Noisy Horizon Airlines Q400

My final travel leg home from Vancouver, B.C. is on a noisy Horizon Airlines Q400 turboprop operated for Alaska Airlines. Is your memory like mine where things from your past sometimes seem better that they actually are? That describes this flight and trip report on the Horizon Airlines Q400.

I specifically selected this flight to round out this set of flights to provide trip reports for the full range of Alaska Airlines offerings: mainline Boeing 737, regional jet Embraer 175, and turboprop Q400. These are simply sample flights, as the longest duration is just over 1 hour. True evaluation requires longer flights.

Connecting in Seattle

My local airport in Boise has a small, but growing number of direct flights. Geographically, we are located between multiple airline hub cities, Seattle and Salt Lake City for Delta, Denver and San Francisco for United. Consequently, I get to enjoy a connecting flight to one of these hub cities before flying to my final destination in most instances. From January of 2018 to this writing, I’ve gone through Sea-Tac 20 times! The good news is Seattle is easy to navigate, the bad news is there isn’t really anything new to occupy my time during a layover. I could hang out in the Seattle Seahawk 12 club?

Seattle Seahawks 12 Club
Seattle Seahawks 12 Club at Sea-Tac International Airport

Not a bad hangout for a Seahawk fan like me! Upon inspection, however, the 12 Club is just really a public branded restaurant and not really an airport club. More often than not, I’ll find a good window and watch aircraft, which is what occupied my time this day.

Outdoor boarding

If your flight includes a Horizon Airlines operated leg out of Seattle (or Boise for that matter), you’ll get the opportunity to board your aircraft from outside!

Outdoor boarding
Outdoor boarding at Sea-Tac International Airport

I think this is a cool opportunity and with modern security being what it is, I’m surprised this is allowed! A short walk down a ramp to your boarding door and you are outside in the elements with your aircraft, and many others.

Oregon State University Q400
Oregon State University Q400

The Turbo-Prop Experience

I gave away the experience with the blog title, but the Q400 is noisy! I actually looked the Q400 with some nostalgia before this flight. One of those flights was a quick 15 minute flight between Moscow, Idaho to Lewiston, Idaho.

Today, my experience was fine, but I’ll not be looking to book another flight on a Q400 anytime in the future. Pitch is fine at 31 inches, but the seats themselves are narrow at 17 inches. These statistics according to Fine for the short regional flights operated by the Q400, but I’d not want to ride it for much longer!

Q400 Seat
Horizon Airlines Q400 Seat

The Bombardier Q400 is designed with the wing mounted above the fuselage with the turbo-prop mounted to the wing. If you are looking for a view, this wing/engine arrangement blocks a good part of the view for passengers rear of row 4 or 5.

The View
The view from row 17 on a Horizon Airlines Q400


Horizon Airlines Q400 turbo-prop aircraft are an experience. Not that it’s necessarily a great experience, but the propeller driven airplane probably peaked many years ago. Turbofan engines fly the majority of passengers, with new designs being more quiet and more efficient.

If you are looking to experience some flight nostalgia, by all means get yourself on a Horizon Airlines Q400, preferably one with a collegiate livery! In addition to the OSU beavers Q400, I’ve flow on the University of Idaho Vandals, Oregon State Ducks, Boise State Broncos, and Washington Huskies aircraft. The full list follows.

This concludes this round of flights with Alaska. For comparisons to their mainline, you can check out my blog of the Alaska Airlines by Sky West Embraer 175 or Alaska Airlines Salmon-Thirty-Salmon flights.

Horizon Airlines Collegiate Livery

Here’s the list of College-themed aircraft from Alaska Airlines:

  • University of Alaska Anchorage Q400
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks Q400
  • Boise State University Q400
  • Montana State University Q400
  • Oregon State University Q400
  • San Diego State University Q400
  • University of Idaho Q400
  • University of Montana Q400
  • University of Oregon Q400
  • University of Washington Q400
  • Washington State University Q400

Comments and questions are always welcome. Happy Travels!

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