Elizabeth Weintraub • Sacramento Real Estate Agent: Not All First Class is the Same: Alaska vs Hawaiian Airlines

Not All First Class is the Same: Alaska vs Hawaiian Airlines

Wondering about the differences between Alaska and Hawaiian Airlines in first class? Well, yesterday, I experienced my first Alaska Airlines flight from Sacramento to Kona in Hawaii, and chose First Class. Until recently, no airlines from Sacramento flew directly to Kona. We used to have to fly Hawaiian Airlines to Honolulu and hang out there for several hours to catch a 45-minute connecting flight to Kona. Which meant travel time from Sacramento to Kona was about 8 hours minimum.

Well, not only does Alaska fly non-stop (direct), but it advertises its time at 5 hours, and we made the trip in 4 hours; blew my mind.

However, its First Class service leaves much to be desired. Here are my observations in no particular order.

The Trouble With First Class on Alaska Airlines vs Hawaiian Airlines

  • The seats have one button that makes them recline. There is no foot-rest, no multiple settings for comfort.
  • The inflight magazine totally sucks and presents no Hawaiian flavor.
  • There is no Henry Kapono dressed in white and playing a white guitar while standing in the waves on the beach, in fact, no video at all.
  • The bulkhead is adorned in a woolly Alaska blanket and there are no hibiscus or Hawaiian flavors, which makes the First Class cabin seem cold and isolated, much like Alaska.
  • We were not offered a Mai Tai or any other kind of beverage upon boarding. Instead, our between-seat console held a small (not even a full size) bottle of water.
  • There were no blankets and no pillow.
  • Our tray tables were small and did not contain a connection to hold an iPad like Hawaiian.
  • The headphones were not the comfy pillowy type that cover your ears, but instead we were handed disposable earplugs, which provided inferior sound and were uncomfortable to boot.
  • There were no tablecloths to cover the ugly metal of our tray table.
  • In fact, when dinner was served, we were handed a tray without embellishments, no separate salt and pepper shakers, and it made me feel like I was dining at a high school cafeteria.
  • The Diet Coke did not arrive in a can accompanied by a glass filled with ice; instead, I was served a Diet Coke in a small glass with ice -- just like I had been sitting in Coach.
  • Dessert was served with our meal instead of as a separate course.
  • And most egregious of all, there were zero macadamia nuts.

But despite all of these horrors, we made it to Kona in 4 hours from Sacramento.

With that, I give you my partner's personal blog about a few wild things that recently happened while selling probates at this link (and there is no connection between my story about flying First Class on Alaska vs. Hawaiian Airlines and this blog link on my personal website, which I realize can confuse people, but you get choices when you read my blog):

A Fixer Home Selling AS IS in a Probate Process.

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Elizabeth Weintraub is co-partner of Weintraub & Wallace Team of Top Producing Realtors, an author, home buying expert at The Balance, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown, Carmichael and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put our combined 80 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at RE/MAX Gold. DRE License # 00697006.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of RE/MAX Gold. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to elizabethweintraub.com.

Comments

Ha ha shame on you vacation again? Elizabeth seriously this reminds me of flying from Frankfurt, Germany to Budapest Hungary and the first class consisted of a curtain separating the rest of the passengers, but they made sure that they pulled the curtain to block the second class citizens from looking into the first six rows:))Endre

Posted by Endre Barath, Jr., Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices) 6 months ago

I think the 4 hour flight time would far outweigh the first class shortcomings!  That's remarkable flying, and hardly enough time to complain about.

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) 6 months ago

Four hours would be great! Will you take that flight again?

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!)) 6 months ago

Good morning Elizabeth. I hear you but the time should make it better. Next time fly coach.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) 6 months ago

If you are paying for first class service, you should receive first class service.. at least some service that is not to be had in coach. For half the traveling time and a direct flight, I would put up with a few inconveniences - and plan accordingly, bring a pillow and macademia nuts  I would love love love to make it to Germany in just 4 hours! 

Posted by Andrea Bedard, M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond (Thompson Company, REALTORS®) 6 months ago

I would gladly put up with the downsized service to get there quicker and without a layover, Elizabeth.  But, I'm more accustomed to roughing it than you!

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) 6 months ago

Endre Barath, Jr. Are you sure you weren't flying United? My last first class trip on United consisted of Sacramento to Miami, and sounds just like your experience. It was horrid.

Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (RE/MAX Gold) 6 months ago

Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089 Easy for you to say, you are in Maui, where Hawaiian Airlines flies non-stop now from Sacramento. You aren't forced to fly Alaska.

Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (RE/MAX Gold) 6 months ago

Kat Palmiotti Alaska is working to update its aircraft in First Class. Probably following in the footsteps of Hawaiian. But when and which planes is another story. Since I bought a RT I'll have to use it to fly back.

Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (RE/MAX Gold) 6 months ago

Sheila Anderson You're joking, right?

Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (RE/MAX Gold) 6 months ago

Andrea Bedard We need transporter beaming capabilities. Like walk into that X-ray booth at security, press a button, and there you materialize in Germany!

Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (RE/MAX Gold) 6 months ago

Myrl Jeffcoat Ha, ha, yes, you know I do not like to be uncomfortable. I can hardly stand it when I'm in the passenger seat of my husband's car and he goes over speedbumps. I always shoot for the other side of the car to go over the hump while positioning the driver-side wheels into the passthrough spot. But when he drives, it is all four wheels over the speedhumps or else just my side of the car!

Either way I get jostled without consent.

Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (RE/MAX Gold) 6 months ago

Hi Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%, I don't mind the discomfort on a two-hour flight but if its longer than that and I paid for a first class seat, I am not a happy camper. 

Posted by Beth Atalay, Cam Realty of Clermont FL (Cam Realty and Property Management) 6 months ago

Beth Atalay That's about my threshold, too. So many people think it's about the destination, but it is really about the journey through life, and you obviously get it.

Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (RE/MAX Gold) 6 months ago

Hi Elizabeth... I guess at the end of the day it's a question of which is more important -- some creature comfort or a quick arrival. Not being the patient type, I'd almost always vote for a quicker arrival.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage ) 6 months ago

Nina Hollander I don't enjoy settling for less than I deserve. Now that I have brought this issue to the attention of Alaska Airlines, my hope is perhaps Alaska will make an effort to fix what is broken. It is quite possible that other passengers have groaned but have done nothing. Most people do not take action. They shrug it off. Further, improving first class service on Alaska won't just improve my experience, it ought to improve the journey for all other first class passengers as well.

Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (RE/MAX Gold) 6 months ago

I've always been a big fan of Alaska airlines, mainly because of their pilot's abilities. They fly into some crazy weather and airports in Alaska and do it with a fine safety record. With that said, I do hope they respond to the First Class critique - the requests seem reasonable to me.

When I have a choice, I always fly with them and will continue to do so - rarely fly first class though, so maybe that's the difference. I do opt to upgrade for the seats with more leg room though. Lol. 

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) 6 months ago

I've always liked Alaska Airlines coach section. Sure you weren't in the wrong section?

Posted by Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®, Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea 6 months ago

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