Review: Alaska Airlines First Class B737-9, Vancouver – Seattle


Alaska Airlines provides connector service from Vancouver to Seattle on a fairly frequent basis on either it’s jet aircraft in the Boeing 737 series, or the propellor aircraft in either the Dash 8 or Q400 series. While we’ve reviewed this flight dozens of times, this post had us flying on Alaska’s newest Boeing 737-900 series aircraft.

This post is one chapter on our trip to Fiji, New Zealand and French Polynesia. This trip was redeemed through Alaska Mileage Plan and AAdvantage frequent flier programs and enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. 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.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.

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Review: Alaska Airlines First Class B737-9, Vancouver International Airport – Seattle Tacoma International Airport

We both had a terrible 24 hours before this trip started. We were both traveling on separate air tickets for work related reasons. I was travelling on Air Canada back to Vancouver from St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. MrsWT73 was travelling back on Air Canada from Ottawa, Ontario Canada. Both of our flights had mechanical issues and my flight leaving “The Rock”, Newfoundland was cancelled outright. I ended up flying standby out of St John’s on another flight, and had to leave a co-worker behind. He was travelling with a checked bag and I was travelling with carry on only. 

While I was in St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada killing the flight delays, I work shopped contingency plans that included purchasing a full fare revenue ticket for one of us to Los Angeles get connect to our midnight Fiji Airways departure flight, I made it back to Vancouver after 20 hrs of travel at about 2:30 AM, only to turn around for this flight the same day at 11:58 AM. Ugh! I wouldn’t have typically booked it so close together but the lack of reward availability was the deciding factor. We both eventually made it a little frazzled however.

Checking into Alaska Airlines First Class:

We took an Aerocar to the airport; a Ford Expedition today. We arrived to a quiet departure zone with Alaska Airlines occupying the space immediately under the Fairmont hotel Vancouver International Airport.

Vancouver International Airport Departure Hall
Vancouver International Airport Us Transborder Departure Area
Vancouver International Airport US Departures Board

The pleasant Alaska Airlines staff checked us in at the Alaska Airlines First Class MVP counter. Our bags were checked to LAX as we had a 7 hour layover and MrsWT73 was concerned about luggage content theft since we had some bag luck on our last long layover through there.

Alaska Airlines First Class MVP Check In Zone

MrsWT73 received the unfortunate “SSSS” and a free massage that went along with it. Despite our Nexus / Global Entry, she was not permitted to use the screening lane and was re-directed towards the regular screening. She was able to bypass the queue thankfully, which was at least 150 people as we passed through.

Specifically Selected for Security Screening
Wandering Towards the Gate: US Departures Side

There is no lounge available to Alaska Airlines First Class passengers so we hung out at the busy gate area. Those with a Priority Pass Membership can access the Plaza Premium Vancouver Transborder lounge but it’s not directly included with your ticket for those flying Alaska Airlines First Class.

There was no plane on arrival; usually a bad sign for a mid morning flight.

No Aircraft on Arrival
Everyone Waiting for a Flight Delay

The flight posted at major delay of 1hr 12 minutes and we immediately mis-connected on our connecting flight on Alaska Airlines Seattle – Los Angeles. This was blamed on Seattle Tacoma International Airport Air Traffic Control. The gate agents in Vancouver pro-actively started re-connecting passengers but unfortunately did not get to us before we boarded.

Gate Agents Re-Booking Connecting Passengers
Alaska Airlines
First Class (A)
YVR-SEA (Vancouver International Airport – SeaTac Airport)
AS 702
June 2, 2017
Booked: Boeing 737-900
Flown: Boeing 737-900
Departure: 11:58 AM
Arrival: 12:54 PM

On Board Alaska Airlines First Class:

We got on board and settled into the usual blue Alaska First Class recliner seat. Alaska Airlines First Class is set up in a 2-2 configuration. The seats are quite old school in their puffy nature and are generally quite comfortable for a shorter flight.

Alaska Airlines First Class B737-9

There was a small bottle of Dasani water that was waiting for us at the seat.

First Class Dasani Bottled Water

While we waited to get underway, I watched the baggage handlers load the remaining bags into the cargo hold.

The Last of the Bags being Put Onto the Flight

There was available in seat power from the center console, with both outlets working and functional today.

Each Seat had Empower

Pre Departure Services:

On board, we were offered an open bar pre-departure beverage with the advice and information that there would be no service offerings due to the short length of the flight listed as 27 minutes. It was a Gin and Tonic to start the holidays, served in a plastic cup. We had pleasant crews otherwise for this short leg, despite not having much interaction with them due to the flight’s short duration.

A Pre-Departure Gin and Tonic

Alaska Airlines has updated its in flight magazine to the contemporary Beyond. It’s a more modern version of their previous version of the magazine which was much more old school.

Alaska Airlines Beyond In Flight Magazine

Due to the flight delay, we departed from Vancouver International Airport relatively promptly. As we were pushing back, I checked the Alaska App on my phone, and confirmed that we were proactively re-booked on to AS 410 departing Seattle at 3:50 PM.

We had a nice climb out of naturally green Vancouver…

Departing a Green Vancouver
Pacific Northwest Coastal Views on the Climb to Altitude

With a very short twenty seven minute flight down to Seattle. As we got closer to Seattle, we had some nice views of downtown Seattle on our pass over the city.

Spotting the Space Needle in Seattle
Over Looking Downtown Seattle

We landed in Seattle and were on the ground reasonably quickly. We deplaned and headed off to fix our flight mis connection issues.

My Thoughts on Alaska Airlines First Class on the Short Vancouver Seattle route:

It was not a bad flight overall. There isn’t much advantage to first class seating on this short leg, since there is no food and beverage service aside from a pre-departure drink and a better comfort level on a flight with a wider seat. The main advantage to first class on this leg are the additional baggage allowances that come with such a ticket.

If you’ve mis connected on a flight, what is your best strategy on dealing with the mis connection and getting rebooked?

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