As you may be aware, there was an amazing deal to fly Alaska Airlines in first class by buying IcelandAir SagaClub miles. I’ll spare the details of that as IcelandAir has since suspended award bookings on Alaska Airlines. I recently took the trip I booked, after waiting for several months. Although both good, my experience on the two flights were quite different.
My outbound leg was from LAX to YVR (Vancouver, BC) in seat 2F on a 737-700. I was one of the first to board and was warmly greeted by the flight attendant. Shortly after I took my seat I was asked for my coat and if I wanted red or white wine, or water. I didn’t see the bottle, but it was a fairly typical chardonnay.
Before meal service, I asked for a Jack Daniels and Coke. I was given a glass of Coke with almost full can, and a mini-bottle of Jack Daniels, as I expected. The lunch served was a warm turkey and cheese sandwich on a herb focaccia with a mixed green salad. The salad with vinaigrette was good, but the sandwich was a bit salty. I didn’t quite care because I had a cloth napkin (with button hole) and metal utensils. A small chocolate was served on the tray for dessert. It was egg nog flavored and it was, quite frankly, disgusting.
Overall the service was roughly on par with what I expected. I was addressed by name once before meal service, but it was read off the manifest. I’m not sure if I would have preferred to be anonymous or want to be called by name more. I did feel like it was a token effort since they were reading the manifest.
Even though I was addressed by my name in the same manner on my return flight, the service was somewhat different. Either I was late getting to the boarding area or they started boarding early and I boarded with the first economy class boarding group. As I was boarding I noticed it was Alaska Airlines’ 737-400 Spirit of Alaska theme plane. One thing I really like about Alaska Airlines is their themed liveries. It took a little while before the flight attendant was able to pick up my coat from me and offered water. No wine pre-flight for some reason, but I didn’t mind.
I had the same drink as on my flight to Vancouver. I wasn’t given the can of soda nor the mini bottle, but my drink was refilled more often (more often than at some restaurants I’ve been to). I certainly did not mind being asked if I wanted refills.
The flight description on Alaska Airlines website said the meal service was a snack, despite the 6:30 PM departure time. I thought it was odd but was not about to complain. I found out shortly after beverage service that a full dinner was indeed being served. It was essentially the same meal, but a chicken breast instead of the sandwich. The chicken was still moist and tasty. I did notice that the flight attendant took his time opening the sealed container of dressing. I thought that was a nice touch. I’m always extra carefully when opening sealed things on a flight for fear that it will spill on me or others around me. This time the chocolate was mint flavored; thank goodness it wasn’t egg nog again!
The seats on both planes had sufficient padding but I felt like I had a little less legroom than I did when I sat in the exit row (pictured below) the last time I flew. I did like the fact that I didn’t feel I was too big for the seat, which is not the case when I sit in the back of the plane.
Overall, I enjoyed my experience up front. Besides the lack of IFE, I really have no complaints with the flights. Could it have been better? Of course it could have, but I knew what Alaska Airlines’ product is like and my expectations were met (if not exceeded because of the unexpected meal on my return flight). Bottom line, if I had another chance to take a trip in first class for the same cost as a ticket in economy, I would do it again without hesitation.