I might be done with Alaska Airlines

Old Apr 30, 18, 1:31 pm
  #1  
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I might be done with Alaska Airlines

After nearly 15 years exclusively with Alaska Air, most of them as a Gold, I might be looking for a new carrier.

It started small. Little things going away. Nuts in F. Easy upgrades, etc.

Then it got bigger. Inability to upgrade to F but being told getting my traditional row 6 was an “upgrade”. Cutting the 6:45p SJC to PDX kills us business travelers.

Then the Recaro seats. God I LOATHE these glorified sheets of plywood.

Today i I sat in a normal coach seat on an old Virgin livery and was measurably more comfortable than any flight in PE I’ve taken on Alaska in the past couple of years.

So im looking for a new home.
Anyone else made the switch and been happy?
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Old Apr 30, 18, 1:47 pm
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So what exactly are you looking for out of this? No slimline seats? Bad news: WN, UA, AA, DL all are going to that model. You pay for extra leg room/don't get auto upgraded to it unless it's a more expensive fare or you're a more elite elite on DL, UA, AA. Upgrades on SJC-PDX? Guess what, the only other airline that flies it nonstop is WN, so no upgrades for you (and doing a diversion to SLC/SEA to fly DL domestic F every time and turning a 90 minute flight into 3 hours... oh my). Plus your best upgrade nonstop option for PDX-Bay Area is UA to SFO... and even there it's not always gonna be a lock.

I'm probably looking at free agency myself with heavy helpings of WN once the new "Saver Fares" (aka Basic Economy) come in, but I am likely to keep considering AS because schedule, price and nonstops come into this as well (as well as EQD/PQD), and AS's service out of my airport (SEA) makes it a contender (I am not willing to connect all the time out of SFO/PHX/ORD), though DL will get a shot too (SkyPesos are not my fave, but whatevs). But I know what I want: I'll want WN flights when I don't want to be completely hosed if I need to change plans, and I couldn't care less about upgrades on 1-3 hour flights. Everyone else goes into the basket and I pick based on the combination of price/service/schedule that works best.

The days where airlines didn't monetize everything are over. You're not going to find an airline that is acting like it's 1999. So what do you want? That's probably the most important question to answer if you're leaving... the grass isn't always greener, so knowing where you might find some you'd want is important.

Last edited by eponymous_coward; Apr 30, 18 at 1:54 pm
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Old Apr 30, 18, 2:27 pm
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+ 1 to Eponymous_coward.

I am not unhappy with Alaska, but as an MVP gold out of SEA, it's quite a low status for a hub flyer --> no upgrades. I've been shuttling up/down SEA-LAX a bit these days, and I generally pick based on price/timing since there are plenty of options. Also, as Delta PM + AA EXP flying a non-hub-to-hub route on those carriers, those are easy upgrades relative to battling the hordes of Alaska elite on that route.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 2:39 pm
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The devaluation of mileage programs makes it difficult to stick with one airline. Last year I gave up on United and started flying Alaska almost exclusively. Alaska had a reasonable cary-on policy until recently (I travel with expensive equipment that I don't want to check). Today I'm looking at Delta credit card programs. 2018 will be a year that I use Airline partner credit cards and just shop for the most convenient flight times to my destination. Loyalty is not rewarded anymore.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 2:50 pm
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Just purchase an F seat and you will have an F seat.

The economy is on screech and the people with whom you compete are paying for the seats you want. You could fly WN, but there is no F and you could fly AA, but it averages about $100 more for a <2 hour flight. So, the choice is yours. Pray for a recession and you might be back in F for free.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 3:06 pm
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So how much longer until we just consolidate all the airline forums here to country-based groups since it's all the same and loyalty's a joke? Why should we bother picking if it's all just a means to go somewhere?
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Old Apr 30, 18, 3:14 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Just purchase an F seat and you will have an F seat.
Except you can't do that if they don't have an evening SJC-PDX flight as the OP mentioned.

Out of all the routes/times ex-SJC, you'd think that'd be one of the higher demand options. They'll try to match or surpass WN on any route out of SJC but will leave the PDX-based business travel market to WN, or ask people to drive up to OAK/SFO (of course no F seat on OAK-PDX either, for a few more weeks at least). Bizarre.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 3:21 pm
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My issue is everyone is moving to the same crappy product. Virgin's seats definitely are a remarkable standout - both in comfort and design (although the air bags for the exit rows kinda sucks).

