DEN-SEA-PDX-DEN on AS/QX
I booked a trip on Alaska for a family reunion that took place in Arlington, WA in June 2009. It was more of an impulse buy (and pressured, too) since my family was bugging me to get my butt up for the event. Seeing that I have a lot of frequent flyer miles with Alaska Airlines, it was decided to purchase a ticket on AS rather than on my own airline that I work for. All is good, because I also wanted to fly on a 738 and AS was the way to go. And, the usual rules of non-revving required wearing pants, I was able to wear shorts once again since the ticket was a paid fare.
Alaska Airlines AS677
August 22, 2009
N527AS – 737-890
Boeing 737-800 (winglets)
I woke up at 4:45am for this flight. I took a quick shower and was already packed for the trip the night before. I was excited to be flying on AS and also my first ride on a 738. We left my apartment at around 5:30am and my girlfriend dropped me off at the airport around 6:15am or so. I said my goodbyes to her then went to the AS ticket counter to re-print my boarding pass and went to the A concourse security to get cleared. It was a breeze! After clearing security, I went to Chef Jimmy’s Bistro for breakfast. It was okay, not the best but expensive, and not exactly impressive….. I wouldn’t recommend the place….
The aircraft (N527AS) pulled up to A51 a tad bit late and we pushed back late. Boarding was smooth and quick after all so it made up for some time. The aircraft looked like it was just delivered; very clean and smelled clean, too. During pushback, someone in several rows behind me had a ticket issue and they had to stop pushing back to solve the issue with the FA’s and the Captain. The cockpit door was open while the issue was being resolved. The CSA’s were outside A51 waiting to see if the plane needs to come back to the gate or if it is going to go. Seems like we were a go after 10 minutes of being idle and still on the towbar…. Very strange to see happen. We finally disconnected from the towbar and we were off for runway 25.
The flight itself was pretty good, smooth and very beautiful looking out the window. I had my first taste of Jones Pure Sugar Cola. It was quite different from Pepsi and Coke that I normally drink. I think I will switch to Jones from now on as it was very, very good. There was no Buy-on-Board offered as I wanted to try one of them; however I was surprised AS still serve the snack tidbits. I was disappointed about no BOB but it did save me $6. There was not much turbulence on the way to SEA. However, the turbulence I did encounter was that another pax randomly plopped herself in the vacant middle seat, just to wake me up while I was sleeping during the last half of the flight. WTH?! The woman was asking me so many questions, seeing that I am originally from Washington State, about the mountains, Puget Sound, etc etc….WHILE I WAS TRYING TO SLEEP!!! (Pardon my frustration, but I worked the night before…getting off at 2am!) While on final approach, I noticed the landing pattern was going to be coming in from the South. So I figured we were going to land on the one of the older runways but we actually landed on the new 3rd runway. It was a nice and smooth landing, although the taxi time was a bit longer than usual in SEA due to the fact that the other runway was under renovation.
N527AS at Gate A51 in Denver.
Left wing of N527AS
Tower Road! Hello, F9!
F9’s Fritz the Mountain Goat taking off along with us?
The right wing over the Front Range after the first turn…
The winglet… note the flash of the winglight strobe! Taken on my Blackberry…
Mt. Adams, I believe…
The start of descent in Washington State….
Mt. St. Helens…
After arrival into SEA, another company aircraft proudly displays the Proudly All Boeing logo under the cockpit windows….
August 25, 2009
Port Orchard, Washington - Hwy 16/Sedgwick (Union 76 Gas station) location
My Grandfather drove me to the pick-up site. The Bremerton-Kitsap Airporter arrived 5 minutes late. The driver was a bit lazy and left 15 minutes later than we were supposed to. Made a lot of the pax fumed for the late arrival at SEA. I didn’t tip the guy since he wasn’t really doing his job….. and was also rude to the other travelers.
Horizon Air QX2163
August 25, 2009
DH4 – Q400
I checked in online the day before and paid $15 for 1 bag (box, actually…) to bring venison back to Denver. I had called AS to inquire why I couldn’t purchase the $100 FC upgrade online, they were puzzled why I couldn’t and found that strange. AS suggested to go to the airport and pay when I check-in, although seats were a-plenty in FC. Anyway, when I arrived at SEA, I went to the AS ticket counter that was like an open space. I remember this was a part of the Airport of the Future project when I was working at AS. It is too bad that I did not stay at AS long enough to see this materialize, but it looks nice however. I checked in my bag (box) and requested for the FC upgrade. I was told by the ticket agent that they were not allowed to let me purchase the $100 upgrade for my PDX-Denver flight and that I would need to pay it down there. I asked if there were seats still available for upgrade and the agent told me there were 4 left and that I would be absolutely fine getting one upon my arrival into PDX without any problem. I was very confused on why I can’t even get a FC upgrade in SEA on the way back to Denver from PDX which was my connection point there, this was the main reason as to why I was flying on AS in the first place…. Go figure!
