Costa Rica Inflight Service

Old Aug 28, 19, 2:27 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: PSP
Programs: AS, UA, AA, HiltonHonors
Posts: 56
Costa Rica Inflight Service

I really enjoy flying to places for the first time, just to see how airlines deal with it, what the terminals (and airfields) look like, other airlines who serve the destination, etc. Even at my old age, it's exciting to see these things. I flew AS this past week, LAX-LIR (Liberia, CR) for the first time. It was interesting in many ways, but I won't go into all the weeds of it here - just some thoughts about the inflight service, especially since I haven't seen anything here on FT regarding this topic recently.

I was on a paid F ticket. It was not outrageous cost-wise, considering the flight time/distance - around $1500 RT, and that included a change to the return I had to make after the 24-hour window. AS operates nonstop to LIR only out of LAX, and once a day in each in each direction. On the outbound leg, I was able to preorder the lunch and that worked pretty well, although I would say the online entree listing didn't really describe what I actually got. Overall though, the service on that flight was pretty good - I suppose I *slightly* expected a little more "special-ness" to it, given the fact that it's one of AS's longest routes and one that might have a bit of a "party" attached to the destination - kind of like Hawaii used to be.

AS's one southbound flight leaves LAX a little after noon, and arrives in LIR around 6:30pm (CST) five days a week, I think. The plane overnights there and is the first commercial flight of the morning out of LIR, departing at 10:25am. Funny to arrive for check-in at a terminal (which is pretty nice for departures) at 8:30am, and have it be nearly empty and only just beginning to wake up. All the other airlines depart after noontime, the result of their turning around their arrivals right away - nobody else overnights the aircraft there, as far as I could tell.

The inflight F service was pretty dismal on the return/northbound flight. Only one meal choice - a "cheeseburger with chips" which I detailed in the "What Will Alaska Airlines Be Serving in First Class on Your Flight?" thread. I'm assuming that that's the best they think they can do, given the small operation there. But other airlines operate larger aircraft in and out of there (DL 757s to ATL, BY 787s to LGW, and WG 767s to YYZ) so I would think there are some decent caterers available around there somewhere. In a word, the meal was a "fail" - especially considering that this was F, and ANYthing (I think) would have been a better choice. I'll leave the meal at that, except to say that I asked if I could purchase something from the back, and the FA said "They're having the cheeseburger too" - so apparently it was a cheeseburger or nothing.

But it wasn't just the food. There WAS a PDB offered (good) - coffee, water, or OJ, so not the most comprehensive of choices, although it was good to have something offered at all. Someone asked for something not on that short list (I couldn't hear what it was) and the FA rather impatiently said, "Coffee, water, or OJ - that's ALL I'm serving until we are airborne". He was kind of a peculiar guy, and I think he was trying to be light-hearted/funny most of the time but I tend to believe in that "Know your audience" prerequisite before cracking too many attempted jokes. No bottles of water at the seat at boarding, as often seems to be the case. So, along with my really unappetizing meal experience, I didn't feel that there was anything special about F - just the seat itself perhaps. There was no second beverage service - so after the meal service around 90 minutes or so into the 5+ hour flight, other than the warm cookie we got after the trays were picked up, we didn't see any other offerings for the duration. I think a couple of people asked for a drink, and probably got it, but should that be the norm? Maybe so....

Then there was the issue with the lavatory access. OK, call me a snob, but I am not a fan of pax from the Y cabin coming up to use the F loo, unless there is an urgent need (and, I suppose I wouldn't know if there was or not, but given the line in the aisle - 3 deep, which, I believe, is not according to regs, I'm guessing it wasn't). There were two FAs standing there as well, talking to an F passenger who I think was a sports celeb of some type - I did not recognize him. But they seemed pretty oblivious to the lav line that was right in front of them. And I didn't see anyone suggesting that the Y pax use their own loo.... I did have to wait in line until it started getting more urgent - and then, fortunately it was finally my turn. Again, what's the point of F?

So it's safe to say that I was disappointed with the general F level of service, especially for a longer flight, which I think should have had at least a frill or two and perhaps felt just a bit more special. My expectations tend to be lower when I am on a U upgrade or otherwise not a full-fare paying F pax, but somehow when I'm paying the $$, it's nice to feel the appreciation for having done so.

Hope this doesn't sound too whiny.... I realize this is definitely a first-world complaint.... Interested in any responses.
NoLaGent likes this.

Last edited by RetiredSFOATC; Aug 30, 19 at 1:18 pm Reason: corrected 3-letter airport code
RetiredSFOATC is offline  
Old Aug 28, 19, 2:44 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: SEA
Programs: AS MVP Gold
Posts: 1,223
It sounds typical of the uneven service I have seen in F in the last year. Most flights are awesome, a few not so much.
jsguyrus is offline  
Old Aug 28, 19, 2:45 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: LAX
Programs: AS MVPG, IHG Spire Elite
Posts: 648
Definitely have had similar experiences in terms of the service at least. Generally have had decent food choices even from Mexico-departing flights, but I suppose they could've been double-catered, whereas it sounds like the RON in Costa Rica may have made that more difficult. There also may be some issues w/ customs related to the food product. I'd definitely write into Alaska Listens and/or use the feedback form on the website to share your experience and disappointment. Imagine they'll toss you some sort of service gesture, especially given you were on a paid F flight.
be_rettSEA is offline  
Old Aug 28, 19, 3:05 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: SEA
Programs: AS MVP Gold
Posts: 1,223
Originally Posted by be_rettSEA View Post
I'd definitely write into Alaska Listens and/or use the feedback form on the website to share your experience and disappointment. Imagine they'll toss you some sort of service gesture, especially given you were on a paid F flight.
That has not been my experience even on paid FC. I never hear another thing back from Alaska Listens anymore, much less a gesture.

Last edited by dayone; Aug 28, 19 at 8:18 pm Reason: Fixed quote syntax.
jsguyrus is offline  
Old Aug 28, 19, 3:49 pm
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Over the Bay Bridge, CA
Programs: Jumbo mas
Posts: 30,583
Originally Posted by jsguyrus View Post
That has not been my experience even on paid FC. I never hear another thing back from Alaska Listens anymore, much less a gesture.
I heard back from Alaska Listens on a couple of recent matters. I think it needs to get a 1 or 2 star rating to get the wheels in action. Today, I received a reply from a 21 August matter, with a gesture. So, someone is home, and alive, at least some of the time.
NoLaGent likes this.
Eastbay1K is online now  
Old Aug 28, 19, 3:55 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: SFO, mostly
Posts: 1,801
Originally Posted by jsguyrus View Post
That has not been my experience even on paid FC. I never hear another thing back from Alaska Listens anymore, much less a gesture.
I complained about non-functioning WiFi via Alaska Listens and received a reply a few days later with a discount code.
sltlyamusd is offline  
Old Aug 28, 19, 4:02 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 14
Flew LAX-SJO and LIR-LAX in the spring. I don't remember the food option on the LAX-SJO leg, but LIR-LAX was also an all-cheeseburger flight.

Re: the line in premium economy for the front lavatory, I assume the cart was in the aisle behind those passengers which prevented them from getting to the rear lavatories. That doesn't bother me when i'm in first, but i also never pay for first, so i could see where that would be annoying in your position.
Sandonkey is online now  
Old Aug 28, 19, 5:28 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Seattle, WA
Programs: AS MVPG
Posts: 265
There was no second beverage service - so after the meal service around 90 minutes or so into the 5+ hour flight.........

WOW.....It may be a first world problem but that is absolutely unacceptable for a flight that long in first class. No...that is definitely not the norm and although I am a bit of an AS shill I would have gotten the name of the FA in first and made it very clear to customer service that this individual needs re-training. I am pretty much sure the AS employees on this forum would agree with this. I have never had this happen to me on flights to/from Hawaii or trans cons. WOW.
JacksonFlyer is offline  
Old Aug 28, 19, 5:53 pm
  #9  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Over the Bay Bridge, CA
Programs: Jumbo mas
Posts: 30,583
Originally Posted by JacksonFlyer View Post
There was no second beverage service - so after the meal service around 90 minutes or so into the 5+ hour flight.........

WOW.....It may be a first world problem but that is absolutely unacceptable for a flight that long in first class. No...that is definitely not the norm and although I am a bit of an AS shill I would have gotten the name of the FA in first and made it very clear to customer service that this individual needs re-training. I am pretty much sure the AS employees on this forum would agree with this. I have never had this happen to me on flights to/from Hawaii or trans cons. WOW.
I have, more than once, and when I proactively ask (including ringing the call bell), usually a minimum of half the cabin will also ask when seeing my beverage served.
Often1, NoLaGent and jjmadison like this.
Eastbay1K is online now  
Old Aug 28, 19, 6:32 pm
  #10  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 42,826
Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
I have, more than once, and when I proactively ask (including ringing the call bell), usually a minimum of half the cabin will also ask when seeing my beverage served.
This.

