Trip Report – Down Under in a Flash: Seattle to Los Angeles

Seattle to Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Los Angeles to Brisbane
Brisbane to Sydney to Canberra
Canberra to Melbourne
Qantas First Lounge Melbourne
Melbourne to Los Angeles
Los Angeles to Seattle


Tuesday 2nd April – 2013

An evening flight allowed for a full day of stress and work before having to brave peak hour traffic in the truck before getting to the airport. Thankfully though traffic was pretty light compared to normal and meant that I was able to get to the airport in about 40 minutes. Within an hour and 10 minute of leaving work I had driven to the airport, dropped the truck off at Wallypark, got the shuttle over to the terminal, checked in my excessively heavy suitcase ($50 bag and overweight charge) and then made it through the standard TSA security line.

I was flying Alaska tonight so it was pleb mode this evening. No priority anything, no lounge no nothing. Just me and the rest of the flying public. I was “slumming it. I had somehow managed to score row 6 on the flight though which is the first row behind Alaska’s first class cabin with plenty of legroom as it passed for a “bulkhead row”.

Once through security and into the terminal proper I had a good 2 and a half hours till my flight. I knew alaska boarded early generally so since we were leaving from the North Terminal I figured I needed to be over there about an hour to 45 minutes prior. That gave me 90 minutes to kill in the main terminal. First things first. A shoe shine. $5 for a shoe shine that would make my shoes (that I hadn’t worn since Qatar) spick and span ready for the wedding was totally worth it. The job was completed without fuss, they looked amazing and I got a good chat with the guy out of it.

With that done I scouted my take out dinner options and then sat down with a coffee, a biscoff that I had somehow found in my draw at work and some emails and a view of the tarmac. The one thing that I do like about Seattle is that they do have rocking chairs in the main food court area, lining the windows so you can sit back and watch the aircraft rotate right in front of you.

With about an hour and a bit to go before boarding I grabbed my takeout dinner from Dish D’lish and a bagel and drink. With that all tied up nicely I headed over to the North Satelitte to find a seat by the gate… weirdly by this time it was approaching about 10 minutes to boarding time and we still did not have an aircraft. There was no way we were departing on time! Shortly after I sat down the aircraft showed up and by the time they started to disembark, we should of been departing.

It didn’t worry me all that much, I had a bed waiting on the other end of the flight and I wasn’t flying to Australia tonight so I didn’t have to worry about connecting times etc. I was just happy to sit on my butt and wait. Which I did. A few emails later and they were pre boarding those with assistance.

Alaska Airlines – AS462
Seattle-Tacoma to Los Angeles
Boeing 737-800 (N546AS)
Economy Class – Seat 6A

Boarding: 1937 (Gate N8)
Push Back: 2017
Take Off Roll: 2026 (Runway 16C)
Top of Descent: 2200
Touch Down: 2226 (Runway 25L)
Shut Down: 2232 (Gate 66)

Boarding was called for first class and elites, and since I was up front I was expecting to have to wait till right at the end. What puzzled me most was they called Row 6 seperately… wierd! It meant I got to board kind of early.. sweet!

By the time I got onboard after waiting in line, it was already starting to get crowded as it felt like half the plane had pre boarded or come onboard with the elites, but there was an older mexican gentleman having to move around and I was asked to wait while he sat down, which was kind of stupid because he had to get back up again so I could sit down. Smart move Alaska FA! It was all sorted out and eventually I managed to get myself settled and started more reading of my book.

We pushed back late (as expected) with a 100% load (as expected) and had a quick taxi from N8 to the 34 series. We skipped last left and turned onto center with no wait and headed directly for the sky. The flight out was dark with no views so I was head down in my book the whole way. That’s the one thing about night flights, I can never take photos no really spend all that much time looking out the window as all you see is black. When we passed 10,000ft the ipod came out for some entertainment.

With entertainment covered, dinner awaiting to be eaten and a book to keep me sane, the flight just kind of passed by. Nothing really to talk about. I did get a full cup of soda.. wooo and a bag of snack mix… woo. Decent size cups but nothing to complain about. The main thing I did during the flight was eat, drink & read. Isn’t that what flying is all about.

Lights started to appear out the window after a little while as the clouds broke apart and we started our descent over Los Angeles. The city of lights, lots of lights. As we descended it was obvious we were heading to the south runways and I was sitting on the wrong side as I couldn’t see LAX but I did have a fantastic view of Downtown including Dodgers Stadium just after a game had let out with traffic everywhere. Streets jammed full of lights just glowing red from tail lights.

As we turned for finals to the 25 series (25 is the south runways with 24 being north) I started to notice landmarks and soon enough I could see Hawthorne airport just a mile or so outside of LAX and then before I knew it we were slamming onto the ground, and slam we did. I swear we bounced a little but I can’t be sure. At least the shocks on the landing gear got a good test.

We taxiied quickly off the runway and did not have to hold at all, which was good luck for LAX since a lot of the late night departures from the south side might of had us holding a while but we flew past the holding points and straight to T6 where an empty gate awaited us. Now came the real test for Alaska. As they opened the doors on that flight, the counter started. Alaska guarantees that your bag will arrive within 20 minutes of flight completion. So as soon as that door opened that clock started and they had 20 minutes to get my bag to me.

With the timer running I didn’t exactly sprint to the baggage claim and took my time wandering through T6 since I hadn’t been there in almost a year. The last time I had been in T6 was just after Alaska moved in, not that it was all that evident that late at night as the terminal was pretty empty with a handful of red eyes to the east coast or south to mexico. As i reached down to the baggage claim area within about 1 minute of getting there the baggage belt started, only 9 minutes since the doors opened. Alaska are good! Even better, my suitcase was bag #3.

With my suitcase in hand, I headed for the shuttle to my hotel the Radisson LAX, where I promptly dropped my suitcase on my foot and took a giant chunk out of it. Dammit!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *