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intsim
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Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 4:54 am

Alaskan Aloha: Alaska Airlines MSO-KOA

Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:52 am

Alaska Airlines


06Mar12

MSO-SEA Q400, Ship 436
SEA-KOA B738W, Ship 529

19Mar12

KOA-SEA B738W, Ship 531
SEA-MSO Q400, Ship 402


Cons:
Single Aisle can be tight.
I felt bad for the last few aisles around the bathrooms when lines formed. Discounted seats anyone?
Prop after 5hr flight in turbulence can be more bothersome.
No head rest extensions on the Q400 can be uncomfortable if you are taller and want to shut your eyes.


Pros:

I haven't walked away from an airline experience this relaxed in a long time.
The biggest relief was knowing that when we checked in we did not have to worry about fitting into any seat on the

airplane.
There were three bathrooms for the back of the 'bus'. (Explained later)
Warm, friendly, committed air crews that enjoy their job.
Bags only $20 each. Seems pretty fair for 50#. I am glad I am no longer a tosser.
Meals (Buy on Board) looked very good for very good price compared to filler for same $6-7 at other airlines.
Minimal Nickle and Diming, good value for the money.
Flight times changed so you can fly home in one day versus a red-eye adventure.



Trip Reports:

This was the first time I have flown on Alaska Airlines Mainline. I figured by my Horizon experiences we would have a clean plane and not too much hassle. Not to mention the ability to use the Companion Fare to Hawaii immediately when you get the Alaska Airlines branded credit card. If you reasonably need extra time to get on the airplane it seems Alaska Airlines is accommodating.

The Alaska Horizon MSO-SEA experience was nice. Two tall people and a 1 1/2-year-old can fit in a Q400 quite well. It is nice that the seats do not recline. The ala cart service worked for our carry on car seat to be used on the next flight.
We had a three hour lay over in Seattle. I missed the giant windows over looking the runways because I thought we just
wanted to get settled by the gate. Oooops. The N Concourse carpets were pretty dirty for 9am. It was a large area with
minimal seating so I wondered if people just stretch their legs over there while the eat food...

SEA-KOA was my first time putting a car seat into an airplane. The return worked better when I got the car seat to wedge in under a raised head rest. This kept the little ones feet a little further back from the seat in front of her. On the way to Kona a kid was in the seat in front of her. His mother helped him recline which really limits the legroom. The car seats need to face forward. Our child is tall as well. It was also helpful to bring a receiving blanket for the child to rest
their head on to minimize neck strain. We ping ponged the child back and forth, she did pretty good on her longest flight yet.

The nice thing about Alaska Airlines is the legroom. I did not expect to fit so well into their chairs. It was a little
hard sitting on the chair but that is at least partly because of my issues. Knee room was great. I felt like I was 15 and
on a Delta jet again.

The SEA-KOA flight took a little longer than normal due to head winds. We had a light chop for a good portion of the trip. The crew was great. It is amazing to see a better attitude on your flights. It really shows in the staff and customers
alike. I think it is best to sit on the left side of the airplane so you get a great Big Island view upon arrival.

KOA-SEA was a quick jaunt. 11am departure brought us to Seattle in time to catch our Missoula flight. This is so much better than doing red-eyes. 12 hours from leaving for the Kona airport to our home in Missoula. 9 hours in transit on Alaska Airlines. Not bad when I have done KOA-DEN in what 7 or 8 hours with a layover and another 1.5 hr flight plus driving. It was nice arriving at the airport not worrying about trying to get better seats. We knew our seats would be just fine.

The people in front us made agreeable comments when another passenger said something about it being a bus. I laughed because if they want to be on a bus I am sure a few people could recommend an airline to them. I did vocalize a louder comment about how nice it was to have such good legroom. The lady reclined into my wife's legs but once the husband saw what was going on she put her seat up. The people in front of us were very nice after our daughter kicked the crap out of there seats off and on for 5 hours. Her tummy was bothering her so she was a little extra contorty... It always amazes me when you engage people and apologize how friendly they get. I hope our daughter didn't cause any ill will to future Alaska Airlines travelers...

Again, SEA-KOA had very friendly and safety minded flight crews. The pilots let a rambunctious 4 year old play with the
intercom.Then upon running up the aisle one of the flight attendants honed in on him because one of the aft doors was open. I missed getting a window picture of another Alaska arrival just after we pushed back. It had the classic Kona lava scene and everything! The flight was mostly smooth with occasional bumps and a jet stream crossing coming into Seattle.

SEA-MSO put us on the Griz Alaska Horizon themed airplane. That was exciting getting to fly in her home. I have flown in 402 a couple of times now. The first time in this paint scheme. Night time made getting pictures of 402 more challenging. The taxi out was quick as was the flight. we had a more moderate chop the first half hour which caused the in-flight service to not happen. We had one good bump around which after a longer travel day was a little more bothersome but not the worst I have been in.  



Overall Impression of Alaska Airlines:

I don't know the ins and outs of Alaska Airlines but their employees represented the company very well. It appears that
Alaska Airlines doesn't try to squeeze the most they can out of you then under deliver. I really enjoyed flying with them
and will look to do so on future trips.

It seems like Alaska Airlines could make a pretty good go with their culture and the 787.

I hope if there ever was a merger or such that the culture would not get lost. It is not in their interest to be bought
out.

I talk them up a lot and it seems a lot of people are familiar with Alaska Airlines. At least in Kona.






General Trip Information:

Kona was nice. It was about the only sunny spot most of the time we were there from what I heard. There were a few service failures during the trips that I had to shrug off. I see why people get loud and pushy to get their way.

I was the guy who left the stroller in the rented minivan. Luckily the rental car driver was very helpful, along with the
guy who got the stroller out of the van. I did make sure to tip them. It made up for the 45min wait to get the rental due
to staffing shortage.

The Big Island seems to be coming back in the area of tourism.

Java on the Rock.  (Put your phone on vibrate, take your calls to the parking area, wait to pick your seat until you have ordered, and unattended food will have a flock of birds around it in no time) And please leave a tip, the staff always
seems very good.

The Eclectic Craftsman has interesting finds. They are in the Kona Inn shopping area by Donkey Balls.




N436QX leaving Seattle after dropping us off safely and comfortably.


N529AS being prepared at Seattle N Concourse.



Little did I know she would take me home. Snow on the ground around Seattle but had some nice areas poking through.


My little helper.


Ahhhh Kona!


N531AS ready to take us to Seattle.


Not a bad looking airplane at all!


Kona terminals and a winglet.  

Ready to go after a seat malfunction.


402 flew me again safely, Go Griz!  

Edit to fix some spacing issues...

[Edited 2012-03-21 19:54:25]
 
User avatar
Kaphias
Posts: 700
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 6:29 am

RE: Alaskan Aloha: Alaska Airlines MSO-KOA

Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:29 am

Glad to see a new AS customer who had a great experience. Thanks for the report!  

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