Dipped my toe in the water today...

Old May 13, 20, 11:51 pm
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Dipped my toe in the water today...

I haven't flown since President's Day weekend back in February, but today I "dipped my toe in the water" and flew a short PDX-SEA flight on a AS 737 that I had purchased back when they were selling saver seats for $20. Here's what I noticed during my travels that was different as well as the same....

Same:
1. Mix of passengers: Single travelers like myself, couples, families with young children (and of course the proverbial crying toddler), and senior citizens. The only thing missing was an emotional support animal
2. Although the flight wasn't even close to full--there were still around 100 passengers so it didn't come close to the stories of near-empty flights with 10 or fewer passengers....the list of passengers awaiting seats was well over 20. On a side note, given the fact that flights are obviously starting to fill-up as schedules get reduced, I wonder about the sustainability of middle seat blocking and if AS plans to actually not sell those seats in the near future or just make an attempt to not make them available for selection until the last minute.
3. Upon arrival at SEA, we sat on the tarmac waiting for our gate to open which was of course occupied by another aircraft (some things never change regardless how many flights there are per day I guess).

Different:
1. At the beginning of boarding, the reader board said they were boarding "First Class" and stayed that way for the remainder of boarding. It seemed like everyone just go in line (with little to no social distancing) whenever they wanted to board. Some would argue boarding on AS has actually been like this before and nothing has changed, but most of my pre-COVID flights utilized the boarding by letter system rather just everyone get in line and board whenever it says "First Class Boarding".
2. It seemed everyone including the crew is complying with the new mask policy and although I don't like the mask when it fogs up my glasses (as previously mentioned by AS Flyer), it really wasn't a problem and it didn't seem to be for any of the passengers around me. Upon deplaning SEA, however, about 1/3 of the passengers in the terminal were not wearing a mask and I even noticed a few AS customer service agents working without a mask so maybe the whole mask thing is a bit slow to catch on there.
3. As expected, no beverages since the flight was under 350 miles.
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Old May 14, 20, 10:14 am
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Thanks for the update!
Were they blocking a seat in each row in First Class as well?
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Old May 14, 20, 10:32 am
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Originally Posted by u2g0d View Post
Thanks for the update!
Were they blocking a seat in each row in First Class as well?
I am actually not sure about that since I was way back in row 32 If I book a short Q400 flight, I'll pay the saver fare and sit in the back, but my flight got changed to a 737 so it reassigned me from my chosen aisle seat in row 18 to a window in row 32 Even with around 100 passengers, I still ended up with 3 seats to myself.
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Old May 14, 20, 10:42 am
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Originally Posted by u2g0d View Post
Thanks for the update!
Were they blocking a seat in each row in First Class as well?
On my last 3 flights FC was at only 50%. You could only sit next to a passenger if you were related/traveling together. If you look at the seat maps you will see that 1D and 1F are blocked, the FA sits in 1D instead of next to the FC FA in the pull down seats.
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Old May 14, 20, 12:11 pm
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Just a quick tip for glasses that fog up... take a tiny bit of dawn dish soap and rub it on and wipe off. Won't effect the optics but the film will prevent condensation from forming. That or buy anti-fog juice sold all over for ski goggles and stuff, it does the same thing. Being a sailor working in humid climates has taught me lots of ways to deal with hot air!
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Old May 14, 20, 2:23 pm
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I flew a round trip Saturday PDX-LAX on the outbound on Alaska on the return Southwest.

Airport and TSA not a person, but when I got to the gate, wow lot of people. We were very good with social distancing, good job passengers! It was the smaller Embr174 but every row was taken and first glass had someone on both sides all rows.

Kudos the staff at As they had masks and gloves and when they served water and snacks also done with gloves/mask. On landing most were pretty good. Even though the mask requirement hadn't started everyone had masks, some did take off during the flight. Will be interesting this week with the enforcement will they come by and ask / require you to wear and if they encounter the rebels?

