Review: Alaska Airlines First Class B737-8, Lihue – Seattle


Alaska Airlines offers among the most frequencies of service from Hawaii to the mainland United States. This includes service from Lihue to Seattle which can save some time connecting within Hawaii and also within the Pacific Northwest. We would get the opportunity to test out their First Class on their Boeing 737 narrow body aircraft on our trip home to Vancouver, Canada.

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 B737-8, Kauai Lihue Airport – Seattle Tacoma International Airport

We finished up a terrific stay at The Sheraton Kauai Resort and enjoyed a lot of what the island had to offer. Before we knew it, it was time to head towards the airport. Most eastbound flights departing Hawaii are overnight flights back to the mainland. This often means attempting sleep in a seat while arriving to your North American destination the next morning.

Eventually arriving to the Kauai Lihue airport, I dropped MrsWT73 with the bags at the curb side and proceeded to return the rental car. The friendly Hertz agent met us in the lot and was able to process the return. I wandered past the nearby airport chickens and made it to the shuttle bus pick up. Thanks to no one around, it departed immediately.

Checking into Alaska Airlines First Class:

After a baggage re-distribution sort curb side to even out some weight, we checked in curb side at Lihue Airport. It was the first time I’d seen a curbside check in for Alaska Airlines “elites”. We were encouraged to clear our bags through the agriculture screening while the agent processed the boarding cards.

Lihue Airport Curb side Check In for Alaska Airline Mileage Plan Elites

It was a pretty old school operation at the Lihue Airport. Dependent on your point of view, this could either be a charming or depressing point of view as a result of flying out of an older airport.

Alaska Airlines Check in at Lihue Airport

We processed our checked bags through the agriculture X ray screening, returning to collect our boarding cards. After collecting our boarding cards, we dropped off our bags at the general baggage drop, which was an old school line up of bags corralled together of all kinds. It seemed that the Lihue airport security screened bags on the public side prior to accepting them into the hold area in a conveyor free baggage processing environment.

An Old School Checked Baggage Hold Area

We passed through a very slow “blended lane” TSA Pre-Check. My cabin bag, along with 5 others ahead of me were sent into secondary for imaginary security risk items. After we made it through the screening, we found ourselves in front of a tiled mosaic in a very dated and institutional airport similar to other Hawaiian airports.

It was a pretty lean flight list departing from Lihue tonight and most of the vendors and bars were closed at 9:30 PM..

There was no available lounge at Lihue airport. With not a lot to keep you entertained here, we hung out in the open air hallways until about ten minutes before boarding.

There was not much leaving from here this evening. The KLM co-share on the flight board was operated by the “other” Canadian carrier Westjet.

A Lean Flight Board for Tonight’s Departures

We eventually passed through the agriculture x ray for the cabin baggage and into the tiny gate hold room.

Lihue Airport – Agriculture Inspection

We headed down to Gate 8, and entered the dated looking holding area to kill of the time prior to boarding.

Lihue Airport’s Gate Area
Tonight’s Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800
Alaska Airlines
AS 816 – First Class (U)
LIH – SEA (Lihue Airport – SeaTac International Airport)
February 5, 2020
11:05 PM – 6:54 AM + 1
Booked: Boeing 737-800
Flown: Boeing 737-800

On Board Alaska Airlines First Class:

Once on board, we settled into the usual Alaska Airlines First Class cabin. Alaska Airlines First Class is set up in a 2 – 2 configuration typically across four rows of first class in recliner styled First Class seats.

Alaska Airlines First Class Boeing 737-800
Alaska Airlines First Class Boeing 737-800

On the seat was a small Dasani water and a half sized Alaska Blanket.

While the seat is of the recliner variety, it offers more space but doesn’t lie fully flat like some other mainline products. While a lie flat seat isn’t typically needed on a 4 hour flight, it does become more important for overnight flights from Hawaii back to the mainland.

Pre-Departure Services:

In a nice change of pace in terms of Alaska Airlines, we had a pre-departure beverage offer of sparking wine, which appeared to be “house wine” from the can. I find Alaska Airlines is a bit intermittent with their offer of a pre-departure beverage and isn’t like other mainline carriers that typically offer a full open bar pre-departure beverage.

Pre-Departure Beverage of Sparkling Wine

After we fully boarded, we had a quick departure on runway 3. It was a quiet climb to altitude as we departed Lihue Airport at 11:05 PM into the night.

Unlike on the way out, we had no dinner menus passed out. We did have a drink order taken from us; a Gin and Tonic with Lime for me and a Red Wine for MrsWT73.

A Pre-Meal Service Beverage Service: A Gin and Tonic with Lime

The Meal: A Cheese Plate

Tonight’s meal offering was a cheese plate as the sole dinner choice. Alaska did not offer pre-order with respect to meal service today so there was no more substantial meal option. This was accompanied by the usual Tablet entertainment offering, which was promptly set up for dining entertainment.

A Cheese Plate and The Simpsons!

The cheese plate wasn’t very filling. Although it was light, it was almost a little too light for a flight that was approximately 5 hours and 40 minutes in duration. Given that there are limited dining options at the Kauai Lihue airport, I highly recommend that you eat well in advance of flying. The service on this flight was friendly, along with the usual Alaska Airlines pleasant natured staff.

After the dinner service, it was off to sleep on this red eye flight until the morning for me. We eventually approached into rainy Seattle in February and landed without many challenges.

We would transfer onwards to our homeward Alaska Airlines First Class Seattle – Vancouver flight.

The Bottom Line: Alaska Airlines First Class Hawaii Service

The Alaska First Class seat is a better, but not awesome way to get around. It’s much more comfortable than flying economy class in the back. Alaska Airlines also has friendly staff. Most surprising about this trip was the sleepy hollow airport of Lihue Airport in Kauai which was among the oldest school airports I’d flown out of in the United States. It was truly unique indeed.

If you have flown from Kauai Lihue Airport in Hawaii, did you find the airport as old school as I did ?

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