I’ll be the first to admit that I much prefer to fly in First Class, but when that upgrade doesn’t come through I want my ride in economy to be the best it can be. Usually, we get seats in the Exit Row and then hope for the upgrade. However, Alaska has a new scheme to make the first 3-5 rows in economy a new class of service known as Premium Economy. Alaska’s version (several airlines have started a similar class of service) comes with four more inches of legroom, a snack box and a free drink. How did Alaska get all that extra legroom? By eliminating the fourth row of First Class. They also used this space to add four more inches to each First Class seat which I am not convinced they needed.
On our recent mileage run, my wife was upgraded on all seven legs and I almost did as well (six legs), but just missed the cut on our first leg, DCA-LAX, and got to try this new class of service. I was very curious how it would turn out so wasn’t that disappointed on not getting upgraded – at least for one flight. Here are photos showing the difference in leg room. Keep in mind that I am six feet tall so extra legroom is always a good thing.
From these shots, I think how you can see the first few rows are further apart. The other shot shows the Premium Economy row across from me. I think you can really see the extra legroom there.
Here is a comparison of legroom showing regular economy first, then Premium Economy and finally First Class.
And if you think the legroom in First Class is huge you are absolutely right. Frankly, more space than anyone needs.
Here is a shot of my wife in the first row. She used to be able to reach the bulkhead with her feet, but not any more.
What about that snack box and drink? Well, as an MVPGold I have always had a benefit of a free drink, but I was looking forward to the snack box. I was pretty surprised to receive what I am sure is the world’ smallest snack box. I opened it up to show it had almonds, Craisins, and a square of dark chocolate. OK, better than a poke in the eye, but really disappointing that this is all the snack box amounts to.
I was next on the list for an upgrade, so if Alaska still had four rows of First, I would have been sitting in a comfy seat with a decent meal instead of what you see above. However, it looks like a good deal if you are the lowest tier elite and rarely make the cut off list for an upgrade. This was you get some extra legroom and other benefits. Let me know if you get a chance to experience this and what you think of airlines inventing this new class of service.