Last year we were all hit with terrible news about Yakima's airport dropping flights that would leave in the morning and return late evening, leaving Yakima travelers with only one option daily in the early afternoon. Myself and many travelers have lamented that with the early afternoon flight to Seattle it doesn't leave much room to connect anywhere else in the same day so many of us are forced to drive to Tri-Cities to travel out. And I've spoken to so many on the Tri-Cities flights who are from Yakima and there for the same reason I am, but I digress.

To ease a little bit of this burden, starting January 9th, 2023, they're replacing the smaller propeller planes in Yakima with a jet that has a first-class seating option.

Good bye Bombardier Q400 Turboprop, Hello Embraer ERJ 175

Oftentimes, first-class boards before most (just after people who need extra help boarding, people with small children who need extra time, and active military) are often treated to free cocktails and snacks with longer flights having free meal options. But for this less-than-half-an-hour flight to Seattle, I'm not sure what that will involve outside of the more legroom. Naturally, it'll cost more but it usually costs more per flight. Longer flights it's a lot more but the price different from economy to first-class on this Yakima to Seattle flight looks to be only $30 extra. That could change at any time.

This new jet will also offer a premium class (sometimes called business class or premium comfort on other airlines) which allows a little more legroom and comes with complimentary cocktails. Not bad and sometimes worth the extra cash.

Currently, Yakima's flight to Seattle doesn't offer food or drink service of any kind. Not even water. If you're eating on the plane, it's because you packed something. When they expect to the new jet, I'm not sure if they'll offer anything. I could see water already at your seat for first-class flights but, again, no official word, yet.

Because it's a jet, it'll be quicker, right? ...right?!

Looking at flight times, it looks like it'll take longer, but not too much longer. The current time, according to Alaska Airlines website is 45 minutes. That's about the time from boarding to landing. The flight, itself, is 22 minutes. Just up and over Snoqualmie pass. The time with the new jet goes from 45 minutes to 50 minutes. Not sure if the exact flight time but I couldn't figure it'd be a huge change. Maybe faster but we just need more time to board, not quite sure.

Bigger jet means more seats!

Not exactly. The current propeller planes Yakima have 76 standard seats, all the same. That's it. If 77 people need to fly out of Yakima, someone is gonna have to wait. With the new Embraer 175 it'll feature 12 first-class seats, 12 premium seats and 52 standard seats (coach). That's still only 76 seats but with the added first-class or premium-class which costs a little extra you'll see people pay for those. It won't be much of a cost difference compared to other longer flights but could also make you want to book your flights earlier.

This is definitely a step in the right direction. Now here's hoping we get that early-morning flight and late-night return back sooner than later.

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