Review: Alaska Airlines B737-9, Portland – Maui


Alaska Airlines offers the most mainline carrier service from the West Coast of North America to the Hawaiian Island thanks to a heavy frequency of flights. While most of the flights are served with narrow body aircraft, this translates into a greater amount of flight availability with times that can suit your travel plans. We ended up on a day time flight from Portland to Kahului, which allowed us to land a reasonable hour.

This post is one chapter on our trip to Kaanapali, Maui, Hawaii, United States of America. This trip was redeemed through Alaska Mileage Plan on a 2 for 1 Companion Fare 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”.

Review: Alaska Airlines B737-9, Portand International Airport – Kahuilui Maui International Airport

We had a quick thirty two minute connection thanks to some mild flight delays coming off Alaska Horizon Airlines Seattle – Portland. We headed over to Gate C3 at Portland International Airport. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any time left today to check out the Alaska Lounge Portland, which would have been among the last in the system to visit.

Wandering Down the Airport to get to C Gates

Yes – per the boarding sign, we are the last team to arrive to the gate as everyone else had already boarded.

Arriving to a Fully Boarded Flight
Alaska Airlines
Economy Class (T)
PDX-OGG (Portland International Airport – Kahuilui International Airport)
AS 809
August 18, 2017
Booked: Boeing 737-900
Flown: Boeing 737-900
Departure: 12:22 PM
Arrival: 3:10 PM

On Board Alaska Airlines:

As we settled in on board Alaska Airlines, MrsWT73 was pro-actively moved up to Premium Class thanks to her Alaska Mileage Plan MVP Gold upgrades. When she got to her Premium Class seat, a man was sitting there with his family. He offered up his sole First Class upgraded seat to her as he wanted to sit with his family. She left him pretty darn quick, leaving son and I in the back of the cabin. 

In terms of our seats, we were in main cabin row 11, which is partially missing a window on the Boeing 737-900. It wasn’t so bad since we were near the front in the area reserved for elites. The original main cabin seat my wife was occupying was never re-assigned so we got a spare seat across our bank of three across, which we quickly occupied. Getting an extra economy seat is a great way to stretch out; it is almost similar to the business class features in Europe.

Alaska Airlines Slimline Economy Class – Row 11

The seats in Alaska Airlines Economy Class do not offer any in seat back entertainment in the form of monitors. It is limited to the inflight Alaska Beyond in flight magazine and the buy on board menu card.

Just an Alaska Airlines “Beyond” in flight magazine for entertainment

Like most Alaska flights, we were button’ed up really early – 20 minutes in advance of the departure time with the doors fully closed. There’s nothing like Alaska Airlines’ promptness.

Departing Portland:

We left Portland International Airport with a westward departure along the Columbia river behind Jet Blue.

Following Jet Blue to the Departure Line
At the Hold Line with Jet Blue

We had a scenic departure from Portland International Airport, with views of the Columbia River on the climb to cruise altitude.

Spotting the Columbia River on the Climb to Altitude

It wasn’t long before we were leaving the West Coast of North America, on our cruise westward towards the Hawaiian Islands.

Leaving the West Coast

The Meal: A Buy on Board Lunch by Tom Douglas

The first lunch service started within a prompt forty five minutes after departure. The buy on board menu was available through the Alaska Airlines App and through the go go in flight internet.

Alaska Airlines Buy on Board Menu through the Alaska Airlines App

There was also a printed version of the menu. It was pretty straight forward, and not unlike any other on board menus found in a seat back pocket near you.

I ended up having the featured main course. It was a ginger chicken bowl by Tom Douglas. He wasn’t a person that I knew of before but the meal was quite tasty.

A Tom Douglas Ginger Chicken

WT73Jr tore into this like no tomorrow. There was nothing left by the time he was done.

WT73Jr Finishing an On Board Meal

After the meal service, I went to sleep after this for about 2.5 hours. It was a bit uncomfortable leaning against he fuselage but I made it work. There were lots of kids around on the flight today. The flight only had one water service throughout the whole flight; either that or I slept through it.


In flight entertainment:

As I mentioned earlier, the in flight entertainment consists of go go in flight movies. The internet function is disabled as it doesn’t work over the pacific ocean.

Instead, I ended up staring out the window. While I was watching the world go by, we got lapped on the way to Hawaii by what looked like a Delta airlines Boeing 767.

Getting Passed by a Boeing 767
Delta Airlines passing us at a lower altitude

A Welcome Mai Tai Beverage:

In the last 90 minutes of the flight, Alaska offered a complimentary mai tai (from Trader Vic’s) which was pretty sweet tasting until the ice cooled off. It was a nice touch to end a series of three segments of flights today.

Arriving into Kahuilui Maui International Airport:

As we approached Maui, we took a U turn orbit into Kahului Maui International Airport. It’s always great to arrive into Hawaii in daylight hours. It was nice to see the beautiful coast after a day of travel.

First Eyes on the Hawaiian Islands
Spotting the Impressive Mountains of Maui
On Final Approach watching the Coast Line of Wailea

We landed and arrived into Kauilui International Airport. We were out quickly and into the outdoor air thanks to Maui’s open air but horribly dated concourse corridors. I don’t know what is with the state of Hawaii but it has some really old airports despite all the visits that it gets! You’d think they’ve had put an airport improvement fee in the plan but yet here we are. Having said that, it’s always a great relief arriving to Hawaii into warm temperatures.

Arriving into Warm Kahuilui Maui

On the topic of things that are dated, we passed by some very old school internet terminals. It’s been a while since I’ve seen anything like these!!

State of the Art Internet Stations

The Bottom Line:

Putting all three Alaska Airlines flights together, it was a pretty long trip adding on the morning segments and the early morning wake-ups. We were pretty knackered near the end in these small planes. Despite our milk run route, Alaska remains a pretty solid choice for service from the West Coast to Hawaii. Our trip on this segment was comfortable, relaxing and provided a decent arrival time into Maui. With the bonus of an empty seat next to us, it was as comfortable as it could have gotten for any trip to Hawaii.

How do you keep yourself entertained on a long trip to Hawaii ?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: