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Old Jul 24, 12, 4:19 pm   #1
 
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Alaska takes over North Satellite at SEA

(July 24, 2012 – Seattle) – The Port of Seattle Commission gave final design authorization today for an estimated $230 million renovation of the north satellite at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to better serve passengers. The project will include modernizing facilities, seismic upgrades, enhanced traveler amenities, three new gates and a new roof-top lounge for Alaska Airlines, soon to be the sole tenant in the north satellite.

The North Sea-Tac Airport Renovations (or North STAR project) will be an unprecedented working arrangement between the port and Alaska Airlines, Sea-Tac’s largest airline. Alaska will work with the port throughout the project with the goal of improving its customers’ experience from airport drop-off to flight departure. Additional renovations will include various improvements to the main terminal, the C and D concourses, and the airfield.

“With more gates, ramp area and other facilities needed to grow the airline, the investments in the North Satellite will enhance the travel experience for our customers and employees and greatly improve our operational efficiency,” said Karen Gruen, Alaska Airlines’ managing director of corporate real estate. “The North STAR partnership with the Port of Seattle is an investment in our future and community.”

In deciding to relocate Alaska Airlines to the North Satellite, Gruen said the company carefully weighed perceptions by some travelers that getting to North Satellite gates from Alaska’s lobby takes longer than departures on Concourse C. Three studies conducted in recent years indicate it takes about the same amount of time to reach the North Satellite riding the train as it does to walk to the gates at the end of Concourse C. In order to ease traveler anxiety about waiting for the train, improvements to the communications systems for the train and train lobbies are planned.

Built in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the north satellite is in need of modernization, renewal or replacement of many of its basic systems. The renovations will provide significant annual energy savings with the heating/air conditioning (HVAC) upgrades and use of natural light. Greater operational efficiency will also be achieved with the inclusion of dual taxilanes for aircraft access to and from the gates.

Overall, the renovation will include:
• Upgrades, renewal and replacement of mechanical, electrical, communications, HVAC, and plumbing systems
• Seismic upgrades
• Refreshed main concourse finishes to include more natural lighting, open areas, and passenger amenities including charging stations, LCD flight displays, better WiFi reception, and expanded concessions
• A rooftop Alaska Airlines Board Room with views of the Puget Sound area
• Addition of three aircraft gates for a total of 15
• Refreshed Satellite Transit System lobbies
• Dual aircraft taxi lane changes around the north satellite
• Refurbishment of the baggage handling system

Alaska Air Group will continue to use concourses C and D for operations as well, which will receive upgrades to the current Horizon Air-operated facilities.

The renovation will be completed in stages to carefully coordinate the construction around continued operation of the north satellite and create the least impact to passenger traffic.

Design contracts will be awarded soon and visual renderings for the project are expected to be released by mid-2013. Construction is expected to start no later than winter of 2014 with completion in late 2016. [final construction schedules are still to be determined]
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Old Jul 24, 12, 4:33 pm   #2
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Yay new rooftop SEA BR
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Old Jul 24, 12, 6:06 pm   #3
 
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Yay new rooftop SEA BR
Right-o. Have pretty much gotten over the whole train to N thing, but it'll be odd to see it work this way, methinks.
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Old Jul 24, 12, 6:11 pm   #4
 
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Will it come with a bathhouse?
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Old Jul 24, 12, 7:08 pm   #5
 
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Yeah! of course, each of my flights will still probably be as far from the escalator as possible...

Also really wish the Port would provide escalators down to the tarmac for all Horizon fights, or get jetways that will work with the Q400s.

There were many times when I took the train from the N access point in the main terminal to the C gates. It worked well if I did not want to go to the club, and I used the Pre-check lane, and my outbound flight was at the end of C.
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Old Jul 24, 12, 7:26 pm   #6
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Yeah! of course, each of my flights will still probably be as far from the escalator as possible...

Also really wish the Port would provide escalators down to the tarmac for all Horizon fights, or get jetways that will work with the Q400s.

There were many times when I took the train from the N access point in the main terminal to the C gates. It worked well if I did not want to go to the club, and I used the Pre-check lane, and my outbound flight was at the end of C.
The beauty of the N gates is that no gate is a long walk from the escalator.

