Alaska’s New Look, New First Class Menu Options

In order to start our adventure, we grabbed an Alaska Airlines flight to IAD Washington Dulles and had the pleasure of experiencing a new first class concept that was being rolled out.

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Doha to Dallas, Qatar 777 Business Class
Dallas to Seattle, American Airlines 737 First Class

Because we had to switch flights, we needed to book a flight to DC ASAP. Luckily fares on Alaska were pretty cheap and we snagged a flight the day before and got in around 6pm. The flight was testing out a new first class meal concept, and they were offering a “small plate/tapas” style menu, and since they were testing it out, the flight was fully stocked with 16 of each option. That way, everyone got to make a choice and have it honored.

Alaska Airlines new menu

Alaska Airlines new menu

Alaska also recently rebranded all of their marketing materials, and the entire plane has a new look except for that hideous carpet wall that has years and years of dust and germs and nasty stuff collecting on it.

Alaska's new color scheme and design

Alaska’s new color scheme and design

Alaska's new color scheme and design

Alaska’s new color scheme and design

Alaska's new color scheme and design

Alaska’s new color scheme and design

The starter was quite tasty, but it was hard to sop up all the balsamic and olive oil because of the shape of the plate, but it’s really hard to go wrong with caprese anything.

Alaska Small Plate Starter

Alaska Small Plate Starter

Small plate options from Alaska

Small plate options from Alaska

We opted for the salad, the fruit and cheese, and the cod.  The cod plate, I must say, was arguably the most disgusting thing I’ve ever eaten on a plane in my entire life.  It was cold, and the potatoes had a consistency of wax paper and sand.  You could tell that it was cooked, reheated, frozen, and then reheated in an airplane oven.  Of all the people on the plane, only one person finished it.  Even the flight attendants tried it and found it disgusting.

There was a bit of confusion with the dessert, and I think that’s because this entire process was new for the flight attendants.  We finished dinner service about 90 minutes into the flight (4 hours to go) and there was no dessert.  I went up and talked to the flight attendant and said “Hey, wasn’t there a dessert on the menu?”  She replied that there was, but they were going to serve that 30 minutes prior to landing…

That seemed a bit off to me, because 30 minutes prior to landing they are supposed to be cleaning everything up and getting ready to land the plane.  At this point in the flight there was also supposed to be another drink service with hot nuts.  And also a snack basket… So, I posed a simple question. “From a passenger standpoint, don’t you think it would be a good idea to give us the dessert now with our meal, and then in about an hour or two give us some hot nuts mid flight, and then perhaps an hour before landing give us a run of the snack basket?  To, you know, properly space out the options?”

Well, this caused quite the stir as all four flight attendants had a meeting in the front galley for about 10 minutes trying to figure out how best to do the meal service.  Shortly afterwards, the desserts were served, and so amazingly worth the wait!

Alaska's small plate dessert

Alaska’s small plate dessert

The dessert, in stark comparison to the cod, was unbelievably tasty.  Sooooooo good!

 

About 90 minutes later hot nuts and a drink were offered and then one hour before landing the snack basket was brought out.

Alaska Airlines Snack Basket

Alaska Airlines Snack Basket

According to the flight attendant working our flight, the snack basket option might be going away, which would truly suck.  It’s a nice option for guests in first class and judging on the size and the options, it’s not that expensive to maintain.  I’d guess a maximum of $15-20 for all the things in there.

Bottom line here is that Alaska is innovating and trying something new.  I like the changes, and the idea that you can customize your meal even further is a good change.  Usually on domestic flights the options are so limited, 1 or 2 options, and usually not that great.  At least this way they’re giving you a choice between 5 options, and you get a dessert.  Kudos to Alaska for innovating, and I look forward to seeing the changes as they (hopefully) roll out across the system!

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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