Swallowed by a fish

Last week, I flew on the salmon-thirty-salmon. This one of Alaska Airlines' 737-400s painted with a giant salmon on either side, to promote the wild salmon fisheries in Alaska. It's a beautiful plane, but somewhat controversial because of the funding sources.

I just think it's rather cool. I have now flown on all six of the Alaska's special livery jets – the two Disney jets, the two AlasakaAir.com jets, and the salmon-thirty-salmon. Actually, I think I've probably flown on abut 80% of the aircraft Alaska owns. Most of them multiple times.

Personally, I'm not partial to the Mad Dogs (MD-80s). Some of them have smaller over head bins. They last rows can get very loud since that's where the engines are. On the plus side, they offer 2 x 3 seating, or 3 x 2 on some aircraft. The lack of a middle seat on one side of the aircraft is nice.

The coolest thing about the MD-80, though, is that they sometimes offer an alternative exit. When I flew into BUR (Burbank, CA) last year, they let people off through the normal front door, and the back. At the back of the plane it a door through the tail section with a ramp you can walk down. So we exit the plane through the tail cone, right underneath those jet engines. Now, the Mad Dog is not a big plane as modern jet liners go, but seeing the plane from underneath is still pretty damn impressive. Those small planes are big.

The 737-400s and the 737-700s are similar. I don't have a significant preference between the two. But in coach, the -400 seats 132 passengers, while the -700 seats only 112. On a longer flight, that means fewer people waiting for the restroom on the -700. Also, if you are in the back of the plane, you can get off sooner.

The 737-900s and the 737-800s are the newest planes in the fleet. In think Alaska is getting 30+ new -800s beginning next year. I've read a fair amount of these topic, but right now, I'm too lazy to double-check my facts, but I believe Alaska originally ordered the -900s for their transcontinental service, expecting their range to be a little better than it is (3,159 miles). Right now, the -800s have the longest range (3,383 miles). The -900, however, will carry 12 more people.

Either way, they're nice planes. If you are in coach on the -900, they may not list emergency exit rows until a day or two before the flight. There are two different configuration of the aircraft. Some of them have 1 restroom in the mid-cabin and 2 restrooms in the back. Others have all 3 in the back. The -800s have all 3 in the back. Keep this in mind when you choose your seat, if the location of the restroom is important.

Regardless, the -800 and -900 are some beautiful birds.


Jon Clarke said...

Dude, you fly a LOT.

Cromely said...

And boy, are my arms tired...