First Class Service to New York/EWR?

Old Mar 27, 20, 5:35 pm
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First Class Service to New York/EWR?

Just gave up my status at United after a hundred years. Looking at Alaska for a flight to EWR first week of September. Does Alaska do biz/first well? I've always been satisfied with Continental/United domestically ... just looking for a comfortable seat, decent food, non-grumpy FAs. Would this route fly the old Virgin America planes? Any opinions and information very much appreciated.
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Old Mar 27, 20, 5:50 pm
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I like their first offering. They do not have a layflat product at all; however, their standard first seat has better leg-room than most domestic recliner seats. The Alaska cabin crew is usually very pleasant. I fly them in first 3-4 times a year and I really like the updated seats.
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Old Mar 27, 20, 6:05 pm
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Some people gripe (and whine) about the lack of lie-flats AS. If you are fine with a standard recliner, with excellent legroom, AS is a great way to travel. I'd argue they have the best FAs and serve some of the best food of any US airline.
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Old Mar 27, 20, 6:08 pm
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UA SFO-EWR has never had grumpy FAs IMO, and I'm more sensitive to grumpiness than anyone.

Are you flying at business peak times?
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Old Mar 27, 20, 6:13 pm
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Originally Posted by jsn55 View Post
Does Alaska do biz/first well? I've always been satisfied with Continental/United domestically ... just looking for a comfortable seat, decent food, non-grumpy FAs. Would this route fly the old Virgin America planes? .
I've been to Newark a bunch over Jan-Feb and those flights were all Boeing 737-800/900 aircraft. Hard to say if that might change in the weeks ahead. Have been very happy with on-board service, though wish meals would rotate more frequently than every 2 months. I have photos of seats and meals HERE, though think meals are off the table for the next few weeks. TSA precheck at Newark is usually pretty quick for evening flights (have not been there for morning flights using JFK instead). There's an Admirals Club in the same terminal and a Priority Pass lounge pre-security one terminal away by train.

Will just post one photo here of the 737-900 F seat:

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Old Mar 27, 20, 7:10 pm
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If you don't actually buy into F it's a pretty good product. Otherwise, Alaska prices their F pretty high if you're booking closer-in or on higher demand days, AS pricing can be close to Mint or other "more desirable" products.
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Old Mar 27, 20, 7:16 pm
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Bear in mind that UA's SFO-EWR service is a premium route. Thus, enhanced service & lie flats. AS does not offer either. On the other hand, service is dialed way back and likely to be dialed back even further as it becomes more evident that keeping the aircraft scrubbed and the service items safe is most important.

My view is that the lie flat on UA, AA & DL differentiates the product vastly from AS.
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Old Mar 27, 20, 8:54 pm
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Is your travel personal or business?

As ft543 noted, you'll be content with AS F hard and soft product if you are on paid coach tickets and upgraded to F. The food in AS F is better/more creative than UA. Otherwise, if you're paying $800-1500 OW for F, UA wins on hard product. Of course, it is entirely possible Sept flights will still not have F class service due to COVID-19, so the seat may be the most valuable part of F.

If I were working for let's say McKinsey & CO and flying on the client's dime, I would stick to UA Premium and Delta. Plus if JFK was an option instead of EWR, I would choose Jetblue Mint all day every day.

