The catering is BAD on Alaska Airlines, and they know it.
As a 75k gold member on Alaska Airlines, we fly a lot. Last year we flew over 95k miles on Alaska Airlines flights alone, and in total around 120,000 including partners. Because of their generous (often free) upgrades, we got bumped up to first class about 85% of the time.
While I enjoy the comfortable seat, drinks, entertainment player, and attentive service, the one area where they could use some serious help from Virgin America moving forward is in the catering department. It sucks, and I think they know it.
Lack of Options
One area where Alaska can improve tremendously is by giving passengers an option to choose their meals. I understand that on short flights perhaps there would be only one meal option, but Alaska Airines doesn’t offer any special meal options. No kosher, no halal, no vegetarian, no low sodium, nothing. You get the food we give you and you’re gonna like it.
Vegetarian? Ah no problem, we’ll just remove the chicken and give you the salad alone. Want a meal from coach instead? That’ll cost you. Charging first class passengers for meals, in my opinion, is a huge service failure and lack of attention to detail.
Breakfast is the biggest area where they could improve. On at least 9 flights where we were served breakfast, the eggs were runny, mushy, and the potatoes were totally inedible. They were like golf ball sized pieces of chalk. So powderey and inedible it was sad.
You could tell that the flight attendants knew it too, on more than one occasion they looked at the potatoes, saw they weren’t eaten, and said “I know, I know, I apologize…”
On a long haul flight from the east coast, we were served a Ravioli dish. Please explain to me 1) What that liquid is underneath and 2) How do three Ravioli not have any sauce?!
On a recent flight from Raleigh to Seattle there was at least an option given, but not only the presentation stunk but so did the taste of the food. The salad was drenched in vinagarette, the chicken wasn’t “blackened” but “burnt” and the cod was as hard as a rock.
We were upgraded recently on a Virgin America flight from SFO to SEA, and just check out the food that we were given!
On a recent shorthaul morning flight from SEA to SFO the offering was beautifully presented, fresh, and tasty. Watch out Alaska, Delta is coming for you…
A couple wins
We did have a great snack on a flight from SEA-SLC however, it was a small bruschetta with a pesto sauce. This one wasn’t too bad, so as you can see it’s kind of hit or miss.
Also, the drinks are on point. I love that they use local distilleries for their alcohol selection. The Crater Lake Hazelnut Espresso Vodka is one of my guilty pleasures.
What can be done?
Virgin America has it right, and I know that there are going to be a lot of changes coming with the merger. It would seem that Alaska is branding themselves as a “new” Alaska/Virgin combo, and I’m hoping that catering is one of the things that stays from Virgin. After each Alaska flight we get an email asking for comments and suggestions, and you can be sure that I’m always mentioning the catering.
Have you had a good/bad first class first class experience?
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