Is Alaska Airlines getting Premium Economy seats? Currently it is one of the few airlines that hasn’t started charging for premium economy seats (with extra legroom and other perks).
According to KUOW (Seattle’s NPR station), Alaska Airlines is planning on testing out a preferred seating program on some flights. During the 1st Quarter Earnings Call (which you can listen to here), Alaska Airlines Chief Revenue Officer Andrew Harrison spoke about the new seats early in the call:
And a follow up question was asked by Tom Banse of KUOW:
Alaska recently overhauled the interiors of their entire fleet with new seating that includes power outlets for each passenger. Harrison indicated that no changes will be made to the aircraft. Essentially that means that row 6 and the two exit rows will be the only options since those are the only rows with extra leg room. This means there will be 18 “preferred seats” per flight.
The preferred seats would also include a free drink and priority boarding.
The KUOW article reports that those with Mileage Plan status will still be able to pick these seats for free. I don’t know if that means you have to be MVP, MVP Gold, or Gold 75k to get these seats at no cost. Currently any one with status can reserve these seats at time of booking; however currently only Gold and above get a free drink.
If the preferred seats are not booked by MVPs (I can see there being some middle rows left), non-status passengers could pay for to “upgrade” at time of check in. The seats for will be $15-$50 depending on the flight length.
In reality, I don’t see this actually making much of a change. Usually row 6 and the exit rows are taken up by MVPs. MVPs also get priority boarding already. What it may add is a free drink for the lowest status tier passengers (MVP).
Those without status on Alaska may now have to pay for a seat with more legroom instead of getting it free (if there are any open) at time of check in.
H/T to Travel Skills
Alaska Airlines getting Premium Economy seats