Trip Report: Alaska Airlines (B737-800) Premium ORD-SEA

The Details

  • Flight: AS329
  • Aircraft: B737-800
  • Class: Premium
  • Seat: 9A
  • Route: Chicago O’Hare (ORD)-Seattle-Tacoma (SEA)
  • Distance: 1,755miles
  • Duration: 4hrs 6min
  • Departure: 9:40AM
  • Arrival: 11:59AM

The Preflight

For the weekend, I was heading home to San Diego to spend some time with my college buddies. I had booked this trip as a one-way in paid first class with the intention of continuing to earn status with Alaska Airlines for 2022. I prefer to sit in the last row of cabins and was originally seated in 4A on the B737-900ER. Unfortunately, the night before the trip, I got an alert that the plane had swapped to a B737-800. This aircraft only features three rows of first and I had been involuntarily downgraded to economy albeit “Premium” class.

After an unhelpful call to Alaska Airlines, I decided to show up early to O’Hare in the morning to see if I could be reseated in the class that I had booked. The check-in agent told me that the entire cabin was full and that if one seat opened up, I could have a chance of getting the seat. They did not offer to book me on American Airlines or a later flight. He then told me to check back at the gate during the boarding process for an update.

While Alaska Airlines flights depart from Terminal 3, the check-in counters are located in Terminal 2. The terminal was deserted and there was no line for TSA. Nevertheless, I used the CLEAR line to get a free hand sanitizer travel kit.

There were only two flights scheduled to depart from the G concourse this morning…

Our B737-800 this morning, registration N519AS, was a 12-year-old aircraft delivered to Alaska back in 2009.

My efforts to reclaim a first-class seat were futile as every passenger in rows 1-3 showed up for the flight this morning. Boarding began at 9:10AM first First Class passengers were invited to board first. The gate agent gave me a slip of paper with the phone number for Alaska Customer Care on it so that I could call them after my trip was complete for reimbursement.

The Flight

Alaska Airlines features a total of 30 Premium class and 117 Main Cabin seats onboard their B737-800s arranged in a 3-3 configuration.

Seatmap of the Boeing 737-800

I managed to get seat 9A, the last remaining window seat in Premium class.

Each seat in Premium class offers 35 inches of pitch and 17 inches of width.

The seatback had a literature pocket and tray table.

There were two cup holders on the tray table.

Each seat also offered individual 110V outlets and USB ports.

The legroom was very spacious and I had more than enough space to stretch out my feet on this four-hour flight.

Boarding was completed a short 25 minutes later and we pushed back at 9:40AM. The taxi to runway 28R took just 15 minutes and soon we were off towards Seattle.

Once in the air, I loaded up the Alaska inflight entertainment system on my laptop. There was a limited selection of movies and TV shows available.

Premium class passengers also had a menu provided which listed the beverage offerings on the flight. Alaska had just recently re-introduced hard liquor in their premium cabins during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cabin service began 40 minutes after take-off with Biscoff cookies and drinks. I went with my classic Bloody Mary.

Even though I had been downgraded, my pre-selected breakfast wrap had been loaded. The flight attendant was gracious enough to give it to me with an apology for the downgrade.

Halfway through the flight, the flight attendants came through the cabin with water bottles.

The remainder of the flight was smooth as we passed over the Great Plains.

As we neared Washington, I used the rear Main Cabin lavatory. It was fairly messy inside after three hours of flight.

There were thick clouds over Seattle as usual.

On our approach to SeaTac we had a great birds-eye view of Boeing field and all of their parked B737 MAXs.

We landed at 11:59AM local time in Seattle and had a very short taxi to the gate. Thanks for the ride!

Despite the involuntary downgrade from First to Premium class, I still had an enjoyable flight with Alaska Airlines. I appreciate the open bar and inflight service with a generous seat pitch. After I arrived in San Diego, I did call the Customer Care line and was given a fare different credit of $77.50. In addition, I also get a $75 eCert good for a future flight.

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