Major airlines in the Unites States have been instituting welcomed and much needed improvements in their lounges. Delta Air Lines’ SkyClubs were the best of the bunch domestically but even it has improved its standard lounge experience and opened some stunning new ones at San Francisco, CA, Seattle, WA, and Austin, TX. American and United have also improved their domestic lounges. Their strength however, is their outstanding Flagship and Polaris lounges, respectively, for international premium customers.
In an effort to keep up with the Joneses, about one month ago, Alaska Airlines opened a new lounge at Seattle, WA (SEA), its largest hub. I had a chance to visit briefly a week ago just before closing time when connecting to a Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong.
This Alaska lounge is impressive. It didn’t at all feel or look like a typical airline lounge. Concrete floors, simple and modern furnishings, and low light levels made me feel like I was stepping into the lobby of an Aloft Hotel.
Location and Hours
This lounge is open from 05:00 to 23:00 daily. It is located on the mezzanine level at the end of the concourse in the North Satellite Terminal.
Depending on your arrival and departure gates it can be a bit of a pain to get to. It was for me in part because the handle on my carry on was broken and I actually had to carry it rather than rolling it. (Remember when people actually carried there luggage?) I think SEA is a great airport; however with multiple terminals and three airport trains, getting from one gate to another sometimes involves a lot of effort.
The following groups have access to the lounge without charge:
- Alaska Airlines lounge members with a same-day boarding pass on any carrier and their immediate family (partner and children under 21) or up to two guests;
- American Airlines Admirals Club members with a same-day boarding pass for an American Airlines or Alaska Airlines operated flight;
- Any passenger traveling on a paid first class fare or award ticket on a flight operated by Alaska Airlines.
In addition, Alaska offers access on a space – available basis for $50 to anyone with a same day boarding pass on any airline. Alaska Airlines lounge members may purchase a day pass for additional traveling companions, or for guests and family not traveling with the member, for $25 per person.
My access was by virtue of being an Admirals Club member and arriving at SEA on an American Airlines flight.
This lounge occupies an area of almost 16,000 square feet. The fire marshal allows a maximum occupancy of 777. I can’t see that Alaska would ever allow even half that many to enter.
The lounge is divided into three areas. As you enter the seating area is to the left, food-service and dinning is in the middle, and the bar area is on the far right.
I visited near closing and the lounge appeared rather dark. During the day, I suspect the floor-to-ceiling windows would fill this lounge with light.
A row of recliners faces the tarmac on the far left side of the lounge.
Fireplaces are popular features in airline lounges. I first encountered them maybe 20 years ago in Northwest Airline WorldClubs in Detroit and Minneapolis. A fireplace adds a relaxing, homey touch. People have enjoyed gathering around a fire for as long as there have been people and the ability to make fires.
All areas of the lounge have excellent views of the runways and ramp.
The portion of the lounge devoted to food and dining is just to the right as you enter.
- Breakfast items including pancakes, oatmeal, and bread,
- Daytime food items including soups and salads (at some locations),
- Snacks including fruit, vegetables, pretzels, chips, guacamole, and cookies,
- Self-serve soft drinks, Starbucks drip coffees, and teas, and
- Espresso machines.
Patrons can enjoy complimentary wine, beer (including a good selection of local craft beers) spirits, liquor and specialty cocktails. Premium spirits come with a charge.
I usually include a discrete photo or two from the men’s bathroom in my lounge reviews.
I think it would be interesting to see photos of women’s bathrooms in lounges. My guess is they generally look much nicer than bathrooms for men.
Alaska Airlines has done a great job with this lounge. It is worth a visit if you are flying through Seattle. What do you think of Alaska Airlines new lounge?