Alaska Airlines Hawaiian Islands Coach San Jose to Honolulu (and back)

plane 01 r

At 8:10 we gathered our items and walked down the stairs to gate 16, which was the gate our flight was departing from. It was 45 minutes before boarding, and we were enjoying The Club at SJC lounge, but Alaska Airlines is a habitual early boarding airline, and we wanted to board the plane early in order to claim our overhead space for carry-ons. A few minutes after arriving at the gate the gate agent announced we would be delayed boarding by 30 minutes. Being next to the lounge we returned to relax for an additional 20 minutes or so. We returned at 8:45am and a few minutes later the boarding process started with First, MVP 75K, MVP and partner airlines and the rest. We boarded as MVP (thanks to Susan) and were among some of the first on board after first class.

Introduction: Honolulu for Spring Break
Review: Hyatt Regency Santa Clara
Review: The Club at SJC
Review: Alaska Airlines Hawaiian Islands Coach San Jose to Honolulu (and back)
Review: Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa
Thoughts on Honolulu
Review: American Airlines Admirals Club / JAL Sakura Lounge – Honolulu
Review: Delta Sky Club Honolulu

gate 003Gate 16

jetway hallCorridor to jet bridge


jetwayJet bridge


We were not greeted by the flight attendant as she was assisting some confused passengers. Once the confusion was cleared up we proceeded to our seats. Because of the early boarding I was able to catch some decent pictures of the coach cabin, which is usually not easy.

Alaska Airlines 837
San Jose (SJC) – Honolulu (HNL)
Wednesday March 23rd, 2016
Departure Time: 8:55am
Arrival Time: 11:53am
Flight Time: 4hr58min
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Seat: 08D, Hawaiian Islands Domestic Coach Class


main cabinGood shot of the empty cabin

left cabinAlaska’s charcoal dark grey seats

bench 043 across

bench 01Different angle

bench 05Looking across

As the rest of the cabin filled and we waited for door close, something happened that you don’t see very often. As I mentioned earlier security was a mess because of the extra measures in place after the Brussels attacks (the day before). Apparently a family traveling on our flight to Honolulu was caught in the long lines and delays and missed boarding. The flight was full and their seat was assigned to another family on standby. Well, Alaska Airlines came on board and pulled the standby (and cleared) family off the plane and then allowed the late family to board. I felt so bad for the family that had to be pulled of the plane, but can also understand the decision by gate agent to take care of the original family caught in those circumstances. Just a little uncomfortable to watch.

Door close and pushback came 45 minutes late at 9:40am. 11 minutes later we took off.

our flight goingOur flight today

take off 2Rising above Silicon Valley (Susan pic)


Moffett Field (Susan as well)

knee spaceKnee room

seat backSeat back set up

plugs 01Blurry close up 110v / USB power station

Take off and climb out went smooth. I really like the updated leather seats that Alaska Airlines uses in their coach section. The design is really thought out. There is plenty of knee room for this 5’11’ guy and the back of the seat is a hard shell plastic that is clean and in good condition. There is a small net pouch that you can store a phone or water bottle in and with the see thorough netting there is less chance of leaving something behind, as our daughter found out with her book she was reading. Each seat has 110v plug and USB connection for your electronics which is REALLY nice for coach. It’s not often you see power stations in the coach section of the plane.

Being a 5-hour flight we ordered food on board. I have included pictures of the menu and food options. We shared a hot food item chicken with rice which tasted much better than it looked. We also ordered the cheese and fruit plate which is generally good. Overall I find Alaskan’s food to be ok and acceptable. I do believe they could improve in this area. Halfway through the flight Alaska Airlines does their Hawaiian Mai Tai drink service. I’ve seen this or something similar on other carriers flying to Hawaii. The drink is just ok and it’s very touristy, and I absolutely love it. The service reminds me of my visits to the islands when I was much a much younger person. There is “tradition” in the Mai Tai service that acknowledges the fact you’re on the way to a beautiful island destination.


menu 2Todays special chicken and rice

menu 4aOptions

menu 05Beverages

club sodaClub soda in plastic cup

lunchChicken and rice


mai thaiMai Thai service

Alaska Airline’s doesn’t use seat mounted in flight entertainment systems, but instead you can purchase (fee in coach, and free in first class) small “digEplayers” tablets preloaded with movies, TV shows, games and magazine. The small support stand on the back of the tablet hangs perfectly on the magazine shelve on the seatback. I’ve rented these players numerous times and always find some new movie to watch.

ife 03DigEplayer hanging on back of chair

ife 01Main interface

ife 04Pretty good assortment of movies

ife 06Ample TV shows

ife 02Reading material

A little after 4 hours into the flight we made our initial descent for Honolulu. The remainder of the flight was without incident and 11:48am local Hawaiian time we landed at Honolulu. We made the gate at 11:52am which was 1 minute early from the original scheduled arrival.

diamond headNice view of Diamond Head coming in

japanJAL jet

baggageLuggage delivery was prompt

Alaska Airlines 830
Honolulu (HNL) – San Jose (SJC)
Sunday March 27th, 2016
Departure Time: 2:05pm
Arrival Time: 10:08pm
Flight Time: 5hr03min
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Seat: 07F, Hawaiian Islands Domestic Coach Class


The return flight home is very similar to outgoing flight to Honolulu. Instead of doing 2 of the same reviews I wanted make both flights one review with a few notes on the return flight.

Return flights from Hawaii are some of the saddest flights ever. You can really tell the difference between going and returning. On the way to the islands everyone is excited about their impending vacation. For many individuals it’s their first trip to Hawaii, or the first time back in many years. When coming back home to the mainland the fun is over. The goofing off and great beaches of Hawaii are behind them and work, school or other responsibilities are in front of them. The return flight home is in general a much quieter and solemn journey.

our flight homeOur flight home

walk to gateBeautiful outdoor views on the way to our outgoing gate 16

jet bridgeSad walk on the jetway out

1st classSnap of first class seat on the way to 8F.

The seat, food, service and amenities are much the same between the outgoing and return flights. One notable exception – no Mai Tai drink service on the way home! One thing I did different on the return flight is to play with the online Wi-Fi app that that lets you see the flight status. Push back was at 2:20pm and take off was at 2:40pm local time, which was approximately 15 minutes late. We had a little hold up getting to our gate at San Jose and total return time was delayed 30 minutes.

cabinViews forward before takeoff

chicken plateChicken and rice, again

chees plateCheese and fruit plate

knee roomSame seat same leg room

moving mapIn flight status available

SJCBack in San Jose

In Summary:

Alaska Airlines 837 & 830 Hawaiian Service – San Jose to Honolulu (and back) in coach was a solid flight and an easy experience. I would recommend Alaska’s coach Hawaiian flights to anyone. The crew is friendly and attentive. The leather seats are well designed and comfortable and the at seat power is very nice. The tablet digEplayers work well and are full of content and choices. The food is ok, and it might even be what you would expect for coach seating, but frankly it could be better. My only other criticism is the lack of internet Wi-Fi over the Pacific Ocean as that technology is now available. Overall, job well done by Alaska Airlines.

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