I have heard escalators for C2A-Z gates is in the plans, which should substantially improve the QX passenger experience.
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Old Jul 24, 12, 8:58 pm   #7
 
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Upgrades and expansion are good. I wonder how disruptive the 2-year construction will be.
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Old Jul 24, 12, 9:46 pm   #8
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I think AS should install 2-3 showers as well. Plenty of red eyes from Alaska/Hawaii also there are some red eyes ex-SEA that having a shower at the airport after a long day at work before flying a red eye is huge.

This will also serve paid F AS customers who flew into SEA on DL/BA/AF/FI/etc from Asia or Europe who are connecting onto AS in SEA.

IMO, shower is one of the more important perks of a lounge that does not cost the airline serious money to operate.

Most important benefits of lounge membership for me:

1. Travel Support. IRROPs handling, managing my reservation (SDC, changing seats, processing upgrades, protecting me on an alternative itinerary, etc), assistance with ticketing, etc.

2. A comfortable setting to do work. Wifi with good coverage, bandwidth, and latency. Plenty of power ports along with plenty of comfortable seats.

3. Personal comfort. Reasonable snack selections, decent drink options, nice and clean bathroom facilities, and shower facilities.

If you have all 3, I will always be a member for as long as I fly at least 50K a year. If less, I'll still buy day passes most of the time.

So, AS, when the team gets together to draft up the design work for the new BR, please take this into consideration!

As for #1, it is time to start a slow plan to group the BR concierges with the Agents. When it is time to renew the union contract for the airport agents, put forth a plan to add certain BR staff into the pool or start putting some agents into the BR.
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Old Jul 25, 12, 12:06 am   #9
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I think AS should install 2-3 showers as well. Plenty of red eyes from Alaska/Hawaii also there are some red eyes ex-SEA that having a shower at the airport after a long day at work before flying a red eye is huge.

This will also serve paid F AS customers who flew into SEA on DL/BA/AF/FI/etc from Asia or Europe who are connecting onto AS in SEA.

IMO, shower is one of the more important perks of a lounge that does not cost the airline serious money to operate.

Most important benefits of lounge membership for me:

1. Travel Support. IRROPs handling, managing my reservation (SDC, changing seats, processing upgrades, protecting me on an alternative itinerary, etc), assistance with ticketing, etc.

2. A comfortable setting to do work. Wifi with good coverage, bandwidth, and latency. Plenty of power ports along with plenty of comfortable seats.

3. Personal comfort. Reasonable snack selections, decent drink options, nice and clean bathroom facilities, and shower facilities.

If you have all 3, I will always be a member for as long as I fly at least 50K a year. If less, I'll still buy day passes most of the time.

So, AS, when the team gets together to draft up the design work for the new BR, please take this into consideration!

As for #1, it is time to start a slow plan to group the BR concierges with the Agents. When it is time to renew the union contract for the airport agents, put forth a plan to add certain BR staff into the pool or start putting some agents into the BR.
Everything you want in a BR is available in the SEA DL SC. DL knows how to do a lounge right. It remains to be seen whether AS is willing to put up for a lounge that outclasses the SC in SEA.
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Old Jul 25, 12, 11:30 am   #10
 
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New N Boardroom

I had to chuckle at the local morning news today when they were talking about the upcoming changes.

The news anchor interpreted the term "rooftop lounge" to mean it would be outside. They were joking it wouldn't be a great perk if it was raining.
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Old Jul 25, 12, 4:36 pm   #11
 
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totally agree about DL SC. DL SC's are light years ahead of AS BR's. Go to the DL SC at EWR and that is on par with an AS BR.

Also agree with shower comment. It is why I prefer to fly DL to NYC. I can get off my redeye and take a shower before heading to business meetings. AS BRs are boring and small. The DL SC at SEA is part sports bar/TV room/apple store/place to sit.

