My wife and I flew on Alaska Airlines from Seattle to Phoenix for the NASCAR races at ISM Raceway. We flew in first class on flight 930 for a distance of 1106 miles and a scheduled flight time of 3:05. The aircraft was a newer Boeing 737-900 with 16 first class seats.
Alaska Airlines deeply appreciates the sacrifices made by those who serve and their families. On Veteran’s Day, my post was on Alaska Airlines honoring those who serve.
SEATTLE AIRPORT TIP: Runway construction is still in progress at Seattle Tacoma International Airport. Takeoffs and landings are subject to ATC delays so you should allow extra time for connecting flights.
The 16 first class seats are the old-style recliner seats with a pitch of 41 inches and a seat width of 21 inches. Alaska Airlines does have a new first class seat which is currently being retrofitted on the Alaska Airlines Airbus fleet from the Virgin America merger. The seats feature individual 110 VAC and USB power ports. Inflight entertainment (IFE) is from streaming IFE server to your device. The obvious advantage to streaming to your device is you don’t have to contend with a broken seat-back IFE screen. The console between the seats also features a pull-out beverage shelf. This aircraft had the Boeing “Space Bins” overhead compartments which are large enough to hold six roller bags.
We had two excellent flight attendants in first class, Lulu and Antonio. The service started with Mimosas during the boarding process.
After passing through 10,000 feet, the service began with Antonio’s hot towel service and Lulu taking drink and lunch orders. Warm nuts are served with the first call drink service. Since this was a short-haul flight, lunch was a single-plate service with a choice of a hot turkey sandwich or chicken salad.
Prior to descent, Lulu passed the snack basket through first class. This is a welcomed change at Alaska Airlines because the snack basket was previously only on transcon and Hawaii flights.
Onboard Internet and Inflight Entertainment (IFE)
The IFE onboard Alaska flights uses a streaming IFE server to your device. The service uses the GoGo entertainment app which is available for free on your app store for IOS or Android. This free streaming IFE is available to all passengers on board and not just first class.
INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT TIP: Install the GoGo entertainment app before your flight.
If you don’t have a device, you can use the Alaska Airlines entertainment tablets that are available on long-haul flights. These tablets rent for $10.00 and are free for first class and Alaska elite MVP75K passengers. I prefer using my own device because there are more movie and TV selections available on the IFE server than on the tablets. Airbus aircraft that have not gone through the interior retrofit still have the seat-mounted entertainment screens. These will be gone as each Airbus completes the interior retrofit.
Alaska Airlines is currently using the GoGo ATG4 internet and they are switching over to GoGo 2ku satellite-based internet. About 30% of the aircraft have the satellite internet with the entire fleet (except 737-700) conversion by the end of 2020. Pricing for the internet is $6.00 per hour or $10.00 for the entire flight. If you use the Alaska Airlines Visa credit card, you will receive a 20% credit for onboard purchases.
Texting service is free for devices using iMessage, Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp services.
The flight was typical in first class on Alaska Airlines. Our cabin crew was outstanding, providing frequent and attentive service. I welcome the upgraded food service with a meal choice and snack basket service on short-haul flights. The streaming IFE has a selection of over 200 movies along with TV shows and other genres of entertainment. I am looking forward to Alaska Airlines completing the retrofit of mainline aircraft to the new first class seat. Currently, the interior retrofit program is working on the Airbus aircraft acquired from the merger with Virgin America.
While we were in Phoenix, we stayed at the Waldorf Astoria – Arizona Biltmore hotel. You can read my hotel review here.