How to Tell If Your Alaska Flight Features the New Cabin Design

May 1, 2019

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Alaska Airlines recently began rolling out a new cabin design across its legacy fleet of Boeing aircraft and former Virgin America Airbus planes. Experienced Alaska flyers and and elite members will find the redesigned cabins are more modern and have more premium seats up front, but on the legacy Virgin America aircraft seatback entertainment screens have been scrapped and legroom in the premium cabin reduced.

The airline expects 36% of its mainline fleet to feature the new cabin interior by early 2020, including the entire Airbus fleet, Boeing 737-700s and three new Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes. Until then, you’re going to need to a little digging to find out which cabin your flight will feature.

Step 1: Check Your Aircraft Type

The easiest way to check your aircraft type is by pulling up your flight’s seat map on Alaska’s website. The aircraft will be listed at the top, along with the flight’s route and duration.

Although Alaska plans to retrofit other planes eventually, right now the only planes that will feature the new interiors are the Boeing 737-700s and the Airbus planes, as well as the Boeing MAX 9s once Alaska begins taking delivery of them. So, if you’re scheduled to fly on any other type of plane, you can stop reading right here.

You can also stop reading if you’re flying on a Boeing 737-700 because you’re guaranteed to get the new cabin. All of those planes have been retrofitted. They operate many intra-Alaska routes, as well as some flights between Seattle (SEA) and Portland (PDX).

Retrofitted Airbus planes are listed as “Airbus A319,” “Airbus 320” or “Airbus A321,” meanwhile the ones with the original interiors just say “Airbus Series.” The only caveat is that Alaska typically doesn’t assign the retrofitted planes to specific flights until a few days before departure so there aren’t a lot of tells at the time of booking.

Step 2: Check the Seat Map

You can also tell if you’re going to be on a retrofitted Airbus by looking at the row numbering on your flight’s seat map.

Classic A319:

  • First Class: rows 1-2
  • Premium Class: rows 6 and 17
  • Main Cabin: rows 7-15 and 18-30

Retrofitted A319:

  • First Class: rows 1-3
  • Premium Class: rows 6-9
  • Main Cabin: rows 15-30

Classic A320:

  • First Class: rows 1-2
  • Premium Class: rows 6 and 16-17
  • Main Cabin: rows 7-15 and 18-32 (or 18-33, depending on the plane)

Retrofitted A320:

  • First Class: rows 1-3
  • Premium Class: rows 6-9
  • Main Cabin: rows 10-32

Classic A321neo:

  • First Class: rows 1-2
  • Premium Class: rows 6-8
  • Main Cabin: rows 9-39

Retrofitted A321neo:

  • First Class: rows 1-4
  • Premium Class: rows 6-9
  • Main Cabin: rows 10-38

Step 3: Stalk the Registration

The most AvGeeky way of telling what plane type you’ll be on is by stalking the registration of your aircraft. You can find the registration by inputting your flight number on a site like FlightRadar24 or FlightAware. Then, go through the plane’s detailed history to see where it’s been. If it spent some time in Greensboro (GSO) recently, chances are it’s been retrofitted. Alternatively, you can get detailed information on every plane in Alaska’s fleet here.

Bottom Line

It’s fairly easy to tell whether your flight will feature the new cabin, although in most cases you won’t be able to do so until a few days before departure. If you want to know whether your flight has switched to a different aircraft type or cabin arrangement, consider setting up an ExpertFlyer Aircraft Change Alert for your flight.

Featured photo by Katherine Fan / The Points Guy.

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