I recently returned from a weekend in Seattle. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Emerald City, this trip also served as something of a mileage run.
Alaska and American are currently conducting a promotion in which six flight segments (three on each carrier) earns 6,000 bonus miles with either company's mileage program. If one flies 18 segments (must be 9 with each airline), 27,000 bonus miles will be awarded. As the promotion ends April 15, I will not come anywhere near achieving the top bonus-level. However, I have flown three Alaska segments plus one AA segment. Early next month, I'll fly a round-trip to LA on American, making me eligible for the 6K.
AA 2781 MD-80 SJC-LAX
(Scd) Departure: 4:21 PM Arrival: 5:41 PM
(Act) Departure: 4:26 PM Arrival: 5:37 PM
Directly after school, my mom whisked me out to the airport. The evening traffic on Highway 101 was certainly no worse than average, and we arrived about 45 minutes before my flight's scheduled departure. Still, I was grateful that I had no luggage to check, as the AA check-in line could have easily taken 1/2 an hour to negotiate. I proceeded directly to gate A14, where I was quickly assisted by an agent. The flight was very full, but boarding proceeded expeditiously. Incidentally, the aircraft had the 14F/115Y configuration (with new seats), as opposed to the layout of the ex-QQ planes.
The 50-minute ride to LAX was uneventful. The F/As provided the full can of soda along with the ubiquitous Rold Gold snack-mix.
After landing at LAX, we taxied quickly to gate 37A. We disembarked in an orderly fashion, and I covered the short distance to the Alaska gates.
AS 295 737-400 LAX-SEA
(Scd) Departure: 6:29 PM Arrival: 9:05 PM
(Act) Departure: 6:32 PM Arrival: 10:07 PM
The kiosk check-in worked perfectly as usual, and some seats had opened up on this flight, so I moved to an aisle. Alaska has a plethora of LAX-SEA flights during the evening hours, due to all the aircraft returning from Mexico. If you miss the 6:19 PM flight to Seattle, you just might have to wait a whole ten minutes for the next flight
As the evening ran its course, LAX became congested. By our departure time, the takeoff line was quite long. It was nearly 7:15 PM before we headed down the runway. Once aloft, our progress was further hampered by strong headwinds. Fortunately, I had no trouble passing the time. The seats were comfortable, and the aft magazine rack well stocked. Furthermore, we were actually served a genuinely decent meal.
The entree was a shrimp and chicken dish with tomatoes and onions. It was actually very filling and tasty. It was accompanied by a small salad topped with crisp vegetables, a wheat roll, and a dessert that bore some resemblance to a "devil's food cake." However, I suspect Alaska has a different name for it.
Drinks were provided twice during the flight. Overall, I was pretty impressed, considering this is normally a two-hour journey.
We only encountered a little light chop on our way in to Seattle, and for once, the tarmac was not wet. The weather held up nicely during my two days in Seattle. Among other things, I returned to the EMP music museum. I'm not going to go into to detail on my two days in Seattle, but if anyone has questions, let me know.
Horizon 2161 Dash-8 SEA-PDX
(Scd) Departure: 4:00 PM Arrival: 4:50 PM
(Act) Departure: 4:00 PM Arrival: 4:41 PM
I did see one of QX's new Dash-8 Q400s at SEA, but there were no Q400 SEA-PDX flights that would have met my schedule.
As usual, QX's stylish but tiny boarding areas were overwhelmed, and only standing-room was to be found. Normally, they station coffee and newspapers in their boarding areas, but no such features were visible today.
The flight itself was great. I enjoy the unique noises and vibrations associated with riding on a turboprop, and it's cool to actually see the landing gear come up and down. There was only a little light chop, and we were treated to great views of the Cascades. Despite the full load, our F/A provided each of us with a beverage plus a refill. Not surprisingly, many people took advantage of the complimentary beer/wine. Upon parking at PDX, we were offered candy-cane mints, and the pilot personally thanked each of us for flying.
After arriving in PDX, I made my way from Concourse A to the far-end of Concourse C for my Alaska flight back to San José.
Alaska 316 737-400 PDX-SJC
(Scd) Departure: 5:59 PM Arrival: 7:43 PM
(Act) Departure: 6:01 PM Arrival: 7:37 PM
Again, an uneventful, on-time flight. The flight was pretty full, although a few people still had empty middle seats. There was no wait to takeoff on 28L, and the flight didn't last a second longer than the pilot's estimate of 1hr 23 minutes. Our in-flight snack consisted of a roast beef sandwich with grapes and a chocolate chip cookie. At, San José, we only used the forward door to deplane. In the past, we have always used both doors, but frankly, I think it just makes the process more confusing.