Airline: Alaska Airlines
The Seat: Any seat with a “soft bulkhead” (one with no hard wall in front of you) is usually one that will earn points with modhoppers. These seats come with a few extra inches of legroom but not with the normal bulkhead restrictions as you’re able to use the seat in front of you for bag stowage or fuller leg extension. The seat itself is leather with an adjustable headrest for added comfort. Width is standard for a bulkhead with an inch or so taken off for the tray table in the armrest.
Service: Alaska Airlines ranks well with us for service, this flight was no exception. Flight Attendants were cheery and helpful. Alaska MVP Gold elite members were offered a free alcoholic beverage and along with partner elites had early access to this row and other premium seating. After passing on food at first the flight attendant was more than happy to find me a cheeseburger later in the flight.
Notes: Another benefit to sitting in this row is early boarding. It seems they understand that these seats are often occupied by elite members who missed out on an upgrade. (The Gold MVP member next to me even let out an audible “Awww” after the last seat in first was filled.)
Summary: Any seat in this row provides a bit more legroom than most and comes with the added benefit of early boarding. If you’re lucky enough to avoid crying babies or armrest hogs, your experience should be at least a tiny bit better than in a normal economy seat. Food options will differ depending on the length of your specific flight and meet expectations but nothing more.
Rating: 3 hops (of 5).
Strategy: Alaska MVP Gold members and some partner elites (Delta’s partnership has reciprocal elite benefits) have first pick of these seats. This particular seat opened up about an hour before boarding after upgrades had cleared. It pays to check seat availability again before printing (or re-printing) your boarding pass and you don’t need to be an elite to grab these seats during check-in.
How I got it: Checked seat availability and changed seat at kiosk before Re-printing boarding pass.
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