Review: Alaska Airlines First Class B737-8: San Jose del Cabo – Portland


This post is one chapter on our trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on Alaska Airlines. This trip was booked and credited to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan using a two for one Companion Fare courtesy of the Alaska Airlines credit card. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: Alaska Airlines First Class Boeing 737-800, San Jose del Cabo – Portland

There was no special reason other than confirmed First Class upgrade availability at time of purchase for routing the return through Portland versus Seattle. We headed down to Gate 4 which was an apron gate. Either Alaska got the last of the draw, or they didn’t bother to pay for a jet bridge like Delta, United or Southwest.

Alaska Airlines
AS 293 – First Class (U)
SJD – PDX (Los Cabos International Terminal 2 – Portland International)
April 22, 2019
Scheduled: 4:40 PM – 7:50 PM
Actual: 4:55 PM – 8:03 PM
Booked: Boeing 737-800
Flown: Boeing 737-800

After about a 15 minutes past the boarding time on our boarding cards, boarding for the disabled, children and First Class all at once was called. We were held on the ramp down to the apron for approximately 7-10 minutes while they completed final preparations. We then headed out for aircraft boarding by stairs.

We boarded into the Alaska First Class cabin which was set in the usual 2-2 configuration. We had the old cabin interior with the old livery today. All the cabin window shades were drawn closed thanks to the heat outside.

We were offered a PDB of Dasani water and an offer of orange juice, sparking wine or mimosa. I went with a mimosa while MrsWT73 took a sparking wine.

We got underway on Runway 16 after several public address announcements to have phones switched off as a result of “Mexican Law” as we got on our way to the “city of roses” of Portland. Our flight was piloted today by Anchorage based pilots and a Portland based crew. As we climbed to altitude, we took a last look at the desert conditions of Baja California.

A small disposable double use hotel towel was provided. A nice touch but the towels are almost disposable after a single use.

We had pre-ordered food courtesy of the Alaska App. As we got underway, we had a pre-dinner beverage service of warmed mixed nuts in a small ramekin and a chardonnay for me. Unfortunately, the white wine was not all to chilled and was a shade off room temperature.

The Meal: Dinner, pre-ordered from the Alaska “app”

Dinner was of chicken, turmeric and salad with balsamic vinaigrette. I don’t know what it is with Alaska, but every time I get one of their First Class meals, I never seem to say “That looks great and appealing”. It’s usually “Oh my, I wonder what this is going to taste like?”

I settled into a bit of a relax mode for the rest of the flight. By this point, it felt like I had a heated seat as my sunburn from the trip was a bit itchy and scratchy.

We head fresh baked cookies for desert. A nice touch with some sticky chocolate everywhere as they went down the hatch.

After the meal, it was admittedly a pretty boring flight with no tablets, gogo entertainment via the app and no internet since we were not in the coverage area.

We landed to a very green and different looking Portland as compared to our Mexico deserts.

We landed about 15 minutes behind schedule into the deserted Portland International Airport. My experiences with Portland have been unlike my usual American airport experiences. Portland has a beautiful and large facility that doesn’t seem to have the corresponding passenger traffic that goes with it.

Alaska Airlines First Class summarized:

No one will mistake Alaska Airlines for an international luxury carrier. It’s pretty bare bones First Class and I usually get off the plane hungry. Having said that, their crews are mostly wonderful and they sure try hard. I’d easily fly them again. Stacking a ticket like this and a 2 for 1 companion fare with a Gold Upgrade is a great way to go.


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