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People who don’t live in the West Coast area think that Alaska Airlines is just a small regional carrier based in Anchorage. Well, it’s not because you can purchase or upgrade to an Alaska Airlines First Class flight to make your trips more comfortable when you’re traveling domestically or internationally.
Alaska Airlines ranked 8th in Skytrax’s World’s Best Airline Award in North America for 2021. The airline is continuously expanding and amassing more loyalists, especially since it joined the OneWorld alliance back in July 2020.
It has major primary hubs in the US which are located in Seattle (Primary hub), Anchorage, Los Angels, San Francisco, and Portland. As of today, Alaska Airlines offers more than 115 destinations throughout the U.S., Mexico, Hawaii, Canada, and other parts of South America.
If you want to book an Alaska first class flight to any of these routes, keep on reading.
Alaska Airlines On-the-Ground Benefits
Booking an Alaska Airlines first class flight gets you premium services even before you board the plane. Here’s what you can expect.
A passenger who is flying on an Alaska first class or Alaska business class ticket, whether paid in cash or in miles, can have access to Alaska Airlines lounges at the following Alaska Airlines Hubs: Anchorage (ANC), Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK), Portland (PDX), San Francisco (SFO), and Seattle (SEA). Lounge access for paid first-class flights includes both domestic and international routes.
Additionally, people with OneWorld Emerald or Sapphire membership that was earned through an Alaska or American Airlines frequent flyer status will also have lounge access only on long-haul international itineraries to Mexico City, Central America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, or Australia.
Here are the benefits that you can get from Alaska Airlines lounges:
- Complimentary food/snacks
- High-speed Alaska wifi
- Comfortable chairs
- Digital entertainment
- Concierge services.
For more details about Alaska lounges and guidelines, you can visit their website.
Priority Check-in & Boarding
Passengers will be able to board their flights faster because of the priority check-in and boarding perks. It’s a great way to avoid the hustle and bustle of the airport, especially during peak days.
Here’s the boarding sequence for Alaska airlines:
- Physically-impaired guests or those who need help boarding
- Families with kids under the age of 2
- Active members of the military with an ID
- First Class passengers
- Group A
- Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members
- Mileage Plan Million Miler
- MVP Gold 100k
- MVP Gold 75K
- MVP Gold members
- Group B
- Oneworld Ruby members
- Guests who are in premium class seats
- Mileage Plan MVP members
- Group C – Guests who are sitting in the back half of the aircraft
- Group D – Guests who are sitting in the front half of the aircraft
- Group E – Guests who purchased Saver fares
Free Baggage Allowance
You’ll get two free checked bags as long as they are below 50 pounds and 62 inches; bags that go beyond those limits will incur additional charges. For people with sports and leisure equipment, you can check the airline’s baggage policies for more details.
Alaska Airlines On-the-Air Benefits
Now for the exciting part! Alaska Airlines first class cabin offers a premium experience in the air such as spacious seats, premium entertainment, and complimentary meals and beverages.
Alaska Airlines First Class Seats
First-class seats are available on the Boeing 737s, Bombardier Q400s, and the Embraer 175s planes. The first class cabin is located in the front of the plane in front of the Alaska Premium class cabin.
The Boeing 737 planes typically have three rows with a 2-2 seat configuration, however, the Embraer has four rows with a 1-2 seat configuration.
Here are the features you’ll find on Alaska Airlines first class seats:
- A 41-inch seat pitch that gives more legroom for passengers (pitch is the space between a seat and the seat in front of it).
- Reclining seats with footrests
- Tablet holders and power outlets
- Easy-to-reach cup holders
Unfortunately, Alaska Airlines first class seats do not have lay-flat functions compared to its foreign-based competitors. For example, Singapore Airlines’ first-class seats on the Boeing 777-300 or Aeromexico’s first-class seats on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner both feature lay-flat functions.
All of Alaska Airlines’ fleet DO NOT have a built-in entertainment system. Instead, passengers will be given free access to high-speed Alaska Wifi provided Gogo and stream movies and TV shows on their digital devices.
For those who don’t have devices, in-flight tablets for passengers are offered on the following routes below.
- Washington DC
- New York
- Fort Lauderdale
The perk is offered both for outbound and in-found flights.
How To Book Alaska Airlines First Class
There are two primary ways to book an Alaska Airlines first class ticket – pay in cash or pay in miles. All you need to do is to visit the booking website and fill in the details of your itinerary. By default, you will pay in cash but on the left-hand side, you’ll see an option to pay in miles.
Traditionally, you would have to earn Alaska miles by flying on Alaska-operated flights or OneWorld member-operated flights or spending through an Alaska Airlines co-branded credit card.
However, there’s another way to earn Alaska miles and that is through a transfer partner, specifically through Marriot Bonvoy. You can transfer Marriot Bonvoy points to Alaska at a 3:1 ratio, plus 5,000 bonus miles if you transfer at least 6,000 Bonvoy points. For example, if you transfer 120,000 points, you’ll get 50,000 Alaska miles in total.
Here are some Marriott Bonvoy Cards that you can apply for:
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless (R) Credit Card – Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from your account opening (Terms apply).
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold (R) Credit Card – 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening (Terms Apply).
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant (R) American Express Card – 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy™ Bonus Points and a Bonus Free Night Award after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership (Terms apply).
Read More: The Complete Guide To Marriott Moments
Bottomline: Is It Worth It?
Alaska Airlines boasts of its premium food and customer service so most passengers choose Alaska over other US airlines when flying cross-country flights. But is Alaska first class worth the money when you can buy an Alaska Premium Class seat at a cheaper price but can still give you enough legroom to fly comfortably?
For short flights? It probably isn’t! You’re better off booking a Premium class seat that can give you 4 more inches of legroom than the standard Main Cabin seats. You’ll also enjoy alcoholic drinks and priority check-in and boarding.
But for long-haul cross-country and international flights, it’s nice to have a seat that has a footrest and can give you a generous recline.