Review: Alaska Airlines B737-8, Seattle – Fort Lauderdale


My flight from the Pacific Northwest to the Sunshine State of Florida was on a direct transcontinental from Seattle to Florida. It was among the second longest domestic flights in the United States as a result of the diagonal trans continental distance from city to city. On board, I’d experience the pleasant Alaska Airlines service in an Emergency Exit row seat.

This post is one chapter on our trip to Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States of America. This trip was enhanced through Alaska Mileage Plan and through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: Alaska Airlines B737-8, Seattle Tacoma International Airport – Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport

It was super convenient to fly trans-continental with our connecting hub being in Seattle without the usual stop half way through the journey in Dallas, Chicago or Minneapolis St Paul like most of our other trans-border flights.

In other noteworthy statistics, this flight gets the silver medal for the second longest domestic flight in the lower 48 continental United States at 2,717 miles, just behind the American Airlines Seattle – Miami flight at 2,742 miles. At the time, it was also Alaska Airlines’ longest scheduled by distance.

Alaska Airlines
AS 38 – Economy Class (T)
SEA – FLL (Seattle Tacoma International Airport – Fort Lauderdale / Hollywood Airport)
Jan 31, 2018
08:50 AM – 5:24 PM
Booked: Boeing 737-900
Flown: Boeing 737-800

Based on a look around the boarding area, the flight was full of seniors heading off for cruises departing from Fort Lauderdale. The boarding for this flight started on time at 8:10 AM with a call for children, those needing assistance, first class and military. There were a handful of walkers headed down the jet bridge at the first call. I boarded with Group 2 with the Alaska MVP members and had plenty of overhead bin space available.

I wasn’t even near getting a First Class MVP Upgrade at Number 15

There was no premium or first class upgrades available today. I ended up way down as an MVP at number 15 on the upgrade list. I later learned that selecting an emergency exit row exempts you from any MVP upgrades at all.


On Board Alaska Airlines:

Alaska Airlines economy class is set up in the usual 3 – 3 configuration on it’s Boeing 737 series fleets. On board, I settled into Seat 16 A. I was able to get and hold an emergency row seat with extra leg room. The leg room was great and a lot better than my last standard seats on Air Canada. The Alaska seats were slim line Recaro’s without seat back entertainment. Entertainment was provided through your own device using the gogo entertainment app.

Alaska Airlines Emergency Row Exit Seating
There was lots of Legroom in the Emergency Row Exit Seats
Ample Space for the Knees

The captain announced a 5 hour and 7 minute flight to Fort Lauderdale with 130 knot tail winds with an early arrival. We had a beautiful take off through the clouds of the Pacific Northwest.

Taking Off from Seattle Tacoma over the Mountains of the Pacific Northwest
Beautiful Over the Wing Views

The Meal: Buy on Board

Featuring celebrity chef Tom Douglas

The buy on board menus and drink lists were as follows. It featured signature meals by Tom Douglas.

Alaska Airlines Buy on Board Economy Menu
Alaska Airlines Buy on Board Economy Alcohol Menu

Despite having had a breakfast snack at Beechers in Seattle Tacoma International Airport, I had pre-ordered the Tom Douglas Breakfast sandwich from the Alaska Airlines App a few das before departure. It arrived during the regular meal service. I enjoyed this with a coffee and a white wine afterwards. The presentation could use a bit of an upgrade but it was otherwise tasty. At each opportunity, I was addressed by name which was impressive for economy class service.

The Tom Douglas Breakfast Sandwich, Smoked Shoulder Bacon with Beechers & Tillamook Cheese

In Flight Entertainment:

There wasn’t much to do for the flight so I read a newspaper and watched some Gogo Inflight Entertainment. Unfortunately, Alaska doesn’t seem to refresh their movies all too often. I enjoyed the same movies “Taken 2”, “CHiPS” and “Hot Pursuit” that were on our flights on Alaska Airlines four months earlier.

There is a Groovy Flight Tracker on the Gogo In Flight Entertainment App

Passing a Satellite Rocket Launch:

In the last hour of our flight, the captain came on to announce that a Rocket Launch was about to take place as we passed over Cape Canaveral Launch station. Unfortunately, the launch was probably spectacular from the flight deck, but I wasn’t able to get any view from the back thanks to the angle. I did get to see some interesting circular cork screw clouds (pictured in mid upper right) over the launch site which gradually disappeared as we passed through the area. The launch was a rocket taking up a satellite for the country of Luxembourg.

The Last Remaining Clouds from a Satellite Launch off Cape Canaveral

It was a quick and easy landing at Fort Lauderdale with no holds or other waits as we started the approach.

On Approach to Fort Lauderdale International Airport
On Final Approach

I landed in at Fort Lauderdale and arrived to Terminal 1. Similar to many other American airports, it’s a very utilitarian structure that looks like it was designed in the late nineties. There were commercial, industrial looking spaces, flared with primary colour hues, in a somewhat soulless environment. Nevertheless, it was extremely easy to navigate with broad concourses. It made it easy to get over to the Car Rental Center, after a short walk through the arrivals concourse.

Southwest Views at FLL

Picking up Transportation at Fort Lauderdale Rental Car Center:

I have to love the United States for these wonderful Car Rental Center facilities. Nowhere in the world can you have an entire concourse dedicated wholly to car rentals on various floors. Set yourself up properly in advance and you can get to your car rental and choose almost any car in the aisle.

Breaking with my usual Hertz due to a major difference in price, I picked up an Avis Rental Car and drove the 15 minutes up to the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina.

En Route to the Hotel

My Thoughts on Alaska Airlines Seattle – Florida Service:

The Alaska Airlines service continues to impress me as among the more favourable carriers operating around the United States. Their service is friendly. I was addressed by name as an Alaska Mileage Plan MVP at every opportunity, something that maybe happens once a flight during a purser introduction with elite status I’ve held with Air Canada or United Mileage Plus. The food was reasonable, although I didn’t realize that grabbing the emergency exit row would exempt you from further domestic upgrades.

If you regularly travel to Florida, what’s your preferred route to get there ?

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