To get to California during our Living It Up in California trip, I chose Alaska Air Flight 830. Sure, my decision to fly Alaska was driven by my need to use expiring credits, but the airport I chose was based more on our last trip to NorCal back in 2018. Was that the right decision? I’m not sure.
Pre-pandemic, Alaska had multiple daily frequencies from most Western cities to Hawaii. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case in autumn 2022. Despite explosive travel demand, most Alaska routes continue to operate once daily. To make matters worse, they’re timed like Hawaiian flights, meaning they arrive into Continental U.S. cities late, while flights to Hawaii depart EARLY. Yuck.
Booking Alaska Air Flight 830
The thing with booking this flight was that given the timings, I wanted an airport that was as convenient as possible. Given the flight times, I also wanted an airport with affordable hotels. Then, finally, I tried to choose the route with the sanest flight times. That ultimately led me to select Air Alaska Flight 830 between Honolulu and San Jose. I’ve never flown into San Jose before, so this would be a new experience for me. But I could see that SJC’s CONRAC is right across of the terminal, and there are many inexpensive hotels in the area, so why not?
Unfortunately, after booking my flights, the cascade of changes began. At one point, we weren’t scheduled to arrive in San Jose until after 11:30 pm – 30 minutes after the CONRAC closes. Mercifully, the schedule eventually settled in with an arrival time of 10:33 pm. But even with Alaska’s 20-minute bag guarantee, that didn’t give us much time to get to our car – more on that later.
Alaska Air Flight 830 Ground Experience
Things were a bit different right from the start. When we arrived into Alaska’s Honolulu check-in lobby, there was a large family ahead of us that didn’t seem like they understood how to check in. Thankfully, we were able to bypass them after the Agriculture Inspection, though we ended up getting caught in a rather lengthy TSA line. After getting through security, we did our usual routine – I filled my Yeti with water and headed to our gate.
Like our recent Seattle flight, the gate area was a mess, but not as bad as E1. Despite this, things were running reasonably smoothly – at first. AS942 eventually returned to the terminal and parked at our gate, forcing our aircraft to hold on the taxiway when it arrived. Eventually, AS942 departed again at 2:02 pm. Our plane finally pulled in at 2:06 pm and was able to fully deplane by 2:27 pm.
Alaska Air Flight 830 Boarding
On this day, Alaska Air flight 830 was scheduled to begin boarding at 2:35 pm. Naturally, with the delayed arrival, that wasn’t going to happen. However, the Alaska team hauled as and were able to begin pre-boarding at 2:39 pm. First Class was called a minute later, followed by Group A and military at 2:44 pm. Group B was called a minute later, and we headed onboard.
Once we found our seats on our 7-year-old Boeing 737-900 – N434AS – we were welcomed by a mess surprise. Namely, the woman a row behind us decided to fill the overhead bin for our rows with her bags. How she got aboard with that many bags is beyond me. Luckily, we could use the bin across from us, but that eventually ended up screwing over others. People, follow the damn rules. They’re there for a reason. No one is above them.
That incident aside, boarding was completed relatively quickly, with the cabin door closing at 3:10 pm. After our safety screening, we began our pushback at 3:22 pm – seven minutes behind schedule. Our quoted flight time was 4 hours and 48 minutes.
Alaska Air Flight 830 Departure
The Daniel K. Inouye was fairly empty in the mid-afternoon hours that day. We mostly saw Southwest and United jets as we made our way out to our departure runway.
On this day, we took a different route our to Runway 8R, thanks to construction on 8L. And when I say construction, I mean they demolished the whole thing and rebuilt it. So when we passed over, you could clearly see the coral that lies under the runway.
I will say, the views that day were gorgeous. Just look at the beautiful blue skies and tranquil waters.
After a 15-minute taxi, we finally made it to 8R and were immediately cleared for takeoff.
Despite the wonderful weather, our climb out was choppy.
Eventually, the air smoothed out as we approached 10,000 feet.
Alaska Air Flight 830 In-Flight Service
Twenty-one minutes after departing, the crew came around with pre-ordered food. It’s about this that we began experiencing mild chop again, though it didn’t last long. Thirty minutes later, crews returned with drinks, as even more mild to moderate turbulence began buffeting the aircraft. This trend of intermittent bumps would last nearly the entire duration of the flight.
I already reviewed the food on this flight, so I won’t cover it again here. What I will say, though, is that I was pleasantly surprised by West Coast Muffuletta – it’s too bad they don’t have it on the menu anymore.
Roughly two hours after our first beverage service (6:39 pm HST), our crew came around with our second beverage service, which was nearly two hours ahead of our scheduled arrival time.
Alaska Air Flight 830 Arrival Experience
At 7:58 pm HST/9:58 pm PT, we began our initial descent. Seventeen minutes later, we began our final descent, finally touching down in San Jose at 10:26 pm. After a five-minute taxi, we pulled into our gate two minutes ahead of our 10:33 pm scheduled arrival time. Three minutes later, the cabin door opened, and we were off.
Once we deplaned, I made a quick bathroom stop and began hauling ass down the terminal. If you’ve never been to SJC, know that it’s a single, long terminal. Alaska occupies gates that are at one end of Terminal B, while the baggage claim and CONRAC are way on the other. We powered through the terminal at a BRISK pace, after which Mrs. Island Miler headed to the baggage terminal while I booked it over to the CONRAC.
I got to the rental desk right on time – about five minutes before they closed. Mrs. Island Miler ended up retrieving our bags right around that time, too, meaning Alaska kind of overshot their 20-minute guarantee. But, whatever.
Alaska Air Flight 830, Final Thoughts
I’m not going to lie; Alaska Air Flight 830 was mostly fine. We had a good crew, the food was actually delicious, and we managed to arrive on time despite a late departure. However, Alaska’s disregard for people traveling from Hawaii to the Continental U.S. is disappointing. That said, they’re not alone in this. Hawaiian is just as guilty. But if our flight arrived just a few minutes later, I would’ve had to order a carshare or taxi to get to our first hotel, and then another the next morning to finally pick up our car. That would’ve been extremely annoying. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.
Living It Up in California
- Alaska Air Flight 830