Alaska Airlines 737-700 first class is about as exciting as you might imagine it would be. Those of you who are envisioning fluffy (and wrinkly) recliner seats, yellowed plastic, and mediocre food are going to feel vindicated.
Those of you expecting anything else need to learn how to be a little less optimistic IMHO.
Portland, OR (PDX) – Anchorage, AK (ANC)
Saturday, June 7 2014
Aircraft: Boeing 737-790
Seat: 3A (first)
As far as connections go, this one couldn’t have been any better. It was quick and easy, and I literally went from one plane to another (with a quick bathroom break on the way). No lines, no excessive walking, and no waiting. Woo hoo!
The flight up to ANC was departing out of gate C4, and boarding was already underway once I arrived.
I had seat 3A once again, but this time it was on a 737-700. And once again, this was a last-minute equipment swap. This flight was scheduled to be be a 737-400, which I admit I was looking forward to due to the fact that those are the next to be retired from the Alaska fleet. But just like the -400, this -700 was equipped with 3 rows of first class seats – one less row than the -800 I just came off of.
My first impression upon sitting down was how run-down this aircraft was. Seriously – the first class cabin looked old and worn out with scratched surfaces, and nearly-ripped seats. This plane had put some miles behind her, that’s for sure.
First class was full (as expected), and a 16-person wedding party group boarded right before the doors closed. Of course they would be sitting in the first few rows of economy, so let’s just say that I wasn’t expecting any peace and quiet on this flight. It wasn’t obnoxious, but all the talking and laughing was distracting even before we pushed back from the gate.
We departed gloomy Portland right on schedule, and sorry – I didn’t take pics of the departure for three reasons: first, it was a really dull and gray day so there wasn’t much to look at. Second, there was a huge condensation spot right in the center of my window. And third, the teen kid sitting next to me in 3B was glued to the window as well so I felt a bit awkward taking pics. Trust me – there wasn’t much to see anyway.
The beverage service began within 10 minutes of departure, and not once was I addressed by name. That’s not a big deal to me or anything, but I just noticed it as an inconsistency from the last flight. And somehow, that group of 16 got the pilot to mention them in his welcome announcement as soon as we leveled off.
Lunch was chicken with penne pasta in some sort of tomato-based sauce, and I couldn’t help but to be reminded of cafeteria food as I ate it. It wasn’t terrible, but the pictures of Alaska Airlines first class food I’ve seen in other trip reports must have somehow elevated my expectations a wee bit unrealistically. It was certainly good enough as a mid-day meal, but nothing I would pay more than $5 for.
I spent the rest of the flight trying to nap as best as I could, but it was difficult with all the conversation going on around me. There aren’t any dividers between economy and first class besides a curtain, and those people in the first few rows of economy were quite lively.
The two guys ahead of me also struck up a conversation at about this time, so my nap was not very satisfying. To make things just a touch more frustrating, all that condensation in my window had frozen solid so the view was fuzzy as we descended into the Anchorage area.
Last but not least, the teen boy sitting next to me was trying as best he could to get a view out of the other (good) window in our row so taking pics was difficult. Oh well – I was happy to be arriving in Alaska!
We touched down on 7L about 10 minutes ahead of schedule concluding what was a noisy (but otherwise good) flight up from PDX.
And there you have it. First class on the Alaska 737-700 isn’t all that much to get excited about, but I’ll admit that it’s a lot more fun when flying somewhere interesting (like Anchorage).