So, instead of roaming the airport, I opted to go into the Alaska Airlines Board Room. The day passes were $30 and I paid the rate to enter. The folks who ran the Board Room were nice. I spent the entire time in the Board Room but I was not overall impressed with the lack of food selections in there. Basically all it was only bagels, muffins, yogurt, hot chocolate, coffee and soda. View was great, however… I also spotted the new light rail doing test runs real slowly, it is nice to see the light rail progressing!
N793AS at gate D2. Taken from upstairs of the Alaska Airlines Board Room.
Once again, Fritz! Taxiing to the runway for his return to Denver…
Ok, here is the first pic of the Light Rail going REAL, REAL slow…testing mode…
I boarded the flight from the rear of the aircraft, seeing that I was seated 28F. I also spotted my one and only checked box… that was cool to see! The flight on QX was bumpy for my first ever Q400 ride. It was good nonetheless. I sat next to a woman who was very nervous about flying, so my pictures on QX was very limited as you can see. The one thing that was much unexpected was the service onboard this particular flight: I received a drink, of course but I also received an Applesauce Doughnut provided by Top Pot Bakery based in Seattle. I did not eat it but, I saved it for my girlfriend. It was a pleasant surprise to see snacks on Horizon still! (My girlfriend later did not like the doughnut, then… I tried it… Sorry to say… )
The QX forward fuselage of N406QX…
The QX tail…
My one and only checked box in the aft pit…
The engine pylon of N406QX. Sorry about the quality of the picture…the window was a mess…
Alaska Airlines AS684
August 25, 2009
N588AS – 737-890
Boeing 737-800 (winglets and lei)
Remember I inquired about getting a FC upgrade? Well…. Turns out that the seats were then GONE! I told the PDX agent what the AS Reservations Rep on the phone and the SEA agent told me. The PDX agent then told me that could have been paid for in Seattle and I could have gotten a FC seat. She looked very confused why I was not allowed to get one. I was NOT happy with what I found out. That is not “North of Expected” to me…. Again, go figure! So I still ended up with my regular seat of 28F.
I got the Jones Cola and a BOB, which was fantastic! The $6 “Anytime Pack” picnic pack was offered. I was hungry! (Sorry, no pics on that…) The BOB was a bit pricey for what I paid for. Upon descent into DEN, we circled a cloud 360° before landing in DEN. I thought this was very unusual… Anyone know why? Here is the flightaware link to the flight. You’ll have to zoom in to see the loop just Northwest of DEN…. Weird….
N558AS at gate C2 in PDX. This is also an ETOPS aircraft…
Chester sporting his lei on 558….
Left wing of 558… (I couldn’t believe I also took a pic of some guy’s ass on the bottom left…WTF?! Thanks to my girlfriend for pointing that out! LOL!)
Here at PDX, I spotted Carl the Coyote (N920FR) at gate C8…
After take-off out of PDX, these mountains were beautiful to look at….
In conclusion, the trip was good overall. It was nice to see family once again sans the nasty migraine the day after I arrived. I was impressed with QX and their inflight service and the nice surprise of a doughnut. The only downside was the FC upgrade confusion. It seems like it is also very difficult to get a paid FC upgrade since all of the MVP’s take them all. This won’t stop me from flying on AS again as I have another flight to take with them in December 2009. I hope they won’t disappoint me again on the upgrade….
How I rate this trip…. (Criteria I used: 1 = worse; 10 = best)
Booking: 10. It was pretty easy to get what I was looking for, including a Q400 segment.
Check-In: 8.1. I couldn’t do the FC upgrade and was confused on how to get it…. WTH?!
Staff: 9.7. The FA’s were awesome. The ground staff were… ok, but the FA’s made the grade!
Food: 8.6 The Buy-on-board was really, really good. But a lil bit overpriced, should have been $4.
Board Room/Lounge: 6. It was not what I expected it to be…. And $30 was too much….
Total score: 7.0. (Sorry, but I had to take the lack of Dig-E-Player into account. AS could have made some extra cash here…)
I hope you enjoyed this trip report on AS and QX. Thanks for reading!
My other trip reports:
DEN-SLC-SEA-OAK-DEN On WN (by AirframeAS Jun 7 2009 in Trip Reports)
[Edited 2009-08-31 13:55:43]