Trip Report: Alaska Airlines (B737-900ER) Domestic First SEA-ORD

The Details

  • Flight: AS22
  • Aircraft: B737-900ER
  • Class: Domestic First
  • Seat: 3A
  • Route: Seattle-Tacoma International (SEA)-Chicago O’Hare International (ORD)
  • Distance: 1,768 miles
  • Duration: 3hr 23min
  • Departure: 12:20PM
  • Arrival: 5:58PM

The Preflight

After my enjoyable early morning flight from San Diego, I had a three hour layover at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Since I wanted to check-out the new flagship Alaska Lounge in the North Satellite at SEA, I took a 10 minute walk from the B Concourse.

The Alaska Lounge in the North Satellite is located on the second floor above the gate area.

Unlike the other domestic US carriers which do not give first class passengers lounge access, Alaska offers all first class passengers access to their lounges. The entrance was very minimalistic.

Immediately upon entering was a large fire place. I personally loved the interior of lounge which felt very cozy.

There was a good amount of individual sofas arranged along the windows which offered great views of the apron.

To the right of the entrance was the main food area. There was a barista coffee station which served Starbucks coffee.

The drink selection also included Coke, Sprite, orange juice, apple juice, and water.

There was also the classic Alaska Airlines pancake maker.

Additional breakfast carbs included muffins and Danishes.

The only hot food offering was oatmeal served by lounge staff.

Cold breakfast foods included yogurt, granola, and hard boiled eggs.

Due to local COVID-19 restrictions in King County, the self-serve soda machine and coffee machine had been disabled.

The bar was also closed due to the local COVID-19 restrictions.

Each seat in the lounge had a laminated card which was used to indicate if someone was sitting there. Upon leaving, passengers were instructed to flip the card over so that their seat could be sanitized.

There were amazing views of the apron and taxiway from the lounge windows.

With about an hour until boarding, I decided to explore The Centurion Lounge. Access was afforded to me thanks to my AMEX Platinum card. Check-in to the lounge was done via the mobile app which generated a QR code that was scanned at the desk.

Unfortunately, AMEX has decided that due to local COVID-19 restrictions, no food or alcohol could be consumed while in the lounge. It was very depressing to see just how empty the lounge was.

Food was still provided to passengers but it had to be consumed outside of the lounge in the terminal. Two friendly lounge staff stood behind the food bar and placed everything in a brown to-go bag.

I decided to try the Greek chicken wrap which was served with a side salad, tortilla chips, and apple. They also provided a bottle of water and soda. No alcohol was included and only mocktails were available. I had the espresso martini which was a nice boost of caffeine. This food was only be consumed outside of the lounge in the crowded concourse.

I passed by a super sleek new Delta A220 at gate A1.

Since our flight was leaving from the South Satellite, I had to take the underground tram to the gate area. The South Satellite is where all international flights arrive at since the International Arrivals Facility is located within. There were quiet a few wide-bodies including a new Delta A330-900neo at the gate next to ours.

Our B737-900ER, registration N285AK, was delivered brand new to Alaska Airlines in March 2018. AS has a total of 79 active B737-900ERs in their fleet.

Boarding was set to begin at 11:40AM however the gate agents discovered that the jet bridge was extremely slippery. They sent a request for some rugs to place on the floor of the jet bridge and held off on boarding for about 15 minutes. Ultimately, the rugs never showed up and a gate agent stood on the jet bridge to assist any passengers that needed help with the slippery floor.

The Flight

Alaska Airlines has a standardized seat configuration for their entire fleet of B737-900ERs. Each aircraft has 16 first, 24 premium/extra-legroom economy, and 138 economy seats. the 16 first class seats are arranged in a 2-2 configuration between rows 1-4. I was seated in seat 3A. I found this seat to be very comfortable and well padded.

Each seat had 41″ of pitch and was 21″ wide. Alaska does not offer IFE screens on their aircraft. There was a basic literature pocket in the seatback.

Between each seat was a small cocktail tabletop. The recline button was below the table.

A small cocktail table popped out from the center console.

Below was the in seat power. Each seat had an individual 110V outlet and USB port.

The tray table was stowed in the right hand armrest.

The bi-fold tray table had a dedicated cup holder.

When fully opened, it was large and sturdy.

We pushed back at 12:20PM. Just as we were about to begin the taxi to the runway, a flight attendant from the economy cabin walked up to the purser and said that a passenger was non-compliant with their mask wearing. After a brief discussion, the lead flight attendant went back to the passenger and handed him a “yellow-card”. The captain also came over the intercom and stated that masks had to be worn at all times and he would return to the gate if anyone could not comply.

The passenger must have acquiesced as we continued on our taxi to the runway which took another 15 minutes. At 12:37 we began our take-off roll down 16L.

The first 30 minutes or so of the flight was fairly bumpy and the captain announced that we would initially be cruising at 20,000 feet to avoid some turbulence.

Alaska offers inflight Wi-Fi which is streamed from personal devices. I loaded the inflight map on my Samsung tablet.

There were gorgeous views of snow capped mountains as we flew over Okanogan-Wenatchee National Park.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Alaska Airlines has limited their on board service. Food is only available on flights over 670 miles in First class and hard alcohol has been eliminated.

A drink menu was provided in the seatback literature pocket.

Beginning two weeks until 20 hours prior to departure food is able to be pre-ordered. Options included either the fruit & cheese plate or harvest smoked turkey sandwich.

I had pre-ordered the turkey sandwich and the flight attendant confirmed my order before serving it to me.

I found the sandwich to be very dry and the ciabatta roll crumbled apart as I tried to eat it. It was definitely nice to have the Fremont IPA to wash it all down. There was also a small chocolate in the box.

Half-way through the flight, warmed chocolate chip cookies were brought out. They were perfectly gooey.

With an hour and a half until arrival, flight attendants came through the cabin with a snack basket.

They also passed out water bottles to all of the first class passengers.

We had stunning views of the snow covered flatland of South Dakota.

As we neared Chicago, I checked out the narrow forward lavatory. I appreciated the mood lighting and the sleek finishes.

It was a clear winter night in Chicago which gave us great views of the Chicagoland sprawl.

We touched down at 5:58PM local time at O’Hare and had an eight minute taxi to Terminal 3. While the plane arrived at Terminal 3, our bags were actually delivered to the Terminal 2 baggage claim area. Thanks for the ride!

I loved this flight with Alaska Airlines. They are becoming my favorite domestic airline for first class. The seat was comfortable, food delicious, and service exceptional. I would happily fly with them again and look forward to it!

3 thoughts on “Trip Report: Alaska Airlines (B737-900ER) Domestic First SEA-ORD

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