Need feedback on Alaska Air v. Hawaiian Air from PDX to HNL
February 27, 2012 7:51 AM   Subscribe

Trying to decide on possible merits of choosing Alaska v. Hawaiian Air for flight from Portland to Honolulu...

In researching airfares for a summer trip, the price of a ticket on Alaska is easily $200 pp cheaper than Hawaiian right now, for a RT between Portland and Honolulu, which adds up quickly for four people.

I've flown Hawaiian before and AK domestically and neither airline really seems to be an issue as far as reliability/service, etc. As silly as it sounds, I'm curious if any seasoned flyers out there have insights on any reason to avoid AK for the simple reason that they are flying a 737-800 v. Hawaiian's 767-300 over open ocean for 6 hours.

Thanks.
posted by docpops to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
The Alaska 737-800 is probably newer. It will have more people on it, but the seating will be similarly uncomfortable, in coach.

If you are using Horizon to GET to PDX, well, I must report several times when the first Horizon flight of the day was cancelled, resulting in a scramble. If I fly out of PDX these days, I do the park&fly from one of the local hotels and get the shuttle to the terminal.

Other than that, AK is my usual airline and it seems fine.
posted by Danf at 8:03 AM on February 27, 2012


I'm signed up for emails from Hawaiian Air, and I've noticed they discount their fares in a pretty predictable pattern. They only go on sale when they're about 3 months out. I looked at the latest sale and it's on travel through June 8, so if you wait a bit they'll probably be competitive with Alaska.
posted by TungstenChef at 9:23 AM on February 27, 2012


As silly as it sounds, I'm curious if any seasoned flyers out there have insights on any reason to avoid AK for the simple reason that they are flying a 737-800 v. Hawaiian's 767-300 over open ocean for 6 hours.

You're right, to this airplane nerd, it sounds silly :-)

If they're flying that route, then both the 738 and 763 (abbreviation for 737-800 and 767-300) will have the necessary ETOPS rating. You really should read about ETOPS in full -- it will go a long way toward setting your mind at ease.

Commercial airlines have, for many decades, been much safer than driving. Barring anomalies such as 9/11, we are now in the safest era of commercial aviation ever. Some of the newer types (e.g. 777) are so safe that they have never suffered a fatal accident. And you should be just fine on either the 738 or the 763 -- commercial aviation accidents due to a clear mechanical fault are almost unheard of now these days; almost all accidents are due to pilot error, inclement weather, poor maintenance, etc.

And, as you've mentioned, both Alaska and Hawaiian have pretty good safety records [1, 2]. I fly Alaska a lot and quite enjoy them -- they are today's definition of a good airline, i.e. no hidden charges, no aggressive upselling, friendly, reasonable, no broken promises. I've never flown Hawaiian.

For a savings of 200 bones, the choice is clear: Alaska.
posted by wutangclan at 12:11 PM on February 27, 2012


Thank-you for the helpful insights. It means a lot.
posted by docpops at 2:28 PM on February 27, 2012


If you have a Timbers jersey, wear it and you'll get to board the plane early.
posted by bink at 10:53 AM on February 28, 2012


« Older Help me deal with my prolifera...   |  How to be an adult in relation... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.