Alaska Airlines Premium Class: Bigger Seats and Free Drinks

If you value additional comfort and convenience on longer flights, consider an upgrade to premium.
Alisha McDarris
By Alisha McDarris 

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On top of standard economy class seating, Alaska Airlines offers several classes of service on many of its aircraft, including first class and premium class. So what makes Alaska's premium class unique? Here’s what you need to know about flying Alaska Airlines premium class, whether or not you’re booking your travel with Alaska MileagePlan miles.

What to expect flying Alaska Airlines premium class

Wondering what sort of experience you can enjoy in Alaska’s premium class seats? You’ll get perks such as:

  • Legroom. Four inches of additional legroom than what you’d get in regular economy class seats.

  • Amenities. Free drinks, including alcohol on flights exceeding 350 miles.

  • Boarding perks. Premium class flyers get early boarding, plus first access to overhead bins.

Because premium class rows are located in the front of the plane, right behind first class, you will also be among the first to deplane once you arrive at your destination.

Don’t expect wider seats like in first class, though; rows are still three seats across in premium, just like in the main cabin, and they don’t offer any more elbow room than standard economy seats. Plus, the seats are still located in the main cabin; there’s no separation between premium seats and economy seats.

🤓Nerdy Tip

If you book a seat in row 6, which is the first row of premium class behind first class, you can enjoy even more legroom, but there isn’t a seat back in front of you. That means your tray table will be stowed in your armrest and there won’t be a place to mount your entertainment options.

How much does Alaska Airlines premium class cost?

Alaska’s website says you can upgrade to premium class seats starting at just $15. Keep in mind, however, that each individual leg of the flight is charged separately.

For example, on a flight from San Francisco to Honolulu, an upgrade on the Alaska Airlines Premium class Hawaii fare was $17 for the leg from San Francisco to Los Angeles, $79 from Los Angeles to Honolulu, and $89 for the nonstop return flight from Honolulu to San Francisco.

On the upside, this offers the option to upgrade for just certain parts of your journey.

Is Alaska premium class available on every flight?

The class of service is currently available on:

  • Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

  • Boeing 737-900/900ER aircraft.

  • Embraer E175 (operated by SkyWest) aircraft.

The number of premium class seats varies from one aircraft type to another, but you can expect:

  • 12 seats on the E175.

  • 24 seats on 900-series aircraft.

  • 30 on 800-series aircraft.

On aircraft that don’t offer premium class, there may be seats with additional legroom available in the Main Cabin, but those seats won’t come with extra amenities like free drinks or early boarding, so make sure you know what you’re getting when you book.

How to upgrade to premium class

If you’d like all the perks that come along with a higher class of service, there are plenty of ways to upgrade, such as:

  • During initial booking.

  • After booking, using the airline’s “Manage reservations” tool.

  • During check-in (if seats are still available).

MVP, MVP Gold and Gold 75K Mileage Plan elite members are also eligible for a free upgrade to Premium Class, depending on the fare purchased. If that’s you, you can reserve an upgrade online during booking for no additional fee.

If you were hoping to upgrade to premium class using your Alaska Mileage Plan Miles, you’re out of luck; upgrades are available to purchase in cash only. But if you booked an award ticket on Alaska using miles, you can still upgrade to premium class and pay with cash.

Is Alaska Airlines premium class worth it?

On long flights where you’d like to be able to stretch out a bit and enjoy a complimentary adult beverage, plus avoid the hassle of waiting in line to board or fight for overhead bin space, an upgrade to Alaska Airlines premium class seats may be worth it. But if early boarding and alcoholic beverages aren’t that important to you, and having less legroom in economy seats isn’t an issue, the cost of an upgrade may not be worth the limited perks.

Photo courtesy of Alaska Airlines.

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