Alaska Airlines First Class from Seattle (SEA) to Los Angeles (LAX)

Alaska Airlines First Class from Seattle (SEA) to Los Angeles (LAX)
Star Alliance Lounge Los Angeles
Virgin Australia Business Class from Los Angeles (LAX) to Brisbane (BNE)
Virgin Australia Lounge Brisbane
Virgin Australia First Class from Brisbane (BNE) to Cairns (CNS)
Cairns, Great Barrier Reef, and Surrounding Areas
Virgin Australia Lounge Cairns
Virgin Australia First Class from Cairns (CNS) to Melbourne (MEL)
Westin Melbourne and the Press Club
Garuda Indonesia Business Class from Melbourne (MEL) to Denpasar, Bali (DPS)
Sheraton Kuta, Bali (Wow, Wow, Wow!!)
Korean Air Business Class from Denpasar (DPS) to Seoul (ICN)
Korean Air Lounge, Seoul
Free! Cultural Experience in Seoul
Korean Air Business Class from Seoul (ICN) to Seattle (SEA)

I’ve had the privilege as an Alaska MVP Gold 75k member to be upgraded into Alaska’s first class cabin now for quite a few flights.  I consider it one of the many perks of flying way too much for my own good. The service is consistent, the product offerings are usually quite good, and the flight attendants have a certain quality to them.  It’s kind of like a family member serving you instead of an employee.  I don’t know how to describe it other than to say the service is very homely and polite.  Unless of course you don’t like your family, and in that case, ignore the previous paragraph!

We tried checking in online for this trip, but because the trip was so complicated with so many partners (4) and connections (8), we had to go to the airport to check-in in person.  Luckily, the wait wasn’t too long at the First Class checkin, but because Alaska and Virgin don’t partner, they couldn’t give us any boarding passes for our next flight, and were told we would need to get those passes in Los Angeles (more on that to follow in the next post…)

The security lines at Sea-Tac airport always confuse me.  There are 5 or so security gates, 2 are almost always closed, and 2 have TSA pre-check services.  Funny thing, most people end up going through the pre-check lines anyway, as the security lines all dump out into the same area.  So you’ve got this screwed up mix of business travelers, grandmothers, high school travel groups, and first time travelers, all caught up in this mix of what they’ve read online about having to strip naked in security, and the reality of TSA screaming at them to “NOT REMOVE YOUR SHOES…” after they’ve already done so.

Once security was cleared, it was on to the gate to LAX, after passing flights to such far flung aspirational destinations as Yakima, Wenatchee, Walla Walla, and Detroit.

With that said, this flight was something special 🙂

Lets start out with the hard product.  We were flying on a Boeing 737-800, the most popular plane in the Alaska fleet (followed by the 737-900ER, the 400, the 700, and the regular 900)  Kudos for Alaska on keeping it real by sticking with the hometown Boeing, but those 737’s can get cramped, both at the seats and the teeny tiny lavatories at the front of the plane.  Alaska has a very standard first class offering, and the space isn’t too exciting for first class, but it’s pretty standard across the industry.  We were seated in 2A and 2C and you can see our super special extended first class legroom below:


My leg room at 6’3″

Alaska Airlines Leg Room 2

Leg room at 5’7″

This flight took off on-time, thanks to Alaska’s policy of boarding sometimes up to one hour ?? before the flight leaves.  I never understood why they do this, supposedly it’s to make sure the flight leaves on time, but a lot of the time you end up sitting on the tarmac waiting to push back because the ground crew isn’t ready.  Word to the wise, if your boarding pass says boarding at 6:30, show up at 6:15 and people will be getting on the plane.

It’s also annoying as hell, because if you’re like me and don’t like to spend a ton of time at the airport, you are going to miss early boarding and get stuck behind a huge line of people who will no doubt use all the overhead bin space and you’ll be forced to check your bag at the gate and face the wrath of baggage handlers.  If you’ve ever wondered what happens to your luggage once you check it in, this is it.

As we were boarding a young man came up to the front and asked to speak to a flight attendant.  All I could make out from my seat in row 2 was a few choice words, “prom, proposal, announcement.”  Yea this was pretty awesome… he asked the flight attendant if he could use the overhead PA to ask the girl sitting next to him out to Prom.  (AWWWW!!!). Below is the video of the proposal and the YES following 🙂

After this the cabin crew came through and passed out Alaska’s new digi players, which were filled with a bunch of blockbuster movies and had a quite varied selection.  We neglected to use those because we knew that we had half a dozen long haul flights ahead of us and we wanted to make sure that we had plenty of movies to watch on those long 8+ hour flights to come.  Besides, I wasn’t in the mood to watch Paul Blart Mall Cop 2…

Shortly afterwards, the FA came by to take drink orders, and I decided to go with Alaska’s champagne sparkling white wine.

Alaska Airlines Champagne

Alaska Airlines Champagne

Salmon Creek Brut Sparkling Wine

Salmon Creek Brut Sparkling Wine

Kudos to the inflight crew working this flight, she made sure that the bottle ended up being emptied into my glass and no one else’s!  She said that most people still didn’t know that Alaska offered a champagne.  Admittedly, neither did I…

At the same time that she took drink orders, she took”orders” for the main course, which was ironic, considering there was just one option offered that night.

Fettuccine with red sauce, kale, and shaved parmesan cheese

Fettuccine with red sauce, kale, and shaved parmesan cheese

It should be noted that this was it.  No bread, no dessert, no salad, just the entree.  Surprising for Alaska because usually the service is a little bit more complete, but nonetheless the meal was quite tasty and filling.  It was a good thing there was a lounge visit and a 14 hour flight with plenty of food ahead of us.  It should be noted that it was still better than being stuck back in a middle seat eating stale peanuts…

After the dinner service we began our descent into LAX and prepping for the truly fun trip that was about to begin.

All in all, a solid flight with no glitches and quite an awesome surprise courtesy of the epic prom proposal.  Good luck Jackson I hope the prom is a success!

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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