What you’re about to read is an extremely detailed review of Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 economy class. As you’ll see, if you’re willing to pre-purchase food (I recommend the fruit and cheese platter), it’s a fairly pleasant experience.
Leg room is pretty good, and the streaming in-flight entertainment offers an excellent selection of the latest movies and TV shows.
The best part? I only had to use profanity twice in this entire 2264 word (52-picture) report. A new low for me!
San Diego, CA (SAN) – Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL)
Thursday, December 28, 2023
Aircraft: 737 MAX 9
Duration: 4 hours 4 minutes
Seat: 21E (economy)
My full review of Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 economy from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale
As a San Diego based traveler, it’s becoming really hard for me to avoid the Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 (or, as they would prefer to call it, the 737-9 MAX). This is the aircraft that tends to show up the most whenever I’m booking flights with Alaska Airlines, and there was no way of avoiding it for this nonstop flight to Fort Lauderdale.
Arrival at the San Diego International Airport
I decided to try something new for this trip. Instead of showing up to the airport ridiculously early (like I always do), I took a gamble and timed my arrival at exactly 1 hour and 30 minutes before departure. That’s crazy close for your boy SANspotter – especially considering that I had luggage to check. Long story short: I darn near missed my flight (and reaffirmed my obsession to always arrive early).
The boarding process for flight number 354 to Fort Lauderdale
In Alaska’s defense, (according to the Flighty app) this flight to Fort Lauderdale departs San Diego early 42% of the time. On-time departures are at 34%. 45+ minute delays are only 4%. So yeah – there was less than a 5% chance of being an hour and 45 minutes late today. I almost feel as if I deserve an award of some kind for showing up on the one-in-a-million day that happens.
The thought of spending nearly 5 hours in Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 economy class was admittedly not that pleasant. After all, these are very basic economy seats. They’re very thin, quite narrow, and they lack video screens. I find them to be quite attractive though. I like the contrast of the dark blue and light gray materials.
Our departure out of San Diego
It’s been a while since I’ve been stuck in the middle economy seat on a flight departing out of San Diego. The last time was in Delta A321 economy, and this felt a lot like that. Minus the horrific delay of course.
Nope, there are no video screens in these seats. Watching video content will require connecting your personal device to the in-flight Wi-Fi – which, I’m happy to report is fast and stable. This was a completely full flight (with a majority of the other passengers streaming content as well), and I never once experienced a dropped connection (or annoying buffering).
As it is with most other US airlines, messaging is free. You’ll still have extra for Wi-Fi that will allow you to browse the internet though (something that other airlines are providing for free nowadays).
Food and snacks
Light snacks and nonalcoholic drinks are complementary in Alaska Airlines economy class. Food is available for purchase as well. It’s important the note that the most substantial food items (such as that freaking awesome fruit and cheese platter) can only be purchased ahead of time via the Alaska Airlines mobile app or website.
I’m of the opinion that there’s no better way to try out a specific airline product than to do it on one of the longest route possible. This flight from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale clocked in at 4 hours and 4 minutes (4 hours and 34 minutes gate to gate), and you know what? I found the seat to be sufficiently comfortable. It was fine.
The arrival into Fort Lauderdale
I honestly didn’t expect the sun to still be shining by the time we arrived. Not only was the forecast for rain, but I assumed we would be too late to see it at all. Regardless of how tardy we were, Mother Nature came through with a stunningly sweet South Florida sunset.
Pros and cons of the Alaska Airlines 737-9 MAX economy experience
Whether you like it or not, chances are pretty good that you’re going to end up on an Alaska 737-9 MAX in the near future. They’re everywhere (and their numbers are only increasing). Based on my economy class experience on such a long route, you’ll be happy to know that it’s not something you need to avoid. I highly recommend giving it a go. You might like it.
Overhead bin space is excellent. Fear not bringing the biggest and baddest carry-on you have.
Legroom is pretty good (as far as US airlines go). It didn’t feel cramped to me at all.
Streaming in-flight entertainment is lightning fast and dead nuts reliable.
Substantial food (the good stuff) requires pre-purchasing before the flight. RIP to your grumbling belly if you forget.
There are no video screens in these seats. If you want to watch movies and/or TV shows, it will behoove you to bring a large tablet (or at least a plus-sized phone).