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

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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 often means a less comfortable ride home on the overnight flights where there is no lie flat seat in First Class. We travelled from Kahului Maui – Seattle on an overnight trip, allowing us to get a full last day on the island.


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.

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


We departed the Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa after a great week long stay. We went onward to the airport and returned the car to Thrifty without any additional charges. Unfortunately, we were a bit early so we enjoyed the sunset view over the Lao Valley state park that was mostly covered in clouds.

The Alaska counters were only open starting at 7:30 PM, which was 2.5 hours before the flight. MrsWT73 not all too happy about this since at the time of our visit, there wasn’t anything but a tired Starbucks on the public side of the airport. Unfortunately, there were no restaurants available for dinner or anything! We ended up checking into our flight online via the kiosks and getting our bags tagged. Alaska Airlines unfortunately didn’t have anyone available to drop them off to.

An Empty Departures Hall at Kahuilui, Maui, USA
A Deserted Departures Hall Yet to Open
Empty Alaska Airlines Counters
Alaska Airlines MVP Bag Drop

WT73Jr didn’t appear to mind the wait. He was into his electronics to pass the time in yoga positions only a 13 year old can manage.

WT73Jr Stretching Sitting Poses

When the time came, We passed our bags through the agriculture inspection and were among the second in the Alaska MVP line. We were quickly through the TSA pre-check area at Kahului, which featured a strange photo history documentary of all the security incidents in the United States immediately after the security check.

On the Secure Side of OGG
A Full Departure Board to West Coast Cities

Since it was well past dinner time, we ended up at the small food court in the Kahuilui Maui International Airport. It was Burger King and California Pizza Kitchen for our last meal in the United States’ Hawaiian Islands. My son ended up spotting and asking for a Burger King crown. This turned into a selfie of himself – one of the few that he took the entire trip. “This is definitely goin’ on instagram” ?!? Too cool to smile. It was several hundred dollars putting a family holiday together and this is what makes the social media feed (laughing).

Taking the Crown: Selfies from a Teenager

In further parental amusements, the boy located a machine that converted a penny into a Hawaii oval stamped coin. Another 50 cents down the drain. LOL.

Unfortunately, there was no lounge available for Alaska Airlines First Class Passengers or Priority Pass members at the time of our visit. As a result, it was waiting in the departures concourse lounge as the only form of entertainment.

Eventually, we headed down to Gate 5 for the Alaska departure. Like with Alaska Airlines trend of boarding flights early, the flight was already mid boarding by the time listed on the boarding card of his ticket.

The Last USDA Agriculture Hand Baggage Check
Time to Board: A Mild Stampede at Gate 5
Alaska Airlines
First Class (U)
OGG – SEA (Kahuilui International Airport – SeaTac Airport)
AS 878
August 24, 2017
Booked: Boeing 737-900
Flown: Boeing 737-900
Departure: 9:55 PM
Arrival: 6:30 AM + 1
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On Board Alaska Airlines First Class:

MrsWT73 was upgraded in advance this time to first class, courtesy of an Alaska MVP upgrade. She settled into the usual plush first class seating that Alaska Airlines offers for First Class.

Alaska Airlines First Class B737-9
Plushy Seats in the Alaska Airlines First Class Cabin
An upright seat: Perfect for Daytime Flights but less so for over night ones

Myself and the boy were in seats 11F and 11E. During the climb. we finished off the Amazing Race “Home Edition”. I have been creating clues sealed in dollar store envelopes for him on every trip we’ve been on and the last one is always the hardest clue for the grand prize. Today’s final question(s) was what were the 5 islands of Hawaii named, and what are the largest industries on the islands (past and present)?

Tearing Open the Final Clue
Processing the Final Challenge

After about twenty minutes of puzzle challenges, a successful conclusion to the Amazing Race Hawaii Edition, and consistent with an overnight flight, I aimed for sleep right away. The lure of The Lego Batman and Robin Movie was too much for WT73Jr to resist and he stayed up and fiddled with the gogo entertainment app for some time.

Food and Beverage:

MrsWT73 was offered a light cheese plate in First Class. It didn’t look too appealing but she nibbled away at it.

Per the Alaska App, there was only a cheese plate offered for food on this overnight leg. I slept through the beverage service.

Although it’s a 9:55 PM departing flight, it’s a pretty light offering in terms of food. As a result, I’d recommend eating before you get to the airport or dining before you get on board.

I ended up waking up as we crossed the coastline of the USA by the Columbia River in Oregon. There were some nice view from the wing morning photographs of the North American coast line.

Morning Coast Line of North America
Views of Mount Rainier in the Pacific Northwest

We arrived straight into SEA-TAC and pulled up next to more Alaska planes in the C Gates. The plane was turned around to head to Newark within the hour.

Arriving to C Gates at Seattle Tacoma International Airport
Our Plane at the Gate

While I would normally do a separate post about the flight from Seattle to Vancouver, I’ve covered this post so many times on the blog that it’s actually probably the most frequent flight we’ve reviewed. Instead, i’ll just cover the last segment of the trip here.

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Alaska Airlines: Seattle – Vancouver

We got off the Hawaii flight at Seattle. We had only 90 minutes connection time which was burned up quite quickly. We opted for some Seattle specialties at Beecher’s Cheese and had breakfast sandwiches (egg, ham and cheese for myself and grilled cheese for MrsWT73 and the boy) from Beecher’s Cheese. It certainly hit the spot; truly terrific. Unfortunately, I missed my morning coffee since the espresso line was completely different and the Starbucks line was about 30 persons deep.

We ended up finding duty free instead with the irritating “delivered to the gate” method that is everywhere in the USA and not many other places else. Our last flight up was a Horizon Air flight, which meant a propeller plane. This translated to an outdoor boarding process this morning.

Alaska Airlines Podium
Heading Out Towards the Aircraft
Boarding Alaska Horizon Air

It was a very speedy 35 minutes up to Vancouver where we landed in the E gates. As with all Seattle – Vancouver services on Alaska, there was no in flight service due to a short flight length.

Arriving to Vancouver E Gates

It was another very quick hop up to Vancouver on the Q400. There isn’t much to report on these since its’ a single cabin class of service aircraft with no in flight service. It’s better to get the jet service on this route if you can find it but it isn’t always available on Alaska. Interestingly enough, at the time of this report, Delta has announced that they will be up-gauging this route from an Embruaer 175 to a B737 jet due to high demand. Unfortunately, this has not translated to increased demand on the Alaska side as of yet.

The Bottom Line:

Alaska Airlines offered a terrific service from Hawaii with the usual entertaining Alaska service. The only real cost cutting component was that there was no one available to receive our checked baggage until two and a half hours before our flight. I was happy that I slept through the flight on the way back and despite the late bag acceptance at Kahuilui Maui International Airport, it was a pretty flawless experience.


Do you know what the five Hawaiian Islands are named and what the largest industry is on the Hawaiian Islands (past and present) ?

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