The entire issue about whether drinks are offered or asked for is not something I care about. If I am thirsty, I either hit the call button or head to the galley.
Often1 is online now  
Old Aug 28, 19, 7:59 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: YYZ/MGA
Programs: AA 1MM Lifetime Gold, WS Gold, Marriott Silver
Posts: 7,266
I am not sure what alliance Alaska is but if it's Star Alliance the service is very good on TACA/Avianca and Copa both.
ricktoronto is offline  
Old Aug 28, 19, 8:00 pm
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Over the Bay Bridge, CA
Programs: Jumbo mas
Posts: 30,583
Originally Posted by ricktoronto View Post
I am not sure what alliance Alaska is but if it's Star Alliance the service is very good on TACA/Avianca and Copa both.
No alliance, with an array of primarily non-Star Alliance partners.
Eastbay1K is online now  
Old Aug 29, 19, 4:33 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: SEA
Programs: AS MVPG; HHonors Gold; NEXUS
Posts: 394
Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
I have, more than once, and when I proactively ask (including ringing the call bell), usually a minimum of half the cabin will also ask when seeing my beverage served.
I've had the same experience pretty consistently in AS F. Beverage service in first all-around has taken a marked turn for the worse with passengers having to proactively ask for things rather than being offered.

It's not the end of the world, but it's nowhere near what I would expect out of any kind of first class experience. The Y cabin is offered beverages more often than F... this is just wrong.
jjmadison and Carfield like this.
sullim4 is online now  
Old Aug 29, 19, 8:36 pm
  #14  
FlyerTalk Evangelist, Moderator, Information Desk, Ambassador, Alaska Airlines
Hilton Contributor BadgeIHG Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: ANC, MRI
Programs: AS MVP Gold75K, AS 1MM, Maika`i Card, AGR, HH Gold, Hertz PC, Marriott LTG, SPG Gold, CO, 7H, BA, 8E
Posts: 41,222
Sounds like quite the lackluster return from LIR.

As for the cheeseburger- I'm jealous. And also shocked that this was offered in the Main Cabin? I thought the Main Cabin had discontinued hot meals. Perhaps LIR/SJO are expections?

And only one drink service is unacceptable- either ask the FA, or push the button.

Good news, as a revenue F passenger, you'll be getting a nice mileage bonus from the flights
Flying for Fun likes this.
beckoa is offline  
Old Aug 30, 19, 10:13 am
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: PSP
Programs: AS, UA, AA, HiltonHonors
Posts: 56
Originally Posted by beckoa View Post
...shocked that this was offered in the Main Cabin? I thought the Main Cabin had discontinued hot meals. Perhaps LIR/SJO are expections?
That surprised me too. I didn't actually check - maybe he (FA) was pulling my leg, but I wasn't going to challenge him on that one. I suspect there may be some weird catering anomaly on that route, given AS's small presence in Central America, the small airport/services community there, etc.

Originally Posted by beckoa View Post
And only one drink service is unacceptable- either ask the FA, or push the button.
For sure. I wasn't really thirsty, or I would have asked. I was just surprised that there wasn't a formal "can I get you anything else" or "would you like another xxx?" I saw the FA loading up the snack basket, so I thought "Here comes the second bev service," but I think that must have been for PE, since I didn't see it after that. Of course, once I finally got to use the loo, maybe he snuck in the second service, but when I came out, he was in the same conversation with the same people as when I went in. NBD, other than the "What happened...?" question.

Originally Posted by beckoa View Post
Good news, as a revenue F passenger, you'll be getting a nice mileage bonus from the flights
Yes! I got more miles than I expected, which was good, of course. Exactly how many of them are EQMs I'm not entirely sure, and that's what I'm really after right now.

In the "What Will Alaska Airlines Be Serving in First Class on Your Flight?" thread, we briefly got into an interesting conversation about expectations in F, and whether they should be any different between *upgrading* to F (or comped) and paying full-on F fares. I think that's an interesting question (and perhaps discussed elsewhere around here - I haven't seen it). It seemed that the most seasoned of us (FWIW, this was a survey of two people, so....) feel there should be no difference in service or expectations when on a U or an F. I, as a "lowly MVP," find my expectations different - I'm much more tolerant when in a U seat. Right/Wrong? As I said to @FlightNurse and @Flying for Fun, "Hm."
RetiredSFOATC is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread