✅ Verified Review
| Seattle to Los Angeles. Alaska Airlines has gotten better over the years but still has a ways to go. Many of their flights are still late and they generally do an awful job of updating the electronic screens at the gates. The screen will say a flight is boarding in 5 minutes when there isn't even a plane at the gate. It's also comical how Alaska charges most of their passengers to check a bag but then offers to do it for free as nearly every flight has issues with overhead bin space. So if you're flying Alaska check in online and choose zero bags to check. A screen or two later Alaska will usually offer to let you check your carry-on for free. And even if they don't, they almost certainly will offer to do so at the gate. Why not offer a free checked bag to everyone if you're going to offer that anyway? It's not fair to those who paid to check their bags. On the plus side their newest planes (the "next gen" 737-800 and -900) have more generous legroom and power at your seat. On the downside you have to use your own device for inflight entertainment. Alaska could learn something from Virgin American (which they now own). They do offer free (for now) streaming shows over WiFi but it's cumbersome, buggy, and you have to click past several screens trying to sell you GoGo inflight WiFi. While they offer a decent selection of paid food and beverages they have only a single food and beverage cart for the entire plane and a 737-900 is a long plane. So it takes something like 45 minutes for the service to work its way from the front to the back. But my biggest complaint about Alaska is they have many flights that are chronically late, yet they refuse to change the scheduled times. Even the flight crews have no explanation why they don't change the scheduled times. Southwest flies many of the same routes and puts Alaska to shame with their on-time record on those flights. And if anything goes wrong, like bad weather (we recently had snow in Seattle, for example) look out as Alaska turns into total chaos - especially at SeaTac. Wait times exceed one hour for calling them, lines stretch way down the hall from their customer service counters, their website falls on its face from the load, etc. And if you do stand in line for hours trying to rebook your cancelled, or infinitely delayed, flight, you're usually offered nothing useful and a joke of a customer care package. Basically they just seem not to care as they already have your money. Alaska charges at least $125 to make any changes to most flights and it's often horrifically expensive if you have to make a last minute change. This is in stark contrast to Southwest that charges no penalties for changes. Alaska's boarding is annoying with several "tiers" of preboarding which often amounts to at least a third of the plane with many of those people still blocking the aisles once they start general boarding. Again, Southwest is a far more pleasant and efficient experience. But airlines like United are even worse in this regard. Overall, for west coast travel I often have my pick of Southwest, Virgin America, Alaska, Delta, and United. And I try to book flights in that order of priority. Alaska is my third choice after Southwest and Virgin.