Review: Alaska Airlines Premium Class B737-8, Seattle – San Francisco


Alaska Airlines operates a large hub of activity from it’s home in the lower states from Seattle Tacoma International Airport. As Canadian travellers who fly Alaska Airlines, we frequently find ourselves connecting through busy Seattle Tacoma International Airport. Today’s connection experience had us departing from the old North Satellite Terminal, which at the time was a pretty utilitarian experience.

This post is one chapter on our trip to Mexico City, Mexico and Easter Island, Chile. This trip was enhanced through Alaska Mileage Plan and 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 B737-8, Seattle Tacoma International Airport – San Francisco International Airport

Since our major ticket for travel to Chile departed from Mexico City, we needed to position to take advantage of the LATAM discounted fare. We decided on using an Alaska Airlines Companion Fare to position to Mexico City. Unfortunately, as with many other Alaska runs from Vancouver, we had several connections and a forced stop over in either Seattle or San Francisco. For the sake of variety, we opted for San Francisco on this ticket.

We left the house at 4:00 PM. We self drove to MrsWT73’s company’s parking lot at the airport. MrsWT73’s has changed jobs since the last trip report and now has a parking lot available within walking distance from the airport. We self hauled the luggage up to the terminal. More importantly, it was a beautiful afternoon leaving YVR.

Departing a Sunny Vancouver

While this post is about our travels on Alaska Airlines Seattle – San Francisco, we had to get down to Seattle. I have written about Alaska Airlnes First Class Vancouver – Seattle several times before, I won’t go into too much detail on this leg of the trip with a brief summary of the start of our day.

We headed down to gate E96 via the Duty Free after a leisurely and empty security check and Global Entry examination. It was much quieter at US TransBorder Pre-Clearance in the late evening compared to the usual morning crush to get through he

There was the usual 2-2 configuration with an odd brown Horizon Air interior tonight. Purely functional with nothing much else.

Boarding an Alaska Horizon Air Q400 shuttling us Vancouver to Seattle
Alaska Airlines Vancouver – Seattle

Then we had a long 15 minute taxi over to runway 26L at Vancouver which is right on the other side of the airport. Four medium full stops on the taxi ride over. I didn’t think we were ever going to get out of here tonight.

No beverage service or any service at all on the short 26 minute flight to SEA-TAC; as per usual. It’s always a pretty quick process getting down to Seattle.

A straight in descent arriving at Gate 16C. We were out on the apron quickly into the nice fall evening.

Arriving to Seattle
Alaska Airlines
Premium Class (Q)
SEA – SFO (SeaTac Airport – San Franciso Airport)
AS 300
Oct 8, 2017
Booked: Boeing 737-800
Flown: Boeing 737-800
Departure: 9:45 PM
Arrival: 11:49 PM

Moving onto the main part of this trip review, our Alaska Airlines Premium Class between Seattle and San Francisco.

We had a shorter than expected connection today with a connecting gate down at Gate D3. We took the train over where we had the ominous announcement that boarding was going to be “delayed” as there were mechanics on board the aircraft. I took a look out the window and the cowlings weren’t up on the engine so it became a wait and see situation.

Waiting Out a flight Delay

The verdict didn’t take too long as they announced a gate change to N12C in the North Satellite Terminal. If this happened in Canada, the flight would have been cancelled since there are never any spare Alaska aircraft sitting around. Thankfully, Seattle seems to have a lot of extra B737-800’s sitting nearby and we were able to get to the next gate via the train fairly quickly.

A small stampede over to the “N” Gates
Sorting out a quick airport load at Gate N12C

After the boarding and gate change mess was sorted out, we had an out door boarding via jet airstairs.

Boarding Alaska Airlines

On Board Alaska Airlines Premium Class:

We were upgraded to Premium Class at the 48 hr upgrade window, courtesy of Alaska MVP status. We boarded with the second wave on to a plane full of millennials. I felt like I was bringing up the average age of those on the plane by just being there. It seemed like everyone was taking the last flight home for the weekend on Sunday.

The Alaska Premium Class features 6 inches more leg room, priority boarding, power outlet at every seat and free drinks. It was a much more comfortable way to go over regular economy. Despite this, it is still an economy seat with mostly economy service which includes a few free extras.

Alaska Airlines Premium Class Seating B737-8
Alaska Airlines Premium Class Seating B737-8

Each bank of seats has access to an Empower Seat Power Port, which is handy for charging electronic devices. This is especially important as the aircraft offers no in flight monitors for video entertainment.

We had a full plane on the way out with all the bin space taken within about 50% of the plane being boarded. They were pro-active in gate checking the late arrivals with the rollies as the overheads were completely stuffed full.

Premium Class Food and Beverage:

Once on board, a drink service was offered. A small Premium Class snack of almonds, a fig bar and gummy bears was offered for free in a small white box. The box was so sleek, it looked like a small Apple Computer accessory. There weren’t any premium cabin bottle holders, where I was sitting so I had to lay it on the table.

I had a Sun Liquor Gin and Sprite to go with it. I asked for the Sprite can but they weren’t being too generous with it and wouldn’t allow me to have it. LOL. MrsWT73 asked for a white wine and a Sprite and was able to get both but they must not have liked my sparkling personality.

The Premium Cabin Snack Box Offering
The Tag Heuer watch is not included in the snack box

We short checked our bags at the SFO airport since we had an overnight at the Westin San Francisco Airport. When I claimed my bag, I discovered that my TSA lock had been cut off the bag. I took a quick check inside and nothing appeared to be missing. The usual TSA card was also missing; CATSA in Vancouver don’t put cards in your bags so I can’t say for sure where it happened. I’ve had terrible luck with the bags lately. Every overseas trip has had a theft, loss or delay. Ugh!

My Thoughts on Alaska Airlines Premium Class:

The Alaska Airlines Premium Class is a small upgrade over the regular economy service. The main benefits include a little extra room and an upgraded snack offering. We didn’t find the staff to come around any more often than in a regular economy service. If you’re looking for that extra service levels, you’d better off upgrade to First Class otherwise you might be disappointed.

If you regularly travel in Alaska Airlines Premium Class, do you find it worth the extra expense ?

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