At first glance, you might wonder why I’m writing a story about airlines and airports for the Washington Beer Blog. Well, as much as this is a story about those things, it is a story about a Seattle-based company that continues to impress me with its commitment to good beer.
The Lounge and The Beer
Seattle-based Alaska Airlines opens its new flagship lounge to the public on Friday, July 12, 2019. Located in the North Satellite at Sea-Tac Airport, the 15,800 square foot space includes many of the conveniences that travelers frequently request, like comfortable seating, free wifi, and lots of charging stations for electronic devices. Add one more essential to that list: beer.
The new lounge features a dozen taps, eleven of which are currently dedicated to craft beer. (See the current draft list below.) Sure, as a beer enthusiast you likely frequent bars with more than 12 beers on tap, but this is a lounge at an airport, so that number is impressive. Like all of the food and drink offerings at the new Alaska Airlines Lounge, the beer selection showcases the company’s commitment to supporting local producers and suppliers.
You are probably wondering about access. Exactly who gets to enjoy the new lounge? Inquire at the Alaska Airlines customer service desk on the main level to find out if you can get in. Of course full-fare, first-class travelers are welcome, as are customers who’ve purchased an Alaska Lounge membership. If you have an Alaska Airlines credit card, you might get in for a modest fee. Also, day passes are available for purchase. It doesn’t cost anything to ask. Once you are in, you are covered. Whether you pay, or whatever you pay, everything is on the house in the lounge. (Beers, for sure, but if you decide to upgrade your booze or wine choice, expect a charge for that.) So if you can get into the lounge for $25, just as an example, it’s very easy to drink and eat enough to make it worth the cost.
Eventually, Alaska Airlines will take over the entire North Satellite, operating all 20 of the gates. The new lounge sits above the retail level, offering spectacular views of the runways and the Olympic Mountains. For airplane geeks, watching the hustle and bustle on the tarmac as planes come and go offers endless hours of entertainment.
As the pictures show, the new lounge is beautiful and lavishly appointed. Of course, if you aren’t interested in beer, there are plenty of other options. Alas, this is a beer blog, so let’s get to it. As I understand, the draft list will see some rotation, as you might expect. For the opening, Fremont Brewing collaborated with Alaska Airlines to create a special, exclusive beer: Lounge Life IPA, a crushable IPA with plenty of floral and citrus aroma and flavor. The brewery has formed a relationship with the folks at the airlines: Fremont’s Lush IPA is available on all Alaska flights.
The current draft list is heavy on choices from Fremont Brewing, something with which I have no problem. I assume that the list will see some rotation as time moves along.
CURRENTLY ON TAP
- Airways Brewing – Preflight Pilsner
- Fremont Brewing – Lounge Life IPA, Universale Pale Ale, Summer Ale, Sky Kraken Pale Ale, Dark Star Stout, Lush IPA, Interurban IPA
- Ghostfish Brewing – Kickstep IPA
- Pyramid Brewing – Curveball Kolsch
- Reuben’s Brews – Hazealicious IPA
- Schilling Cider – Grapefruit and Chill Cider
More About the Renovation
The opening of the new gates and the new lounge represents the first phase of the $658.3 million North Satellite Modernization Project. The Port’s portion of the North Satellite Renovation is $658.3 million, not including Alaska Airlines costs of $41 million for the lounge and employee spaces.
“The old North Satellite worked for 45 years and worked well, but it’s become a living time capsule,” said Port of Seattle Commission President Stephanie Bowman. “We are now headed into the future with a stunning facility that improves the passenger experience with more space, light, and services. Alaska, Seattle’s hometown airline, is a perfect partner to grow with Sea-Tac. Built by Pacific Northwest businesses and residents, this project brings economic opportunities in construction as well as for airport dining and retail businesses, including small, local and disadvantaged entrepreneurs.”
The opening marks the completion of the 255,000 square-foot expansion that features open spaces, natural light, incredible views, and ample gate seating with easily accessible charging stations. The renovated North Satellite offers new restaurants and services inspired by the best of the Northwest, including family-owned Bambuza Vietnam Kitchen, Seattle’s beloved Skillet, locally owned Caffe D’Arte, and travel retailer, The New Stand. A brand-new Nursing Suite for traveling mothers is scheduled to open in early August.
“Alaska is dedicated to our guests and to our hometown, and as Sea-Tac’s largest airline we are proud to invest in this global hub for air travel through efforts like the North Satellite Modernization Project,” said Alaska Airlines Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Harrison. “This type of smart growth sets a new standard and will redefine Alaska’s guest experience from start to finish. To the hundreds of Port of Seattle and Alaska employees, and the construction and design partners who built our lounge and this state-of-the-art terminal, thank you.”
The North Satellite raises the bar for sustainability at Sea-Tac Airport. The project is seeking LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Silver level certification with sustainable construction practices and building operations, including 100 percent LED lighting, efficient heating and cooling systems, and a rainwater capture system to provide 750,000 gallons for use in the restrooms.
All operations in the North Satellite will transition to the newly-renovated section at the end of July and the remaining original gates will close for renovation over the next two years. Full renovation of the existing North Satellite will be complete in mid-2021 with double the dining and retail space and 20 total gates.
Posted by Kendall Jones