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

The Details

  • Flight: AS744
  • Aircraft: B737-900ER
  • Class: Domestic First
  • Seat: 4A
  • Route: Seattle-Tacoma International (SEA)-San Diego International (SAN)
  • Distance: 1,116miles
  • Flight time: 2hrs 14min
  • Departure: 7:16PM
  • Arrival: 9:44PM

The Preflight

I arrived at the Alaska Airlines check-in counter at Seattle-Tacoma International about three hours before my scheduled departure time of 7:25PM today. There were two counters open and I was immediately checked-in and had my luggage tagged.

Thanks to both CLEAR and TSA Precheck, I was through security in less that five minutes without having to remove my mask as well. CLEAR was handing out individual hand sanitizer and masks to each member as well.

First, I made my way to the AMEX Centurion Lounge which I had access to thanks to my Platinum card. Capacity was restricted to just 25 guests but I had no wait to get into the lounge.

There were only four other passengers in the lounge this evening and there was an abundance of seating choices.

My last visit to the lounge was about two weeks earlier and there was to-go dining only. Today, the buffet was open and there was a lounge attendant who plated all of the food before handing me a tray. The food was delicious and hot options included chicken, mac n cheese, roasted carrots, and cheese polenta. Cold options included a salad, cold noodles, and Dolmas. The bar was open as well.

With an hour until boarding was scheduled to begin, I made my way to the North Satellite where the departure gate was located. Alaska Airlines is the only domestic carrier that gives all first class passengers access to lounges and the North Satellite Alaska Lounge was the carriers flagship one. I made my way up the stairs and into the lounge.

There was an assortment of cold food offerings next to the barista coffee station. Hot options included make-your-own pancakes and a turkey sausage soup. There was also a variety of chips and cookies available.

At 6:35PM I headed down to gate N11 where our flight was departing from. Unfortunately, there was absolutely no views of the aircraft. The load was incredibly light and the gate agents pushed back boarding by 10 minutes to give passengers more time in the gate area.

Boarding began at 6:55PM and pre-boarding (families and those who need assistance) was done first. Then it was active duty military followed by first class.

Our B737-900ER, registration N459AS, was delivered brand new to Alaska Airlines in March 2014. She is one of 40 ETOPS certified B737-900ERS in the AS fleet. Alaska Airlines otherwise has a grand total of 79 B737-900ERs.

The Flight

There were 16 Recaro CL4400 First class recliner chairs on board arranged in a 2-2 configuration between rows 1-4. In addition, Alaska offers 24 Premium and 138 economy seats arranged in a 3-3 configuration.

Each seat was 21″ wide and offered 41″ of pitch. Unlike American and United Airlines, Alaska (along with Delta) does not have a complete divider between the two cabins. I love the comfort of these seats and the padding was excellent.

Alaska Airlines offers the most pitch in their recliner seats than all other US carriers including American, Delta, and United. Like American and United, Alaska has elected to not install seatback IFE screens and instead opt to focus on inflight Wi-Fi streaming.

There was a box in the leg space which restricted the area slightly. I still had enough space to stow my backpack.

In between the seat there was a small cocktail table where a water bottle and sanitizing wipe was waiting for each passenger.

The seat recline button was located in the center console.

Another small cocktail tray was stored in the center console as well.

Below was a 110V outlet and USB port for each seat.

The right armrest was were the tray table was stored.

The bi-fold tray table was sturdy.

One thing that I think Alaska could improve on is adding mounts or stands since they only offer personal device streaming.

At 7:05PM the boarding doors were closed and at 7:22PM we pushed back.

The taxi to the runway took about eight minutes and then at 7:30PM we rotated off of runway 34R.

Once in the air, I loaded up the inflight map on my tablet to track the flight.

Due to COVID-19, Alaska Airlines has cut back their inflight service including food and beverage offerings.

The drink menu was provided to all first class passengers in the literature pocket. Like Delta Airlines, Alaska does not offering hard liquor to their passengers, but they do offer a wider range of beverages than DL (only water).

Food choices included a fruit & cheese plate or a harvest smoked turkey sandwich. Alaska Airlines is currently the only carrier in the US to offer pre-ordering services on all their flight. The pre-order window opens two weeks and closes 20 hours prior to departure.

Service began with a beverage service and I opted for a terrible cabernet sauvignon.

Since I had tried the turkey sandwich already on my previous Alaska flight, I went with the fruit & cheese plate which I had had before the pandemic.

Contents included grapes, apple slices, two slices of Beecher’s flagship cheddar, two slices of sharp cheddar, Brie, crackers, and a chocolate. This was excellent and a much better option than the turkey sandwich in my opinion. The fruit was fresh and crunchy and the cheese remained flavorful despite the dulled taste buds.

We remained at a cruising altitude of 41,000 feet for duration of the flight and did not have the best views of California given extensive clouds over most of the state.

With 30 minutes until landing, flight attendants came through the cabin to distributed warm chocolate chip cookies. They were delicious as always. Interestingly unlike my previous Alaska flights, there was no snack basket offered to passengers today. No additional water bottles were distributed as well.

I also checked out the forward lavatory which was fairly basic.

We began our final approach into runway 27 with the classic views of downtown San Diego.

We touched down at 9:44PM local time and had a quick taxi to the gate. I was surprised to discover that we actually arrived at gate 49 which is in Terminal 2 West because Alaska usually departs from Terminal 2 East.

Thanks for the ride!

This was a perfectly fine flight with Alaska Airlines. They remain my favorite domestic carrier during the COVID-19 pandemic with excellent service, good food, and a selection of drinks. The recliner seats offer the most pitch out of any US carrier and are very comfortable.

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

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