Flight back on SW was a far worse experience, flew Burbank to Las Vegas to PDX, maybe it was the carrier or the airport/destination. Mask wearing and social distancing was ignored by many. Even 2 of the 3 attendants took off their mask for extended on the Las Vegas to PDX segment. Not enough sample size to say if it was SW or the crowd / city, Upon landing every bunched up to the front, go figure... an F in social distancing on this flight.
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Old May 14, 20, 5:37 pm
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Originally Posted by ctporter View Post
, the FA sits in 1D instead of next to the FC FA in the pull down seats.
The FA doesnít sit in the jumpseat for takeoff and landing? Or do they move right after wheels up?
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Old May 14, 20, 5:49 pm
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Originally Posted by tusphotog View Post
The FA doesnít sit in the jumpseat for takeoff and landing? Or do they move right after wheels up?
On my return to PDX yesterday (when I was in 2A/C), I did notice the FA sitting in 1D....even for take-off if I recall.
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Old May 14, 20, 7:26 pm
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Originally Posted by tusphotog View Post
The FA doesnít sit in the jumpseat for takeoff and landing? Or do they move right after wheels up?
1 FA is in the jumpseat and the other is in 1D. This so they donít have to sit right next to each other.
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Old May 14, 20, 9:26 pm
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Thumbs up

Originally Posted by PDXPremier View Post
I haven't flown since President's Day weekend back in February, but today I "dipped my toe in the water" and flew a short PDX-SEA flight on a AS 737 that I had purchased back when they were selling saver seats for $20...
I'm encouraged by the fact that your post has been up nearly 24 hours and no one has dropped in to chide you for flying a non-essential trip, breaking stay-at-home orders, or endangering the general population. I simply dropped by a nearly deserted airport a couple weeks ago to see if TSA agents were wearing masks and caught some flak when I posted about it.

I appreciate your trip report; thanks for sharing it.
Daze, AS Flyer, sullim4 and 4 others like this.
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Old May 15, 20, 10:18 am
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I flew an essential trip for a quick medical procedure on Tuesday May 12, a day after the mask rules took effect. Due to Alaska schedule limitations, I flew SEA to SFO on Alaska and returned SFO to SEA on United. Both flights had about 30 people so crowding was not a concern. However, I think United did far better on safety.
  • Flight attendants: My Alaska first class flight attendant wore his mask hanging from his nametag the whole flight. This was probably the most blatant safety fail. United FAs were masked the whole time.
  • Boarding: Alaska used the standard boarding process (FC, MVP Gold first); United boarded back to front including FC last;
  • Deplaning: United asked us to wait until our row was called to avoid overcrowding
  • Other: United passed out individual Purell wipes as we boarded. United also sent multiple texts reminding us that masks were required at SFO
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Old May 15, 20, 6:05 pm
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Iíve been having weekly trips from PDX to SFO last three weeks. Itís about 50/50 they cancel one of the two flights a day. When they do cancel the flights have about 30 people on them. When they do not cancel flights have about 15 people. So maybe that is just going to SFO but thatís what I have seen.
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Old May 22, 20, 12:31 am
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Pleasant and uneventful transcon

Dipped my toe today on a JFK-SFO Thursday PM transcon due to some necessary travel.

Overall, a fine flight, if certainly surreal and sad seeing the empty airports (and shuttered stores, knowing what it means for the workers) on both sides.

Flight seemed to be about 30% full; I could have confused it with an off peak flight in normal times. Everyone wearing masks, including all FAs, who seemed in fine spirits.

Upgraded at T-36. Tapas / snack boxes were offered right after takeoff; beer service on demand, and two rounds of snack baskets offered as well.

I was happy to fly.
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Old May 22, 20, 5:13 pm
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Boarding gate was a zoo at SEA today.

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Old May 23, 20, 2:15 am
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S3? isn't that the international or Delta gates? I have departed and landed at the B gates on AS, and once saw a Q400 at an S gate back in the days of very crowded SEA, did not think they needed to use S gates though! amazing
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