Horizon Air (Alaska Airlines) Bombardier Q400 (DH4) Seat and Trip Review
Flight AS 2264 from Seattle (SEA) to Vancouver (YVR) on a Horizon Air Bombardier Q400.
The bad: Window seats have less legroom than aisle seats; limited visibility out of the windows for most rows.
The ugly: No first class seating/upgrades for elites; row 20 is right next to the galley.
At the airport:
Alaska has reasonably smooth operations in Seattle, however the elite line can get overrun during busy periods so if you have to check a bag it’s probably worth doing so online and heading straight to a bag drop. When traveling with my dog I need to go to the desk, though, so this can be a slog when compared to Delta, Virgin, and United out of Seattle. Security in Seattle is horrible — it’s always blended PreCheck these days, so allow some extra time there if you’re used to cruising through nonexistent lines in other airports; savvy and efficient frequent fliers are greatly outnumbered by first-timers and the once-a-year crowd. The flipside is if you’re not a frequent flier you’ll enjoy faster security if you’re selected for PreCheck.
I was in the N gates (N12B) and boarding is quick and efficient as expected for these regional hops.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my long-haul first class seats/suites and even domestic premium products, but when flying in these turboprops I remember why I love flying again – you feel like you’re actually flying, feeling the yaw and pitch, especially during the always-fun crosswind landings and in turbulence. Reminds me of piloting my DA20. If small planes make you nervous then it may be worth seeking out a regional jet or A319/20/21 or 73x on your chosen route.
3B, 6D, 1B. Best seats are row 1 if you don’t mind in-armrest tray tables. Aisle seats are better for legroom as the fuselage cuts into the leg space noticeably for the window seats. There’s unlimited legroom in 1B, half bulkhead in 1A, and bulkhead in 2 D/E. Rows 6-9 are right next to the engines so there is a lot of vibration and noise, and the views are obscured all the way back to row 15 or so. See below:
If you’re next to the props pack your noise-canceling or noise-isolating headphones. The hard product is comfortable, decent seat pitch, but no recline. Many window seats have two windows while all will have at least one. The middle armrests fold up and it makes for a comfortable extra-wide seat if there’s nobody next to you, so see if you can find such a seat when you check in — it’s worth moving around for it since except for the first and last rows all seats are roughly equal.
Short flights on Horizon offer water service only, but if there is a light load they do a full beverage service. Longer Horizon flights provide full beverage service. Horizon offers free wine and beer, which makes me happy 🙂 FAs are nice as usual on Alaska/Horizon. They generally love dogs, and unlike when flying United and Delta with a PIC (Pet In Cabin), I’ve never been hassled at check-in, the gate, or on board.
Did I miss anything? Have you flown Alaska’s turboprops before? Let us know in your comment below!