December 4, 2015 – At its annual Investor Day on December 3 in New York, Alaska Airlines announced plans to roll-out an extra legroom ‘Premium Class’ section in late 2016.
Extra features for customers who upgrade to Premium Class will include priority boarding, a seat pitch of at least 35in (the standard coach seats have 31-32in), and some yet to be decided additional amenities. This upgrade option will be available to Alaska Airlines’ elite Mileage Plan members on a complimentary basis at the booking or on the day of travel, depending on status and fare purchased. The airline states that upgrade pricing and details on the included amenities will be announced closer to launch.
“We are listening to our customers and they have told us that more personal space and extra perks are a priority,” said Andrew Harrison, executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Alaska Airlines.
Alaska plans to retrofit up to 60 aircraft with the Premium Class section by the end of 2016 and the remainder of its B737-800, -900 and -900ER fleet by the end of 2017. The upgrade option will also be available on Embraer 175s, operated by SkyWest, which are configured with 12 seats in the Premium Class section. Preferred Plus seating, currently available for purchase at check-in for bulkhead and exit rows, will continue to be offered on Alaska B737-400s and -700s.
To make room for the Premium Class while maintaining pitch in the main cabin, Alaska will reconfigure and reduce the number of seats available on some aircraft. Also, pitch in the First Class cabin will be increased from 36in to 41in.