The following was an unusual Alaska Airlines flight. So unusual it is worth writing a post about. I love taking the airline – and use them often. The following interaction is not typical, but hopefully funny.

Taking Flight 633, first class to Seattle, this should be nice.

Flight attendants are standing at the galley, smiling, but not greeting people as they walk in.

Alaska Airlines long ago stopped flight attendants in First Class from offering a beverage prior to takeoff. Their reasoning was “to allow the flight attendants to facilitate the boarding process.” Our flight attendants standing in the galley smiling, without greeting, or assisting those passengers coming on is facilitating the boarding process.

A mother with two children come down the jetway. The mom is trying to pack away the stroller while the two kids begin to run away (one to the plane the other up the jetway).   The flight attendant has a look of horror but doesn’t lose her now plastic smile. My wife springs to action. She gently brings one child onto the plane talking while the mom gathers the other. The flight attendant smiles faintly, taking care to replace the single hair that fell out of place.

All in first class are seated, there are small bottles of water and a package of old pretzels sitting between the seats. As the remaining passengers trickle in the flight attendants make no move to assist the older gentleman with the bag, and one young burly guy helps him with it- offering to clear some luggage and place it for him. The flight attendant looks on with wise indifference.

The first move of the flight attendants happen when the gate agent tells them all are on board. They do a high five and congratulate one another for facilitating the boarding process.  A lack of intervention on their part allowed people to find their seats.

Wait, apparently there is one person who is not sitting down, a stern announcement is made, “We cannot take off until all passengers are seated.” The first interaction the flight attendants have had with passengers, it is exhausting work.

Fifteen minutes after the door closes there has been no movement of the plane. There has been no interaction with the flight attendants with any passenger. The magazines however, between the flight attendants, have been distributed.

Thirty minutes after the door closes, still no movement. The flight attendant asks the other, “You a bit warm?” He calls to the captain, says it is getting a bit warm in the cabin and some passengers might be uncomfortable. Of course, having assisted in the boarding process, they are no doubt exhausted.

I tweted @Alaskaair who immediately responded that they didn’t see any delay, but would check into it. Within a minute they tweeted there was a delay from Air Traffic Control. The flight attendants continue to read their magazines, after an exhausing boarding process.

The pilot comes on the air to announce we have not left the gate yet. But thankfully the boarding process was taken care of. It will be “a few minutes.”

A passenger walks up to use the bathroom. A proper stern look is given by the flight attendant, but she looks at her colleague and he says, “Go ahead.” The bathroom doors are unlocked. The flight attendants have shown us mercy.

A small line of passengers use the bathroom facilities.

After one hour the plane leaves the gate. Fifteen minutes later, the flight attendant asks the person in 1A if she would like a beverage. It is like the first interaction with an alien life form.

Thank you wise flight attendant – having sat for over an hour, we finally are allowed a beverage. You have made our flight safe.

Sad to think so many airlines have flight attendants that interact with passengers, and even some, like American Airlines, that offer a beverage before take-off. Clearly they need to learn from the wise flight attendants of Alaska Airlines, where you look bored as the passengers board.

The events above did happen on Alaska Airlines Flight 633 from Seattle to Anchorage on Tuesday August  26. Customer service with @AlaskaAir on twitter was faster and more pleasant than the flight attendants were to we, the customers, who were clearly cattle needing to be herded. There is a competition for airline dollars, and while I enjoy flying Alaska Airlines, when you get service like this, you are concerned. I will say- however, that if I have a chance to fly an airline, Alaska Airlines is my first choice in the domestic market.

Most interactions with the staff at Alaska Airlines are NOT like this- this is not typical.

The good news – they got me to my connection – thanks to the folks @AlaskaAir