I consider Alaska to be a phenomenal airline.  No  it doesn’t have A380’s with showers or lie-flat First Class seats with Dom flowing freely, but it has a pretty good domestic product that certainly fits my needs.  The best part, of course, is the staff who are almost universally friendly and work to make your experience the most pleasant that it can be.  OF course, getting upgraded to First helps…

As MVP Gold 75K’s we ended up getting upgraded on every flight IAD-SEA-ANC-HNL-BLI-SEA-DCA, except the little bird from BLI to SEA.  Getting upgraded to First is easier on AS for a number of reasons.  Not a lot of big corporate international travelers means a lower percentage of elites, lower thresholds to reach status (75,000 would not get me very much on UA or AA), and smart ways to redeem miles.  What I mean about the last part?  Let me illustrate with a real example I am scheduling for my daughter.  She is taking the summer off from med school at Tulane and hiking with friends.  I checked the cost on an award flight from MSY-SEA.  It was 20k in miles for a one way ticket in Coach.  I also checked the cost for First and it was 25k for the same route and dates.  For 5k extra she can enjoy a much better experience.

Here is a little taste of our experience on our mileage run.  Seats are leather with plenty of space and in-seat power.  Note the Digiplayers that are complimentary with First Class.  These iPad-like devices come loaded with all the latest movies and TV shows.  That should last even for a long run like we are doing and saves me from downloading my own content.  Here I am enjoying my pre-flight beverage of guava something-or-other.

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Alaska has tried to enhance their food recently after letting it slip a bit in recent years.  We had some very interesting food this trip.  Check out this salad on our ANC-HNL trip with purple potatoes and ham.  Very Hawaiian, as was the complimentary Mai Tai (everyone gets these, not just FC).  However, I would say someone forgot the dark rum from my wife’s!

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I also love the fact that Alaska has copied one of my favorite things from United and serve warm nuts with the drinks.  Who doesn’t love warm nuts?

Finally, dessert is served!  This was a form of cheesecake for both meals that we have had so far, but not the exact same thing.  Both were delicious.  The main courses were either Alaskan cod or Chicken Marsala or Kalbi Beef.  Sorry I failed the mission and didn’t get pictures before I devoured them.  They were all so good!

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Finally landed in Anchorage a little after midnight.  That is very normal for Alaskan flights, take off or land in the middle of the night in order to accommodate West Coast schedules.  Fortunately, that makes it easy to schedule a mileage run of 4,000 miles in one evening.  We left at 1820 EDT and arrived at 0020 ADT.  What better to greet us than a moose!

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