Last edited by Smeadcw; Jul 25, 12 at 4:37 pm.. Reason: error
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Old Jul 25, 12, 8:54 pm   #12
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One thing to keep in mind when comparing SC to BR is that many SC support long-haul international flights. Business class passengers are critical to supporting better lounges. I would be surprised to see the BR get showers, since the additional cost (yes, there is significant additional cost) wouldn't necessarily be covered by AS' network and membership.
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Old Jul 25, 12, 10:36 pm   #13
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One thing to keep in mind when comparing SC to BR is that many SC support long-haul international flights. Business class passengers are critical to supporting better lounges. I would be surprised to see the BR get showers, since the additional cost (yes, there is significant additional cost) wouldn't necessarily be covered by AS' network and membership.
Agreed, but AS is a codeshare "whore", so I'd bet they see tons of paid F/C passengers connecting onto an AS flight in SEA. What about those customers? I don't think DL customers want to go to the SC in concourse S to shower, where they will have to take the train back after clearing customs, and then have to haul all the way to N before their connecting AS flight in F.

This is why I think the SEA BR should have showers. LAX/PDX/ANC not so much, because there is significantly less connecting international premium customers to justify the cost of including showers.

It costs a fortune to add them to an existing club, but I cannot imagine it would cost that much more when building an entirely new lounge. They will have to pay a fortune for plumbing construction if they are going to install bathrooms in the new BR. That is the biggest cost with adding a shower, but it won't sting a lot if they include showers from the get-go. This is why showers are almost always in the same area as the bathroom [either right next to it or right across the hallway]
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Old Jul 25, 12, 11:07 pm   #14
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Agreed, but AS is a codeshare "whore", so I'd bet they see tons of paid F/C passengers connecting onto an AS flight in SEA. What about those customers? I don't think DL customers want to go to the SC in concourse S to shower, where they will have to take the train back after clearing customs, and then have to haul all the way to N before their connecting AS flight in F.

This is why I think the SEA BR should have showers. LAX/PDX/ANC not so much, because there is significantly less connecting international premium customers to justify the cost of including showers.

It costs a fortune to add them to an existing club, but I cannot imagine it would cost that much more when building an entirely new lounge. They will have to pay a fortune for plumbing construction if they are going to install bathrooms in the new BR. That is the biggest cost with adding a shower, but it won't sting a lot if they include showers from the get-go. This is why showers are almost always in the same area as the bathroom [either right next to it or right across the hallway]
Yes AS 'gets around' but I'm uncertain that they get that much premium cabin passengers from partners. There is however some serious revenue between Alaska and Texas due to oil- and the oil companies do procure F.

Since there is a significant amount of redeyes to SEA I think a shower would be nice too.

And one can clear customs and go back up the escalator to the S terminal without taking the train after clearing TSA.
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Old Jul 26, 12, 2:04 am   #15
 
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Agreed, but AS is a codeshare "whore", so I'd bet they see tons of paid F/C passengers connecting onto an AS flight in SEA. What about those customers? I don't think DL customers want to go to the SC in concourse S to shower, where they will have to take the train back after clearing customs, and then have to haul all the way to N before their connecting AS flight in F.

This is why I think the SEA BR should have showers. LAX/PDX/ANC not so much, because there is significantly less connecting international premium customers to justify the cost of including showers.

It costs a fortune to add them to an existing club, but I cannot imagine it would cost that much more when building an entirely new lounge. They will have to pay a fortune for plumbing construction if they are going to install bathrooms in the new BR. That is the biggest cost with adding a shower, but it won't sting a lot if they include showers from the get-go. This is why showers are almost always in the same area as the bathroom [either right next to it or right across the hallway]
I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. If one comes in from a long haul DL (or Emirates, or Korean Air, or Icelandair...) they can stay right on the S concourse and use the facilities the long haul airline should offer their long haul premium customers before heading over to C, D or N for their Alaska connection.

I don't know the costs involved but it seems as though, the costs of operating showers would far outweigh the revenue gained from having them. In addition to the cost of the real estate alone, there are the costs of the staff responsible for maintaining the showers. Additionally, there would be a cost for the towels and soap/shampoo. I doubt that Alaska's customers would be willing to pay higher Boardroom membership fees to subsidize something a relatively small number of people would use. And I highly doubt that there would be a large number of people using the showers. Most people traveling domestically are looking for the quickest, most efficient connection available. Very few are probably going to schedule an extra hour so they can shower enroute. It's a little different coming in from a 10 or 12 hour long haul than from a 3 or 4 hour flight.
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