our choice of beverage along with a snack (a ham, swiss and romaine sandwich accompanied by Alaska’s 70th Anniversary chocolate graham cracker). Subsequently, flight attendants came through the cabin with Seattle’s Best Coffee and a sizable stack of Wall St. Journals.
We landed at 2:20 and taxied to gate D-9. My bag arrived at the lower level claim area approximately fifteen minutes later.
While in Seattle, I spent some time with friends, hiking, biking, and water skiing. I took in a Mariners’ game and was also able to watch the Blue Angels perform during Seafair weekend. There’s nothing quite like the sound of six F/A-18 Hornets roaring overhead at low altitude.
AS 380 SEA-SJC MD-83 N977AS Y Class
Sched Departure: 12:44 Actual Departure: 13:03
Sched Arrival: 14:51 Actual Arrival: 14:58
Arriving at the Alaska ticket counter, I found a sizable line for paper ticket holders and no line at all for the kiosk check-in for e-ticket holders. My bag was tagged, and I was on my way to the redesigned D/N security checkpoint, which now features nine stations. Again, there was no line to clear security.
I proceeded to gate D8-D10 boarding area, where I had a very difficult time finding a seat. Three full flights were scheduled to leave out of three adjacent gates within nine minutes of each other. Somehow, I think flight ops could have done a better job here!
The inbound flight arrived early from LAS at 11:40, but boarding did not start until 12:35. Apparently, a mechanic had been repairing the door handle on the forward lavatory, thus blocking the aisle way. Hey, you can’t make this stuff up!
We took off from runway 16R at 13:18. Once in-flight, beverages and a snack were offered. Today’s offering was a roast beef sandwich with Swiss cheese and lettuce, served with a lemon shortbread cookie. The flight passed quickly, as I was helping the Chinese lady next to me read the Skymall catalogue. Needless to say, American marketing jargon is enough to confuse anyone!
We landed on runway 30R at 14:55 and quickly taxied to gate C-14. The rear of the aircraft deplaned through the tail cone stairs today, which was a treat, especially as there was concurrently an AS MD-80 pulling into the adjacent gate (OK, perhaps not everyone likes getting their ear drums blasted, but I love the sound of high bypass turbofans!). My bag arrived at the baggage claim area approximately twenty minutes later.
Overall, AS gets high marks for these two flights.