Flight review: finally flying Alaska Airlines

Saturday morning, 6 a.m. flight, SFO’s international terminal.

We got there with just enough time as usual, pointlessly as it turned out.

I looked out the window at our gate expecting to see our plane nestled in, but there was nothing there.


For some reason our plane was on the ground, but at a different gate, so our flight was delayed 45 minutes.


She finally showed her face just as the sun was about to show hers.


Our plane, with the San Mateo Bridge in the distance.

San Francisco to Portland, Oregon

I’ve held Alaska Airlines elite status since last year, but I’d never actually flown Alaska until now.

We paid 5k Alaska miles each for the flight to Portland, then used a $50 discount code and a flight sale for $35 per person return flights.

First visit to Portland, first flight on Alaska.


Alaska gives elite members complimentary upgrades if available, but unfortunately I wasn’t eligible since I was traveling with someone who didn’t hold elite status.

We did have our choice of non-premium seats, including the exit row seats that we chose.





We got in line for take-off:



The complimentary in-flight entertainment runs through your phone, and it worked flawlessly for watching part of a movie on the 90-minute flight (download the Gogo Entertainment app before your flight if you don’t already have it).

It’s nice that Alaska lets you use your iMessage and other chat apps for free, even if you don’t purchase wi-fi.

The complimentary refreshments included Biscoff cookies, and the in-flight menu looked to have some tasty, reasonably priced options:


Here’s a look at the take-off and landing from our flight:


We landed in Portland in no time:



It was too early in the day to drink liquor, but the new tasting room Priority Pass option at PDX was open for business:


Return flight

We paid in cash for our late evening flight home, so Alaska let us select the seats right behind first class.

Our flight was delayed 90 minutes, but this time it was SFO’s fault (on-time flights into SFO are pretty rare these days).



Maybe one day.

We didn’t realize our seats in row 6 were actually Premium Class seats until the flight attendant offered us complimentary alcoholic beverages and a little snack box:


So I guess elite members can select premium (non-first class) seats when paying in cash, but not when paying with points? News to me.

Premium Class offers four extra inches of legroom:



The curtain separating us from first class was almost in our face, but the row was still roomy.


Comfy seats, lots of legroom, tasty snack kit: this Alaska elite status may be their lowest tier but it added a lot of value to our first flights on Alaska Airlines.

If you’d like to check out the review from my first flight on Virgin America, go here.

Thoughts on Alaska Airlines?

One thought on “Flight review: finally flying Alaska Airlines

  1. Pingback: Flight review: SF to Paris non-stop on French budget carrier XL Airways | easyjourneys

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