Alaska Airlines has opened bookings for its new Premium Class, which offers travelers seats with up to four more inches of space between rows. The airline will debut the new section for travel beginning on select routes starting January 5, 2017, as it continues to retrofit its all-Boeing fleet.
In addition to four extra inches of legroom, passengers seated in Premium Class will enjoy early boarding, snacks and complimentary drinks. Seats in Premium Class are located in the front portion of the main cabin, allowing for faster boarding and deplaning. The new section offers an additional four inches of legroom, with 35 inches of space between rows, compared to the 31 to 32 inches between rows in the rest of the main cabin.
Alaska Mileage Plan MVP, Gold and Gold 75K members will be eligible for complimentary upgrades into Premium Class at the time of booking, or up to 24 hours in advance of travel, depending on status and the fare purchased. Additionally, Alaska customers who aren’t able to upgrade to First Class will see an increased likelihood of getting a seat with more legroom near the front of the cabin, the airline said.
Andrew Harrison, executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Alaska Airlines, said that Premium Class is the most recent example of the airline’s investment in its customer experience, and that the airline would continue to emphasize its policy of offering generous upgrades to its passengers.
Initial prices for Premium Class seats range from $15 to $79 in addition to base fares and are based on the length of the flight.
First Class Cabin Updates
The aircraft retrofits will also result in significantly expanded legroom in the First Class cabin, which will increase from 36 to 41 or 42 inches, Alaska Airlines said. In addition to the increased legroom, First Class customers will continue to enjoy a seat that is four inches wider, free inflight entertainment tablets, a complimentary selection of fine wines and spirits, and chef-inspired, locally-sourced snacks and meals.
It is expected that nearly half of the fleet will feature Premium Class by the end by the end of 2016, with the balance of planes being reconfigured in 2017. A decision on when the 737-700s will be retrofitted will be announced mid-2017. Alaska will retire its fleet of 737-400s in 2017. The upgrade option will also be available on the Embraer 175s operated by SkyWest Airlines and, soon, Horizon Air.
Premium Class is replacing Preferred Plus, which was only available in exit rows and bulkhead seats. Customers on flights that have yet to be retrofitted, can still can purchase extra legroom starting at $15, during booking, check-in, at the airport, or through the Alaska Airlines mobile app. Once an aircraft is upgraded, exit row seats will no longer be available for purchase.
In the past two years, Alaska has made significant investments to improve the customer experience, including outfitting nearly half of its fleet with larger overhead bins that increase room for carry-on baggage by 48 percent and providing personal power outlets at every seat. Also, customers can enjoy Pacific Northwest-inspired food from Seattle chef Tom Douglas, local wine and spirits, custom-designed leather seats, and free and premium streaming entertainment on every flight.
This article originally appeared on travelagentcentral.com