This post reviews the Alaska Airlines lounge at Anchorage’s Ted Stevens International Airport. We spent about an hour there enjoying the wifi and grabbing a bite before the flight from Anchorage to Utqiaġvik. I can now say I’ve reviewed every airport lounge in Alaska because the Alaska Lounge is the only one.
Other posts from our Alaska trip in May 2021.
Location and Hours
Alaska Airlines operates a small system of airport lounges at its major hubs primarily on the West Coast. There are Alaska Lounges at Anchorage, AK Seattle, WA (3 locations), Portland, OR, Los Angeles, CA and New York, NY (JFK). A brand new 9,000 sq. ft. (836 sq. m.) is opening at San Francisco, CA (SFO) this summer.
In Anchorage, the Alaska Lounge is located on the left at the beginning of Concourse C.
After entering take the stairs or elevator up one level. This lounge has very generous hours. It is open from 05:00 to 01:00 (that’s 1 am).
The great thing about Alaska Lounges is they are open to everyone, subject to capacity controls. Access comes through a multitude of channels such as lounge membership, class of service flown, frequent-flyer status, Priority Pass membership, membership in the American Airlines Admirals Club or Qantas Club, or, the option available to all, a purchased day pass. Complimentary access is also available to members of the U.S. military traveling on active orders. If none of those options work, there is always just hanging around outside and seeing if someone will bring you in as a guest.
Anyone can purchase an annual Alaska Lounge membership. The standard price is $450. Those with status in Alaska’s frequent flyer program, MileagePlan, get discounts of up to $150 of the standard price.
In March 2021, Alaska Airlines joined the oneworld airline alliance. That constitutes a huge leap forward for Alaska Airlines and its frequent flyers. Oneworld is a partnership of 14 world-class airlines (including British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, American, Qatar, and Qantas) providing seamless service and smooth connections to over 1,000 destinations.
Top MileagePlan elites will have access to business class or first class lounges of oneworld airlines when flying internationally regardless of the cabin they are flying in. Conversely, oneworld airline customers with Sapphire or Emerald status have free access to Alaska Lounges when flying on a oneworld international flight. MileagePlan members will be amazed when they get a look at Cathay Pacific and Qantas first class lounges.
Alaska Lounge day passes sell for $50. The price is cut in half for holders of the Alaska Airlines credit card. With free food and booze and a respite from the chaos of the concourse, the $25 entry fee easily pays for itself.
Alaska customers traveling in first class have access as well as some flying international first or business class on oneworld carrier if Alaska issued the ticket.
We had access because I paid for an upgrade to first class on the flight to Utqiaġvik. My Priority Pass membership which provides access to more than 1,200 lounges around the world, and Admirals Club membership also.
That’s more than enough about complex, boring access rules. Let’s look at the lounge.
The lounge occupies a narrow rectangular space. The reception desk is located in the middle opposite windows overlooking the tarmac and runways.
At reception, present a valid membership card or other documentation establishing the right of entry and a same-day ticketed boarding pass on any carrier. That is a benefit that is lacking in most other U.S. airline lounge programs.
The bar offers free house alcoholic beverages and premium ones for a fee.
As you face the bar, to the left is an alcove where coffee, tea and soft drinks are available.
The buffet with snacks and pre-packaged snacks is to the right of the reception desk. Breakfast items and prepackaged snacks were available for our mid-morning flight.
I passed on breakfast at the hotel to save room for a repast from Alaska’s famous pancake machine.
Alaska was the first, in the U.S. anyway, to put these machines in their lounges. They make two guaranteed perfect pancakes with the touch of a button. No mess. No fuss. These pancakes make the International House of Pancakes jealous. It was worth passing on breakfast at the hotel.
Seating areas are located by the windows. At the far left is an area with workstations.
The primary seating area is located in front of the bar. This area enjoys the warmth of a two-sided fireplace, a large TV and theater seating.
As far as décor, the lounge is nothing to write home about. It lacks the pizazz of the new Alaska Lounge in Seattle.
Additional seating is found on the other side of the buffet area.
Alaska lounges have very good wifi and plenty of electrical outlets. Lounge agents cheerfully assist with upgrade requests and other questions about your travel. There are no showers.
As far as Covid, masks are required for guests and employees. Hand-sanitizing stations are installed in several places. Rooms are cleaned with electrostatic sprayers daily. Social distancing is required; however, I’ve never seen this enforced in any lounge.
The Anchorage Alaska Lounge is a very good but basic airline lounge. The best features are comfortable seating, a small fireplace, views of the runways, the splendid assistance of the staff, and last but not least, the pancake machine. I get a kick out of watching it make pancakes and they taste great, too.