7 things to know before flying Alaska Air

7 things to know before flying Alaska Air
credit: blog.alaskaair.com

First off, this is not a sponsored post - I just wanted to share my recent experience about flying them. I primarily fly Delta and Southwest, so I was curious to try them out recently, for a work trip.

From DTW, I believe Alaska Air flies from Seattle and also to Portland. The gate for my DTW-SEA flight this past Monday was in the North Terminal, almost at the far end of the terminal ... I actually didn't even know the terminal extended so far down.

I actually Googled "Alaska Air boarding procedures" while at the gate, because I realized I didn't know what to expect - on Delta, I board Zone 1 because I have their credit card, and on Southwest, we line up according to group and number.

Overall, I flew 3 segments on Alaska Air this past week, and my experience was mostly positive. I flew from Detroit to Seattle, then Seattle to Bellingham, WA; yesterday, I flew from Bellingham back to Seattle, and then I was booked on Delta from SEA to DTW.

7 things to know before flying Alaska Air:

    7 things to know before flying Alaska Air
  1. You get more leg room (vs. Delta) but the seatbelts are also a little bit smaller. As a curvy girl, I was fine on my DTW-SEA leg, but for SEA-BLI, I had to ask for a seatbelt extender, which was surprising ... I was able to buckle up without it, but it was a tight fit. Weirdly, on my BLI-SEA flight yesterday, though, I did not need one, so it seems to vary by plane. 
  2. Boarding is back to front of the plane (smart!). If you're on a small plane, like my BLI-SEA and SEA-BLI flights, they have two doors and will board from both doors; you also have to leave the terminal to get to the airplane, for the small flights.
  3. Sometimes they have video screens, and sometimes they don't. For my SEA-BLI flight they did not, but you were able to watch movies/TV shows/etc. on your tablet or smartphone.
  4. They are a *little* stingy with the snacks. For my DTW-SEA flight, they did come around 2 or 3 times with beverages, but the only snack I remember receiving was a tiny pack of the Biscoff cookies (same ones Delta has, but these were more 'snack size,' it seemed, whereas Delta's are full-size).
  5. You should DEFINITELY sign up for their Mileage Plan program. I got 5,000 bonus points after my first flight, it seems, and you only need 20,000 to get status, I believe (which includes 2 free checked bags and priority boarding every flight). If you fly them a lot, their credit card seems like a great deal too - you get a FREE companion ticket after only spending $1,000 (within the first 3 months) on it. Bonus: they still count miles "as" miles rather than using some random algorithm (coughDELTAcough) to give you points based on the amount spent (so, if you fly 2,000 miles, you get 2,000 miles in your account).
  6. They have superb customer service. I dealt with them both on Twitter and on the phone, before my flights - I needed to switch seats, and also I needed them to add my TSA pre-check KTN (Known Traveler Number) to my reservation, since I recently applied for and received pre-check.
  7. They only fly nonstop to Portland and Seattle from DTW, but you can grab a connection at various airports. Example: you can fly DTW to ORD (Chicago O'Hare) to other places that Alaska flies
And a bonus, #8 ... their standard baggage fees applies ($25 for one bag, one-way) but you can check Hawaiian pineapples for free, if you're flying from Hawaii back to the continental U.S. No joke.

Have you ever flown Alaska Air? If so, how was your experience? 

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