Alaska Airlines sent out a press release last night detailing its first Boeing 737 freighter, but for passengers that’s just another warning that the 737 Combi is counting its last days. Buried in the press release is an announcement that the last Combi will fly by October 18, 2017.
The Combi is actually a 737-400 aircraft with passengers in the back and an enlarged cargo space in the front where first class (and most of premium economy) would normally be seated. It’s not particularly glamorous, but it’s a must-do for avgeeks who have flown every other aircraft type. Alaska Airlines uses its Combi fleet to travel up and down the Alaskan coast, serving small cities along the way that rely on air freight for the majority of their supplies.
I had the opportunity to fly on the Combi in March when I had a couple days off and my wife was on a business trip. For just a few thousand miles I was able to snag a trip to Anchorage, stopping in Juneau, Cordova, and other small towns along the way. I’ll get a trip report up sometime this week.
Like others have said, it’s not the most glamorous way to fly. Expect a pretty standard economy class experience. But it is unique and something I enjoyed. Start planning now if you want to cross it off your list!