Now that I'm running a startup where $$$ matter to bottomline, and maintain 75k status, AS is the best value.
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Old Mar 27, 20, 10:23 pm
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Keep in mind as well that AS may not even be flying from SFO-EWR by then whereas unless UA goes away completely they will given that it would be a hub to hub route. Might want to revisit your look at options in a few months when we have a better sense as to what routes|service levels are offered once air travel begins to revive.
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Old Mar 28, 20, 1:44 pm
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Okay, doom and gloom scenarios aside, here's my take:
Having punted United's entire operation two years ago, I couldn't be happier. I can't pretend AS is a perfect airline, but they remind me a lot of Continental in the old days (2000-2005, under Bethune).
I've come to enjoy Alaska's friendlier product, even if that means not having lie-flat seats for my precious behind to sit in on a 5 hour daytime flight. (Overnight, otoh, they were kinda nice...)
Sometimes you can find very good prices for AS F; other times, as noted above, you wonder just who at AS is delusional, charging the same or more for what is demonstrably an inferior product. BUT. Generally speaking, I've been quite happy.
And I don't miss New United at all. I made the mistake of letting work book me on United for a trip to Canada in November... not a good experience. I gave them years to get it straightened out, before I decided that my lifetime is not long enough to keep funneling money into a company that hates me and most other customers. Arrivederci!
I do, however, miss the Star Alliance, so if you're looking for a new default airline, it's worth considering that Alaska is, eventually, headed into WonWhirled. If that does or does not appeal to you, or maybe it has no bearing on you at all. Just something to consider.
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Old Mar 29, 20, 10:53 am
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Going to cancel my SEA-EWR flight here for mid-April, just waiting to see if AS cancels it first (doubt it). However, unless something has changed my last FC experience this past week trans-con consisted of a couple of cans of beers and chips/cookies and unfortunately the entertainment system was not working. FAs were great and accommodating as always given what they were faced with but outside of that and a larger seat, not sure why anyone would purchase or even use miles to upgrade currently. At this point, if you have status, chances are you will be upgraded.
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Old Mar 29, 20, 10:59 am
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Originally Posted by JacksonFlyer View Post
Going to cancel my SEA-EWR flight here for mid-April, just waiting to see if AS cancels it first (doubt it). However, unless something has changed my last FC experience this past week trans-con consisted of a couple of cans of beers and chips/cookies and unfortunately the entertainment system was not working. FAs were great and accommodating as always given what they were faced with but outside of that and a larger seat, not sure why anyone would purchase or even use miles to upgrade currently. At this point, if you have status, chances are you will be upgraded.
They may not cancel it, but a significant time change is possible. As for entertainment tablets “Not working”, they have been temporarily removed from all flights.
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Old Mar 29, 20, 1:48 pm
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Originally Posted by RAD_PDX View Post
They may not cancel it, but a significant time change is possible. As for entertainment tablets “Not working”, they have been temporarily removed from all flights.
No, I knew they were not handing out tablets, it was the WiFi entertainment on GoGo that was not working...or as my browser said "entertainment not available". It happens...but bad timing for me.
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Old Mar 29, 20, 3:07 pm
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Originally Posted by JacksonFlyer View Post
No, I knew they were not handing out tablets, it was the WiFi entertainment on GoGo that was not working...or as my browser said "entertainment not available". It happens...but bad timing for me.
This does happen... fortunately, not very often, but it always seems to happen when I'm on a long flight, and have magically managed to pack all ready material... IN MY CHECKED BAG.
Facepalm.
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Old Mar 30, 20, 8:09 am
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I love Alaska for frequent flyer perks, but when you are coming from an Airline with Premium service and frequencies to match, AS can’t match. I’d recommend staying with United. People who often book into United F often remarks that AS F is an inferior product.

Cabin-wise, United offers better inflight experience than AS F. AS has no lie-flat seats except for the dated and often broken Virgin fleet. Many of those aircrafts have already been converted to the recliner F seats and re-deployed for more short-haul operations. Most long-haul flights is operated by 737s and sometime A321. Recliner seats are not lie-flat, and while spacious, only provide decent comfort. Duvet is provided but no pillow or plush amenity kits. There are no entertainment system on board, except personal device entertainment, and digi-player. With much higher F to Y ratio, United is more devoted to F cabin than AS.

Frequency-wise, AS can’t match United’s hourly service. At its peak, AS provides Only 3 flights compared to United’s 15 daily.

AS is simply a customer friendly airline for the majority of us who wants good service for a reasonable price.

Jiburi
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