Date: December 17, 2005
Airline: Horizon Air
Aircraft: Bombardier Dash 8-Q400
Route: Flight 2446 LAX
Note: All pictures were taken with my camera phone as I am too lazy to bring a real camera and I want to be discreet while taking photos.
I normally fly this route on United with a connection in SFO
to make this otherwise routine trip a little more exciting. But since I am enrolled with a Gold Challenge with AA
I went with the Horizon codeshare to help me get the Q-points I need. I was a little hesitant about flying Horizon as I hate their terminal at LAX
, and kinda wanted to fly a mainline jet. But I had heard that if you ever get the chance to fly on the Q400 you should take the chance, so I did and I have to say I was very pleased.
I checked in at 215pm about 3 hours early at the almost empty Alaska checkin area. The ceiling is very low and there is very little sense of space. It seems you are forced to check in with a kiosk and check your bags with an agent. I didn't see a place for normal agent checkin. No big deal the machine was easy enough and there was no line at all. I hate the boarding passes the machine gives you though, they are flimsy and I prefer a real boarding card like on AA
. Bag check was extremely quick, the agent was not very friendly but got the job done quickly, so I guess nothing really to complain about. I walked up to the second level and got in the short line for security which took about 5min. I made my way down to Burger King and got my first meal of the day. I walked around and took some pictures of the abysmal terminal. I am convinced this is the worst terminal at LAX
with close runner ups T2
Main hallway after security
Entrance to the non Alaska side of the terminal
Red stripes I believe left over from the TWA days
Main Alaska waiting area
Boarding was scheduled to begin at 450pm, but there was no real organisation. A crowd began to gather at this time to board and no announcement was made as to when the flight would board or if it had started boarding already. It was pretty disorganised as to what was going on. Any anouncement they made was difficult to hear. Main boarding began at about 500pm and I was led down the jetway down to stairs onto the apron. There is something special about being down on the apron and see the planes up close from a different view I really enjoy.
-80 waiting for its next flight
Getting ready to climb aboard
I only have been on one other regional aircraft so I don't have much to compare to but the aircraft had a more spacious feel than the CRJ-200. I was suprised how bright and modern the cabin looked, and also the length of the aircraft. It had a nice almost mainline feel to it. I overheard a poor passenger complaining to the captain "Why can't they use jets on this route? They are so much nicer. American Eagle flies their nice jets faster." To which the captain responded "Those jets can fly almost the speed of sound, but we don't for economical reasons. This aircraft only has a 3 minute longer flying time on this route opposed to a jet." I understand the main benefit of the Q400s over RJ
's is its lighter for these short missions. Anyway I made my way down to the back of the aircraft and sat down in my aisle seat. The leather seat was suprisingly comfortable.
Picture of the cabin during boarding
We pushed back and a nice buzz was created as the props roared to life. We sped down to 24L and took off rather quickly. It was a little bumpy but the acceleration was powerful. We got up to cruising altitude which I believe was 24,000 feet. Multiple rounds of drinks were served with a light snack. The FAs were very friendly and real professional. Flying time was about 1hour 15min and we touched town on time at 645pm. I walked off glad I chose Horizon and had a positive experience. The Q400 is an amazing aircraft that feels like a jet more than anything. The service was very friendly and I think I will take Horizon on this route from now on. The only bad side was the poor check in experience and the abysmal terminal. Thanks for reading, comments welcome.
[Edited 2005-12-18 11:34:48]