Why Alaska Airlines is one of the best domestic airline for traveling families
My family and I fly a lot. I took my oldest on his first cross country flight at three months old. My youngest flew to Denver, CO with me at seven weeks old. We are no strangers to family travel and flying with kids. Alaska Airlines with kids has always been an amazing experience. Seven years later it continues to only get better.
Don’t believe me? WalletHub released their 2017 Best and Worse Airlines recently and Alaska Air came up at the top of the list. Read more here.
- Best Overall – Alaska Airlines earned the highest overall WalletHub Score (81.02), followed by Delta Air Lines (73.08).
- Most Reliable – Alaska Airlines has the lowest overall rate of cancelations, delays, mishandled luggage and denied boardings.
Here’s why Alaska Airlines with kids can’t be beat!
Extra Legroom in standard seats!
In this day and age you have to pay extra for EVERYTHING. Or so it seems. Not Alaska Air. They have at least two to three inches of extra room in front of their standard seats. Premium seats get even more. I’m a 5’7” woman, which is fairly average, but on most airlines my knees are pushing against the seat in front of me. My laptop has been taken out more than once when the person behind me reclines their seat. I’ve often upgraded to economy plus seating for the extra space just so I can breath. On Alaska Airlines with kids or without them I don’t have to stress. No one will crunch my laptop and my knees have plenty of room to stretch out.
Gate agents who care
Since I still have a little guy, and quite honestly I don’t want to lose my Sherpa, I still carry a stroller on every flight. Yes, it is one more thing to pack, but when I have a tired kid and bags to grab on my own, it is a lifesaver even with a five year old. I’m a mighty mom, but seriously, a gal can only do so much!
Gate checking a stroller on a plane is a breeze with Alaska. I even had a gate agent offer to take the stroller at the counter and walk it down for me so I didn’t have to deal with it. I’ve also had ticket agents help me wheel bags from check in to bag drop off (why is it all separate now?!). Again, I never pack more than I can carry, even with the kids. It’s just nice that someone offers. It feels more and more rare for anyone to smile and offer help in air travel. Thankfully, Alaska Air hasn’t lost that love for customers, especially families.
Online and call center staff that can do something
I was once separated from my kids on a flight. This is never acceptable and Alaska Air agrees. I made a simple phone call and explained my situation calmly (even though I was freaking out a bit since the boys were little). “No problem” the call center staff said. They could help me out. Boom! Done. No getting passed off until the day of the flight when I would have to ask a gate agent and flight crew. Trust me. It’s just not fun to deal with when you have two kids you just want to get settled.
United Airlines has regularly said the party line to me “when you get to the airport the gate agent can sort it out for you.” This policy causes more stress for parents leading up to a flight, as well as more work for ground crew who are dealing with hundreds of people on the ground, instead of one person on the phone at a time.
Families get seated together!
If you have ever booked a flight with your kids, you may have noticed that sometimes you aren’t automatically seated with your kids. Yup. It happens. Even if you go in to choose your seats you can still be separated from them if there are equipment changes. I have always been seated with my kids on Alaska Air.
If there are last minute changes and for some reason I’m not seated with my kids, they get it sorted on the phone. If it’s a last minute change, they get it sorted at the airport.
Better yet, my husband and I often fly separately so I can extend our trip and not be tied to his limited vacation time. Alaska Airlines, like a few other airlines, allow me to link our two flight itineraries together online. This way if there was a plane change or issue with our flight, they knew my husband would be flying with us at least one part of our trip.
They take care of parents traveling solo with kids
I’ve flown Alaska Air with kids a few times, and honestly I always try to say “thanks” to the flight crew. I never ask for handouts and I pretty much have this flying with kids thing down. No matter. The flight crew has me covered if I don’t. They get kids. They get that they need to be fed. When I bought one cheese plate for my boys to share, the flight attendant did the usual. She handed me my cheese plate and charged my credit card the regular fee. She handed back my card and then she handed me another cheese platter. As she slid it to me she said, “shhhhh… don’t tell.”
I was at the back of the plane. I was a mom traveling with two boys. They knew it could all go down at any moment if my kid got hangry.
This is not the first time I’ve seen the flight crew take care of a parent with kids and only two hands available to wrangle the masses. I have a friend flying back east this summer from Seattle with her 7 year old and 4 year old twins. You better believe I’m pushing her to fly Alaska Airlines. No one will treat her better than that crew.
If you have ever been to Seattle, you probably know Beecher’s Cheese. It is a Pike Place Market staple. Well, Alaska Air has a cheese plate that includes:
- Beecher’s Flagship Cheese
- Tillamook Sharp Chedder and a creamy brie
Oh and a Seattle Chocolates salted chocolate truffle for mom (cause why would I share that?!). It’s a healthy snack I love to feed my boys and reminds us of our old hometown whenever we fly to and from Seattle.
Flying over Easter, my boys (and all of the children on the flight) were give Disneyland coloring books, and three Easter candies, including Cadbury Eggs. Just because your family has to fly on a holiday, doesn’t mean your kids have to skip out on the fun. Naturally, if you have religious concerns about themed-holiday candy you can decline, which is why I like the Disneyland coloring book which is holiday neutral. No kid should be left out of the fun no matter their religious or political views. Some kids may have to say no to Cadbury Eggs, but they can still do some coloring.
As you can see, we are a bit bias when it comes to flying the friendly skies with Alaska Airlines with kids. Their staff knows how to treat their customers, especially traveling families and tired moms with kids. They serve great food, get us where we need to go on time and take as much of the stress out of air travel as possible. Yes, we are still getting charged for premium seats and baggage. If that is what it takes to keep this airline going, I will happily pay those fees.