I needed a flight back to New York City from Portland and I wanted a non-stop flight. Additionally, I didn’t want to leave at 7am, or take a red-eye back. So, the only flight option leaving in the afternoon from Portland and arriving in the evening in New York was Flight 18 aboard the Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-9 MAX. So, the flight was booked!

After booking, I was monitoring the price of the flight and noticed that the price went down twice from when I originally booked it. Luckily, it was easy to chat with Alaska and request a future flight credit for the fare difference each time it dropped. I definitely think one should monitor the prices of their flights in case it drops!

Flight Details:

Alaska Airlines Flight 18
Portland (PDX) to New York (JFK)
Seat: 9C
Cabin: Premium Class
Aircraft: Boeing 737-9 MAX
Date of Flight: April 2023

American Airlines and Alaska Airlines Reciprocal Elite Benefits:

As an American AAdvantage Gold Member, I got benefits on Alaska Airlines which is a major plus. You can check the full list of benefits here, but highlights I like include:

  • Priority check-in and boarding
  • Preferred seating (except on Saver Fares)
  • Upgrades to First Class
  • Premium Class Seats 24 hours prior to departure (Y, B, or H fares after ticket purchase)
  • 2 free checked bags

Online Check-In:

At T-24 to my flight, I went on the app to check-in for my flight. When I got to the seat map, I noticed that Premium Class seats were still showing as $89. I called Alaska to clarify which only took a few minutes, and apparently there was a bug in the app, and I should have been allowed to choose the seat for free. The very helpful agent assigned me to the premium class seat of my choice.

In terms of First Class upgrades, I ended up 5/5 on the waitlist for a First class upgrade. I was actually a bit surprised there were only 5 people on the list for this sunday transcon.

At the Airport:

The Portland Airport is quite nice and not too crowded. Unfortunately, with AMEX Platinum and Priority Pass, there aren’t really any lounge options to visit unless you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve or Citi Prestige. Priority Pass has a few restaurant options, but those aren’t available for AMEX Platinum and Capital One Venture X members (which are the cards I have). I ended up finding a nice quiet gate to sit at to relax before my flight.

About an hour before our flight was supposed to depart, the gate announced that due to thunderstorms at JFK, our flight departure would be pushed 2 hours and 15 minutes later. It was a bummer, but we cannot control the weather.

I decided to have a “lite” dinner at McDonalds before the new departure time of 4:20PM.


We commenced boarding at 3:40PM, and I boarded in Group B alongside Mileage Plan MVP members and those in Premium Class seats. The first thing that I noticed was that our plane was quite new, only having been in service for half a year!

The pilots apologized for the delay and said our flight time would be 4 hours and 52 minutes in the air. We ended up pushing back from the gate 2 hours and 30 minutes behind schedule and took off 2 hours and 45 minutes behind schedule. Our flight was completely full.

The Seat: Alaska Airlines Premium Class

On the Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-9 MAX, Premium Class can be found between rows 6-9 for a total of 24 seats in a 3-3 configuration. They offer 35 inches of pitch, versus 31-32 inches in the standard economy cabin.

Alaska Airlines Boeing

Premium Class Seating

I found the seat to be relatively comfortable and it had good legroom. The seat had USB charging, a power plug, and a tablet holder since there is no seat back entertainment.

Alaska Airlines Boeing

Alaska 737-9 MAX Premium Class Legroom

In-Flight Entertainment:

WiFi was available during the flight and it was free for T-Mobile customers or $8 for a flight pass. The WiFi worked pretty well during the flight and I didn’t have any issues with connecting.

If you didn’t want to pay for WiFi, you could use certain texting/messaging apps for free to stay connected. You could also stream movies and tv shows to your device for free.

In Flight:

Once reaching cruising altitude, there was a beverage service + snack service with pretzels.

Alaska Airlines Boeing

First Beverage + Snack Service

About an hour later, flight attendants came with water and were very good about coming down the aisles to pick up trash and check-in on us. They were also very friendly and welcoming.

Being in row 9 towards the front of the plane, it is quite a trek to the economy bathrooms in the back of the cabin. I felt like a penguin hobbling past row 33. I noticed some Premium Class passengers deciding the trek was too far to the back and they ended up using the first-class lavatories. I wonder if they should have added a middle cabin lavatory.

About an hour before landing, another snack and beverage service was provided which was great as I was getting thirsty. This time instead of pretzels, they gave out Biscoff cookies.

a drink and a can on a table

Second Beverage + Snack Service

Right before landing, we had some delays with our landing slot due to the limited visibility and rain. As I looked out the window, I didn’t see the runway until about 5 seconds before touching down. We were scheduled to arrive around 12:30am, but ended up getting to the gate around 1:10am. Nonetheless, I was just very happy to be home, and glad they were still able to get us to JFK with the bad weather.


Overall, flying on the new Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-9 MAX from Portland to New York was a decent experience. The good service was the highlight of the flight and I would not hesitate in flying Alaska again.


Have you flown on Alaska Airlines recently? How was your visit? Comment below!




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