Trip Report: Alaska Airlines first class San Diego to Portland

Trip Report: Alaska Airlines first class San Diego to Portland

I’m definitely not as young as a used to be (duh), and I’m starting to realize that more and more each time my alarm clock wakes me up for these early morning flights. Of course I’m excited to get out of bed and start my latest adventure, but part of me would rather just stay in bed and sleep instead. Yep – my flight up to Portland (PDX) was scheduled to depart at 6:30am from SAN so that meant leaving the house at 4:40am. Ouch.

The good news is that the taxi was right on time, and I arrived at SAN to find that it wasn’t so busy and the lines were short. Travel would be great if it were always this easy. But who am I kidding? I love to travel so much that I still consider it great when faced with long delays and minor mishaps. Well, most of the time.

san diego airport alaska airlines terminal 1
Outside the Alaska Airlines terminal (terminal 1) at SAN
checkin counter for Alaska Airlines at san diego airport
Alaska Airlines check in counter at SAN
vacant ticket counter at san diego airport terminal 1
Vacant ticket counter next to the Alaska Airlines check in area – this used to be for Alaska, but when United Airlines moved out (to terminal 2 west) AS moved over to UA’s old spot. Since AS has terminal 1 west all to themselves now, this ticket counter is likely to remain vacant for a long time.

I had a mobile boarding pass with only a carry-on bag, so once inside the terminal I made my way directly to the security checkpoint. It’s been a while since I was last in terminal 1 west here in San Diego, but I always dread going in because it’s so small and obnoxiously crowded with no place to walk around while waiting to board the flight. Compared to terminal 2, this one is dreadfully bad.

flight information board at san diego airport terminal 1
Looks like my flight up to PDX is on time!

Once inside, I had about a 30 minute wait until they started boarding. It should be noted that even though United moved out of this terminal a while back, Alaska Airlines has yet to open a lounge in place of the old United Club. I thought for sure they would take over that space and make a Board Room out of it, but it’s still sitting empty and wasting space. A lounge is badly needed here, especially since Alaska has such a large operation here in San Diego.

stairs to terminal 1 gate area at SAN
Immediately after clearing security in terminal one here at SAN, you have to go upstairs to the gate area.
alaska airlines terminal san diego
Inside the Alaska Airlines terminal (terminal 1 west) at SAN
terminal 1 at SAN
Often referred to as “the circle of death”, this is terminal 1 at SAN.

AS 573
San Diego, CA (SAN) – Portland, OR (PDX)
Saturday June 7 2014
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Seat: 3A (first)

Alaska Airlines 737-800 N556AS illustration
Alaska Airlines 737-800 N556AS with split scimitar winglets

Boarding was called right on time, and I quickly found my way to seat 3A. It was only after I sat down that I realized that there had been a last-minute aircraft swap, as this was a 737-800 as opposed to the -700 that was originally scheduled for this flight. Ultimately, this worked well in my favor – this was a larger aircraft, and the seat next to me remained vacant. I’m really not sure how that happened because I find it hard to believe that there weren’t any elites in economy who didn’t qualify for an upgrade. I’m not complaining though!

Alaska Airlines 737-800 first class seat
Alaska Airlines 737-800 first class seat
alaska airlines first class seat armrest
The armrest features a large and deep area for drinks and other small items
electronics box in the foot rest area alaska airlines first class
A word of caution: first class window seats on the Alaska Airlines 737-800 have an electronics box in the area beneath the seat in front. I found this to be quite annoying.
first class electrical outlets and USB ports
Alaska Airlines first class features electrical outlets and USB ports at every seat on the 737-800
bulkhead wall textures and patterns alaska airlines 737-800
The interior of the first class cabin features rustic fabric patterns and textures on the bulkhead wall

It was a long-ish taxi out to runway 27 for departure. SAN doesn’t open until 6:30am, so there is always a long line of aircraft waiting to take off at this time each morning. We were stuck right in the middle of that while we waited our turn.

Taxiing out to runway 27
Taxiing out to runway 27 on a gloomy morning in San Diego
Climbing out of San Diego
Climbing out of San Diego with a nice view of terminal 1 below
View of Point Loma
View of Point Loma as we depart San Diego

The climb out was smooth, and it wasn’t until we broke through the clouds that I realized that this aircraft was equipped with those cool new split scimitar winglets. Woo-hoo! These were the first ones I’ve seen up close and I have to say that they look pretty cool in real life.

split scimitar winglet Alaska Airlines 737-800
Close up of the split scimitar winglet on this Alaska Airlines 737-800

Breakfast service began about 20 minutes after departure, which consisted of a turkey sausage and cheddar quiche, with a roasted tomato and sweet potato fries on the side. I’m normally a pretty light eater, so this was a bit heavy for my tastes. It was good, except for the potatoes (which were soggy), but I much would have preferred a bowl of cereal and fruit instead as a second option.

Alaska Airlines first class beverage service
Alaska Airlines first class beverage service
Alaska Airlines first class breakfast
Alaska Airlines first class breakfast

Service on this flight was excellent. There was only one flight attendant serving first class this morning, but she was very pleasant and super attentive. I was addressed by name, and she came through the cabin every 10 minutes or so checking up on everyone and offering drinks and snacks for anyone who wanted it.

Cruising at 37,000ft
Cruising at 37,000ft on the way to PDX

It was a beautiful descent into PDX with broken clouds and sun – but the clouds eventually took over the lower we went.

cloudy descent
Starting to get cloudy as we begin the descent
cloudy portland from the air
Breaking through the clouds
PDX arrival
Getting lined up for arrival into PDX
green portland oregon
Almost there…
Touchdown at PDX
Touchdown at PDX after a really nice flight from SAN

It was a typically gloomy day in Portland, but the landing was smooth and the taxi to the gate was short. I wasn’t complaining. More importantly, we landed right on time which was very much appreciated since there was only 55 minutes before my connection to Anchorage was scheduled to depart.

Alaska Airlines 737-800
The Alaska Airlines 737-800 that brought me up from SAN gets a quick rest at PDX

Give a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.