Well I’m back on the road again. It’s been a while since I’ve taken to the friendly skies. It feels nice to be able to get back on board and get a change of pace for a few days. I fly often. I love getting out and seeing the world.
One of the best places for writing is actually on the flight when you are forced to take a break from Wi-Fi distractions, put on some music and get down to the heart of writing.
This week I am flying Alaska Airlines. It is a little different from my normal Southwest routine. The flights aren't much different in cost, so I wanted to give it a try. But I did notice a few key differences than could possibly help you to make a better choice between Alaska and Southwest for your next flight.
Here's the first thing I noticed that I really liked:
I love having the app on my phone to be able to check in, order food, see flight details, and have my boarding pass in my hand.
I like having the ability to pick my seat ahead of time. And the perks on the flights are nice. There are actually charging jacks for every seat, free earbuds upon request, and headrests that fold in for more comfort.
However, it's just as cramped as any other plane these days unless you are in first class.
I travel often so the little things that each airline does stand out. Even though I do enjoy having free checked bags on SW, I don’t usually check a bag for weekend trips simply because standing for 30 minutes waiting for my luggage to arrive isn’t the way I want to spend my time.
However AA’s promise to have your bags in under 20 minutes was enticing enough to get me to check my bag and not drag it through the airport.
Yet there are a few things I wish I could change about air travel in general no matter which airlines you use.
Give us AIR!!
It seems that no matter what time of year I travel or where I go, the cabins are stuffy. The heat during the day that simmers through the window is sometimes like sitting against a heater. You also often sit next to people you don’t know and you don’t want to sweat but the lack of flowing air makes that pretty hard to do. Whenever I sit down, I am always opening the vent as wide as it will go. But the tiny trickle of fresh air really isn’t enough.
Can I have a drink with my cup of ice?
I know they don’t want you to drink too much so you aren’t crowding the lines for the bathroom. But is it too much to ask that we actually get more than 2 tablespoons of seltzer water in our cups? It’s hot, people are nervous, and the pretzels are salty. Why can’t we have enough to drink that actually satisfies our thirst? I am always left with a cup of ice that I look at longingly every few minutes hoping that the ice will melt faster in the heat so I can have another taste of water.
This is why my husband brings along an empty water bottle and fills it up before he boards. Maybe I should have taken his advice to bring my bottle. Oh well.
The little differences do matter.
All in all, both Southwest and Alaska are decent airlines to use. I like the comedy staff on Southwest more than the credit card pushing that I had to endure with Alaska that was a bit over the top and bordering on obnoxious.
Alaska does make an effort to try to give customers a better experience. When I asked for seltzer water, I was surprised and delighted to be asked if I would like lime or lemon with my glass. And when I asked for more, the next time around they simply asked if I wanted the whole can.
The boarding process with Southwest is MUCH better. You have boarding numbers instead of assigned seats and you board according to your number.
Where as the boarding for Alaska is a bit confusing, people are all standing in masses trying to understand who is going first, asking what is happening, and it is a mess.
But I had a seat that I liked because I had assigned seating, so it was easier just to wait and walk around til it cleared up then get on after the rush. My seat was going to be there either way.
So based on this trip, Alaska came out pretty nice and I would definitely use them again for my next flight.
What airlines do you use and why?