Old thread is locked, so I'm necromancing the topic here. This *might* belong in Trip Reports, so if a mod wants to move it, feel free. I just recall the merger details being of interest in CivAv, so wanted to give a first hand update on some of the minutia to interested parties.
I had the pleasure of an SNA-SEA-SNA rountrip on AS in F at the weekend, and I was super curious to see how the branding alignment efforts were going. Both directions were served by a -800 that had received the new F seats and, if I'm not mistaken, some additional interior updates. It's very clear that some of the VX culture and CS approach has been adopted.
My thoughts, in no particular order:
- I checked in via the mobile app, but noticed the branding updates at check in with mood lighting behind the desks in blue and some ambient electronica playing in the background. 100% a nod to VX's check in experience. Was pretty cool to see.
- Background music while boarding was more of the "look how youthful and trendy we are" electronica trite. Not my thing, but still smacked of VX. There was a pre-departure beverage too; sparkling wine or orange juice. That was a nice touch.
- The new F seats are damn nice compared to the old ones. I flew VX first a few times, and I'm fairly certain that these are the same seats, minus the white leather and over-shoulder reading lights. The 41" pitch is plenty.
- Drink service was the usual AS F quality - decent wines, Alaskan beers. Sampled as much as I could in the 2h30m flight
- Food service was a notch above the last time I flew AS. Outbound was a make-it-yourself taco bar on a tray. Items tasted fresh and it felt like a fairly innovative idea for domestic F. Something I would have expected from VX, but felt progressive for AS. Tacos were heated onboard too. Inbound was a fairly standard chicken salad but, again, tasted fresh and was very plentiful.
- Gone is the weird carpet on the bulkhead divider. Now it's a clean matte cream with the Alaska logo and a few grey swishy lines. Much less confusing to look at after a few IPAs.
- No lounge at SNA, but the refurbished SEA lounge is a big step above what it used to be. More trendy music, mood lighting in reception, and a mix of old-school and new-school lounge seating.
Didn't get my own picture due to aforementioned IPAs, but found this to show what the refurb looks like:
Overall I think AS are getting the merger right. There's enough of the classic AS branding and service for it to feel familiar for AS die-hards, but the right amount of modernization for those used to the VX "progressive" branding statements.
I've got SAN-MCO-SAN in F coming up later this year. Will be interesting to see what their transcon service is like. Hopefully up to the same standards.
"Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds." - Albert Einstein