Review: Alaska Airlines First Class E175, Vancouver – Seattle

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As a Vancouver resident, travelling on Alaska Airlines always means a connection in Seattle Tacoma International Airport. While the flight between Vancouver and Seattle is usually on a Bombardier Q400, today we would get the experience of travelling on their newer Embraer 175 aircraft. These Embraer aircraft would later replace their Bombardier Q400 fleet, making this segment a whole lot more comfortable in the future.


This post is one chapter on our trip on the United Island Hopper and to Oahu & Kauai, Hawaii, United States. This trip was redeemed through Alaska Mileage Plan, United Airlines Mileage Plus and Marriott Bonvoy. It was further 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 E175, Vancouver International Airport – Seattle Tacoma International Airport


While I have reviewed Alaska’s short hop between Vancouver and Seattle dozens of times before as a regular Alaska Airlines traveller, this would mark the first time that I’d fly the route in their new Embraer 175 aircraft. The route is typically served by the Bombardier Q400 propeller plane and if you’re lucky, their regular mainland Boeing 737 with a proper first class cabin found everywhere through their fleet. Since Alaska Airlines has announced plans to completely retire the Q400 fleet, the flight would be typical of future experiences on this route.

Checking into Alaska Airlines First Class :

Being a noon departure, we had an easier get away from the house. We had a spin through the ever worn for wear Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Transborder area. We accessed this lounge courtesy of Priority Pass Select with the American Express Platinunm Card and now the American Express Global Lounge Collection. While I have reviewed this lounge before, I won’t get into it again for this trip.

Unfortunately, the place is really starting to look quite shabby with seat stains and chips out of tables, counters and furniture. Inside the lounge, it was breakfast for me with some quick scrambled eggs, white toast and bacon. Most interestingly enough was that the Sal Y Limon Mexican Bar has finally finished construction across from Starbucks and is open for those departing on afternoon flights in the Transborder area.

Checking Into Alaska Airlines First Class at Vancouver International
Sal Y Limon has Opened at Vancouver International Transborder

While we were in the lounge, I checked on today’s flight situation and our Alaska Airlines First Class Seattle – Honolulu flight was totally oversold with zero’s through all the availability. Hawaii is a popular place to get to in the winter!

Our Connecting Flight AS 853 was totally oversold today

We headed down to Gate 90 at Vancouver International Airport. The short Alaska flights to and from Seattle were temporarily upgraded to Embraer 175 over the older Dash 8’s. This meant we actually had a gate to board from, instead of a walk out to the apron. It also meant the disappearance of Alaska’s “A La Carte” self service gate check shelf which was welcomed.

Our Alaska Embraer 175 Horizon Aircraft
Gate 90 at Vancouver International Airport
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Alaska Airlines
AS 2044 – First Class (U)
YVR-SEA (Vancouver International Airport – SeaTac International Airport)
January 27, 2020
11:40 AM – 12:43 PM
Booked: Embraer 175
Flown: Embraer 175

On Board Alaska Airlines First Class:

We boarded after children, military and those needing extra time to board. The Embraer product is much more comfortable than the Dash 8 with an actual business class seat in a 1 – 2 configuration up front. Similar to other Embraer aircraft, the over head bins are large enough on the right hand size of the aircraft for rolling luggage storage, where as the left side is only small enough for coats and small laptop bags.

Alaska First Class Embraer 175 Seating

Once on board, there was a small Dasani water waiting for us at the seat. This is a pretty standard Alaska Airlines experience.

Alaska Airlines Pre-Departure Water

Food and Beverage:

There isn’t usually service on the short 30 minute flights but perhaps a change with the upgraded equipment, there is also a change in process. Today, as we settled in and while we were on the ground in Vancouver, we were offered a choice of beverage. Today offer was fresh brewed coffee with a free offer of a Bailey’s Liqueur upgrade. Being the start to a holiday, why not? It was better than the offer of Dasani water and nothing else.

Alaska Airlines Fresh Brewed Coffee with a Bailey’s Liqueur Upgrade

Taking off to Seattle:

We were underway quickly behind an Air Canada B787 Dreamliner on runway 08R out of grey Vancouver for the 28 minute flight down to Seattle.

Spotting an Air Canada Boeing 787-8 while departing Vancouver

We arrived over Seattle very quickly with a flight time of about twenty six minutes.

Views on Approach to Seattle Tacoma International Airport

Landing into Seattle:

We landed and taxied over to the C Gates in Seattle. We ended up at a group gate and had a ramp pushed up to the plane. As there is no Alaska Airlines ‘A – La – Carte’, there was no waiting around for the carry on luggage to be dispensed, which was appreciated.

Disembarking the Alaska Airlines Embraer 175 at Seattle Tacoma International Airport

We had a 5 hour layover which we ended up killing off at the American Express Centurion Lounge Seattle. Thanks to connecting boarding passes, we were admitted without a wait at the lounge today. It helped that we were after the bank of morning flights and well before the bank of evening flights.

Being that we’ve been through here before without many changes, I didn’t bother taking any new photographs. Well, aside that I decided to have one of these killer beverages earlier than noon…

We would connect onwards to Alaska Airlines First Class Seattle – Honolulu for the rest of our day.

The Bottom Line: Alaska Embraer Service

The Alaska Airlines Embraer service is a far more comfortable and quiet way to hop between cities. We were able to store our luggage on board, and thanks to a proper galley, we actually were offered a hot beverage during our travels. I’ll take the Embraer plane any day over a Q400.


If you fly Alaska Airlines short haul, do you prefer the Embraer over the Bombardier Q400 ?

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