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Alaska Airlines Adds New Premium-Class Section

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In recent months, Alaska Airlines has been working to become more competitive with American, Delta and United. Between adding new routes and placing first in U.S. News and World Report’s annual ranking of airline frequent flyer programs, the airline has had a great 2015.

Yesterday, Alaska took another step in expanding its product, announcing plans to add a new Premium Class section. As the airline’s version of premium-economy seating, it will offer three to four additional inches of legroom, along with extra amenities to make the experience more comfortable.

alaska premium class
The seating arrangements on Alaska’s fleet following the addition of its new Premium Class.

Seats in the new Premium Class will have at least 35 inches of pitch, compared to the 31-32 inches for the main-cabin seats. Additionally, seats in the first-class cabin will be increased from 36 inches to 41 inches. In order to make room for the changes, Alaska will reconfigure and reduce the number of seats on some aircraft, as seen in the image above.

The airline plans to retrofit up to 60 aircraft with the Premium Class section by the end of 2016, and the remainder of its fleet will be updated by the end of 2017. Unfortunately that means four fewer seats on Alaska’s 737-800s, though the same number of seats will remain on the airline’s other 737s. The upgrade option will also be available on Embraer 175s, which are operated by SkyWest.

A little extra legroom is a welcome perk, especially on longer flights between Hawaii and the mainland.
Alaska Airlines’ current Preferred Plus seating.

The airline currently offers Preferred Plus seating on its 737-400s and -700s in the bulkhead and exit rows. It’s available for purchase at check-in and will continue to be offered on those aircraft after the Premium Class addition.

Full details regarding the pricing and included amenities are not yet available, but be on the lookout for an update. The option to upgrade to Premium Class will be available to Alaska Airlines elite Mileage Plan members on a complimentary basis at the time of booking or day of travel, dependent on status and fare purchased.

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