Alaska Airlines Offers Upgrades to Premium Economy, and Gets it Just Right

Alaska Airlines has opened up its Premium class cabin for loyalty upgrades, and done so in such a way that it both preserves the revenue value of First Class for last minute sales and ensures that more of its frequent flyers are satisfied.

It’s a clever balance which leaves the airline free to maximize revenue while offering loyalty customers an unexpected perk.

The airline says this approach offers its frequent flyer members access to 150 percent more upgrades.

“This will be especially beneficial to our most loyal customers,” said Ryan Butz, Alaska’s managing director of loyalty marketing. “Now our elite Mileage Plan members can enjoy one of their favourite benefits more frequently.”

Alaska offers different Premium Class configurations, in keeping with aircraft types.

Aircraft TypeFirst Class seatsPremium Class seatsMain Cabin seats
  • The airline’s 737-800, -900, and -900ER aircraft are being retrofitted with new seating.
  • All 737-800s and E175s will have Premium Class by Jan. 5
  • All 737-900/900ERs will be upgraded by the end of 2017.
  • Premium Class will also be available on E175 aircraft.

The following infographic from Alaska Airlines details the experiential features of the three cabin classes onboard. 


Alaska Airlines also offers a video tour of its Premium Class cabin.

Elite members of Alaska Airlines’ loyalty program will be automatically upgraded free of charge to First class and Premium class when available.

The airline is also making upgrades to Premium class available for purchase for a small fee ranging from $19 to $79, based on the length of the flight and availability.

Marisa Garcia

After working for sixteen years in aviation, specializing in aircraft interiors design and aviation safety equipment, and getting hands-on with aircraft cabins in hangars around the world, Marisa Garcia turned her expertise into industry insight. She has been reporting on aviation matters since 2014. Every day, she's putting words to work.

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