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Trip Report: Alaska to the Northwest

I just realized that I never put together a trip report for my trip to the Pacific Northwest last week. I’m probably going to be doing fewer of these in the future or at least de-emphasizing them, but I haven’t decided how I’m going to treat that yet. Do you guys like these? Let me know in the comments.

I bought this ticket about 2 months in advance for about $310 (with a discount coupon I found online). The plan was the fly up to Seattle, take the Boeing tour at Everett, and then go down to Portland where I’d visit family and then fly home.


September 12, 2008
Alaska #547 Lv Long Beach (LGB) 7a Arr Seattle/Tacoma (SEA) 957a
LGB: Gate 22, Runway 30, Dept OT
SEA: Gate N8, Runway 34C, Arr ~20m Early
Aircraft: N796AS, Boeing 737-490, Eskimo, ~75% Full
Seat: 2F
Flight Time: 2h22m

I didn’t realize that Alaska gives its elite members upgrades that they can hand out to friends. I mentioned to a friend of mine that I was flying Alaska and he offered them up. Very cool. So I was Alaska Above Marine Layerconfirmed in First long before the flight.

Since I was flying out of Long Beach, it was the usual routine of leaving home one hour before departure. Security took 15 minutes to clear, and once I got to the gate, I just walked right onboard.

There was a mini bottle of water at my seat, and the flight attendant came by and told us that breakfast would be a danish and, I think, some yogurt. It wasn’t much, but who was I to complain?

We took off into the deep marine layer and soon enough we were up in the morning sun on our way to Seattle. Alaska Dirty SeatsThe food was fine, and I decided to have a mimosa to start the vacation right. Looking around, I could see these seats were very well worn, to say the least. They could probably use an upgrade themselves.

It was a nice smooth flight up north and we had great views of Mt St Helens and Mt Rainier on our way in.

They parked us at the remote gates which were pretty sparsely populated when I arrived. I took the train back to the terminal, and then I was on my way. Unfortunately, the Boeing strike meant that there was a completely lame bus ride in place of the actual tour (though I did get to see the first V Australia 777 on the flight line). That was the only real disappointment of the trip.


September 14, 2008
Alaska #588 Lv Portland (PDX) 430p Arr Orange County (SNA) 652p
PDX: Gate C1, Runway 28L, Dept ~15m Late
SNA: Gate 10, Runway 19R, Arr ~5m Late
Aircraft: N609AS, Boeing 737-790, Eskimo, ~95% Full
Seat: 2F
Flight Time: 1h54m

After a great weekend in Portland with family, I left them and hopped on the MAX train to the airport. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to find an afternoon flight time back home. Strangely, there are no flights to LAX leaving between 2 and 7 and you can’t fly nonstop to Long Beach. So, I took the 430p flight down to Orange County.

As I mentioned before, the Portland airport is a great one. I wandered around awhile and then came to the close-in gate for boarding. Once we were all boarded up, I got a little nervous when I saw the door staying open and the flight attendants milling around. Sure enough, the captain came on and said we’d be delayed.

Apparently the first officer had car problems and had to take the bus. He was on his way, and he hoped it wouldn’t make us more than 15 minutes late. Yeah, I’ve heard that one before. But sure Alaska Onboard Lasagnaenough, he walked in, got a small of a round of applause, and then we were soon on our way.

Right after departure, the very friendly flight attendant came by and took drink orders. I had the first of three scotches (might as well), and settled back for the afternoon ride home. I was told by the gate agent that we only had a snack in First, but sure enough we had a meal. It had a decent salad with lasagna that was slightly hard around the edges (but still not bad). There was also a very soggy breadstick. I started talking to the guy next to me, and we discussed how it was probably about a 6 on a scale of 1 to 10.

Alaska Prayer CardOh yeah, and I can’t forget that to this day, Alaska continues to include a prayer card on every tray table that it provides. I find this to be very strange, but I suppose they’re welcome to do whatever they and their shareholders want.

The rest of the flight was nice and smooth with excellent service from up front. We landed just a little bit late, and I was on my way home in no time.

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