The Southwest seats are worse than Spirit's, in my opinion. (d)Evolve are sticking around for a VERY long time, and the new seats on the 737-800s make me feel like I'm leaning forwards. Even Frontier's STRETCH seats are more comfortable than anything I've had on Delta, American, and United in economy.

the current Alaska seats are OK, but I am *praying* they are going with the upgraded Recaro seats... too bad they can't import the Swiss economy seat (which is by far the BEST I've had to squeeze my fat *ss into).

Flying Copa tomorrow am in First Class, which is reportedly one of the "best" for a 737. Will report back. (Copa's 737 economy seats aren't that bad either)

Living in Juneau, I'm stuck with Alaska. I've tried the move to Delta, but spent $3k in change fees in that year as a Gold. So I'm back... that Delta experiment also cost me 75K this year.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 4:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Pictor View Post
The devaluation of mileage programs makes it difficult to stick with one airline.
FTFY: The devaluation of mileage programs makes it easy to fly several airlines.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 5:01 pm
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Where else besides SJC are you flying? It makes it kind of hard to give advice without knowing your travel patterns.

That being said, is SFO an option? That's UA, and FWIW, those flights are often delayed...

Maybe DL?

These days I just buy P, Z, whatever and get where I need to go. Status on an airline means little (I have PRE) when traveling that way, unless you're looking for Intl lounge access, but that's usually J for me as well.

YMMV.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 5:50 pm
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For me, the #1 feature of any airline and the reason I switched from UA to AS years ago is having a traditional, mileage-based frequent flyer program with no revenue requirement....I'll put up with harder seats, five servings of the humus plate, etc....but what I can't (won't) deal with is a revenue requirement....that's a total deal killer for me since it would prevent me from earning elite status. As long as AS maintains their traditional, mileage-based frequent flyer program, they will be my first choice for airline travel.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 5:57 pm
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FWIW, I bought this thing and it's made my travel on AS significantly more comfortable:

Amazon Amazon

I get looked at like I'm an old man at the gate, but my tailbone isn't screaming out in pain after a transcon.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 6:09 pm
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Originally Posted by NoLaGent View Post

These days I just buy P, Z, whatever and get where I need to go. Status on an airline means little (I have PRE) when traveling that way, unless you're looking for Intl lounge access, but that's usually J for me as well.

YMMV.
Similar boat (or airship, as the case may be) here. But I need a few banks to deposit the miles y/o points for my travels, and need decent redemption options.

I've never had the "I'm never flying so and so again" tantrum. I just don't fly certain airlines unless need be, or circumstances change. I don't think AS will be out of my mix for the foreseeable future, and although 75K may be a tough achievement with the partnership situation ex SFO, I expect that MVPG will remain of substantial value for me.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 6:14 pm
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Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
Similar boat (or airship, as the case may be) here. But I need a few banks to deposit the miles y/o points for my travels, and need decent redemption options.

I've never had the "I'm never flying so and so again" tantrum. I just don't fly certain airlines unless need be, or circumstances change. I don't think AS will be out of my mix for the foreseeable future, and although 75K may be a tough achievement with the partnership situation ex SFO, I expect that MVPG will remain of substantial value for me.
I'm certain our segment of travelers has grown substantially with the deval of the major FFP's and the decreased cost of front cabin travel at purchase within the last few years.

AS remains a solid bank, for the time being.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 7:05 pm
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Originally Posted by PDXPremier View Post
For me, the #1 feature of any airline and the reason I switched from UA to AS years ago is having a traditional, mileage-based frequent flyer program with no revenue requirement....I'll put up with harder seats, five servings of the humus plate, etc....but what I can't (won't) deal with is a revenue requirement....that's a total deal killer for me since it would prevent me from earning elite status.
Get a Delta Amex and spend enough to waive the requirement at silver/gold/plat levels.

At some point you have to accept that if you're not spending with a carrier (in total, or in higher fare buckets) you're not valuable to a carrier.
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