Alaska Airlines opened its new flagship Alaska Lounge at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Thursday to the media, a spectacular space the company called its crown jewel. It opened to passengers Friday, July 12.
The lounge is located at the very top of Seattle Airport’s North Satellite Terminal, a 45-year-old facility that is undergoing a major $658.3 million modernization project that is happening in phases. In the past few days, eight gates in the newly renovated section where the new lounge is located were put into use. When construction is completed in 2021, Alaska will be the sole tenant of the expanded 20-gate N Concourse. (See the slideshow at the top of this post for a look!)
At 15,800 square feet, the new Alaska Lounge is the largest one in its network, airline executives said. Compared to its other lounges, it is three times bigger — and twice as big as the lounge currently under construction on top of SFO’s Terminal 2. It is open daily from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
There are floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the entire lounge, providing panoramic views of the airport’s runways, downtown Seattle and the Olympic Mountain range. As a nod to Seattle’s aerospace industry, Alaska has given new life to old airplane parts: engine cowlings were turned into lighting fixtures, and steel slats that divide each section were designed to resemble engine propellers.
The lounge seats around 340 people with more than 20 different types of seating arranged across three different zones:
The “Take a Breath” area resembles a cozy cabin — the designated relaxation spot for exhausted travelers to plop down into a comfy chair and recharge around a glass encased grand fireplace. For the ultra-tired, a dozen bespoke “Alaska Loungers” located in the quietest part of the club can be the perfect spot to catch a nap.
In the adjacent “Help Yourself” section, members will see Starbucks-trained baristas pulling complimentary espresso shots for guests at the cafe bar. Alaska is rolling out the barista concept to most of its lounges. In the same area, fliers can help themselves to breakfast pastries in the morning, including a selection of scones, fresh whole fruit, and cookies from Seattle’s Marsee Bakery.
In the afternoon, fliers can dig into a salad bar and enjoy a variety of soups and cheeses. You can pack yourself a to-go baggie at the self-serve trail mix bar that’s stocked full of assorted nuts, chocolate chips, raisins and coconut shavings.
A la carte items, like a breakfast frittata, chicken flatbread, turkey burger, and summer rice bowl are available for purchase, and can be packaged to go. Those items range in price from $8-$10.
The Help Yourself zone is also where you’ll find Alaska’s famous pancake machine. It pumps out warm pancakes two at a time all day long. See it in action right here.
Next up is the aptly named “Cut Loose” zone, a bar where fliers can imbibe on Washington State wines, a dozen craft beers on tap from local-favorite Fremont Brewery, and custom-crafted cocktails. The wood finish at the bar gives it a homely tavern-like feel, the perfect place to get your beer blanket on during those cold and rainy Seattle evenings. Sports enthusiasts can watch game on one of the largest flat screen TVs we’ve ever seen– a whopping 98 inches.
Two sets of bathrooms are located within the lounge at either end, there are copious power outlets located beside seats throughout all areas, and there’s free wifi. Kids are allowed in the new Alaska Lounge, but there are not any special provisions for them– no soundproof rooms or play areas.
Alaska Airlines really emphasized bringing in local touches to the lounge, something company executives told us it hopes to accomplish at its San Francisco location too. The airline intends to partner with Bay Area bakeries, breweries, and suppliers to give the SFO location a unique Northern California influence. (Don’t miss the slideshow at the top of this post for a look inside!)
The SFO Alaska Club will be just over half the size of the N-Concourse lounge, but it too will feature a grand fireplace, a bar, and barista station. Its perch on the top floor of Terminal 2 will give it some unbeatable views of SFO’s runways and — on a clear day — the East Bay hills. The airline said the lounge will open sometime in 2020. More about that here.
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The airline carefully designed the new Seattle lounge to exude a “west coast vibe,” drawing heavily on the airline’s color palette of cool blues and calming greens. There’s also plenty of timber trim to give it that distinct Pacific Northwest feel.
In debuting the lounge, Alaska is doubling down on its position as the hometown airline of Seattle as it faces increasing competitive pressure from Delta Air Lines.
Here’s who can get in to check this new space out:
– Alaska Lounge members (Memberships start at $450 per year for fliers without status with the airline. The rate drops to $375 if you’re an MVP elite member,and to $295 if you’re an MVP Gold or 75K elite member).
Are you an airport lounge lizard? Which one do you like best? What do you think of Alaska’ new flagship? Tell us in THE COMMENTS.
Disclosure: Alaska Airlines provided air transportation to and from the lounge preview event in Seattle.
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Chris McGinnis is the founder of TravelSkills.com. The author is solely responsible for the content above, and it is used here by permission. You can reach Chris at [email protected] or on Twitter @cjmcginnis.
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