Earlier this year, Alaska Airlines was running fantastic first class fares between California and Texas. Now, Delta has started a battle with Alaska over first class passengers, across the western US.
The absolute best fares are actually cheaper than buying economy and checked bags. 2 bags round trip with Alaska or Delta are $140 ($30 first bag, $40 second bag).
Alaska Airlines routes with first class cheaper than economy + bags:
- Portland to Salt Lake City: $257 first class, $187 main cabin ($327 w/bags)
- Portland to Boise: $234 first class, $183 Boise ($323 w/bags)
- Oakland to Portland: $259 first class, $137 economy ($277 w/bags)
Delta Airlines routes with first class cheaper than economy + bags:
- Long Beach to Las Vegas: $197 first class, $107 economy ($247 w/bags)
- San Jose to Las Vegas: $255 first class, $183 economy ($323 w/bags)
- San Jose to Los Angeles: $215 first class, $150 economy ($290 w/bags)
- San Jose to Seattle: $225 first class, $117 economy ($257 w/bags)
- Seattle to Eugene: $197 first class, $105 economy ($245 w/bags)
There are also numerous first class routes with good prices that aren’t quite cheaper than economy and checked bags.
- San Diego to Los Angeles ($277) or El Paso ($239) Alaska
- Dallas to L.A. ($317) or San Francisco ($377) Alaska
- Portland to Fresno ($298) or Fresno ($297) Alaska
- San Jose to Salt Lake City ($315) Delta
- L.A. to Sacramento ($215) Delta
- Seattle to Salt Lake City ($277) Delta
These fares are widely available throughout January, February, and March. These are good options for families who may only want to pack a couple of bags; book 1 FC seat for the checked bags and 1 parent to get some comfort and rest. You can also earn miles towards great Singapore Airlines or Cathay Pacific award redemptions.
Alaska first class is a roomy 40″ pitch between rows, and includes lounge access at LAX, Seattle, and Portland. Delta’s domestic first class doesn’t have lounge access, but does include similar pitch and extra recline.
Fare prices have been jumping around all week, so I wouldn’t expect the best fares to last. To find them, search “business class” fares on Google Flights, or “first class” on Orbitz, Expedia, and other online travel agencies (OTAs). Either way, search quickly before these deals disappear.
Points With a Crew has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Points With a Crew and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. Other links on this page may also pay me a commission - as always, thanks for your support if you use them
I’ve never paid a bag fee and hopefully never will. However, I would still buy the first class fare in this situation.
Many of these routes overlap with Southwest, where the bags are already free. But a few dollars extra for 1st class seat for an hour might be still interesting.
Some of those economy fares look high. SJC-LAX and OAK-LAX is typically at most $64 (basic economy) if you book in advance; I’ve never paid more than $49 on that route. (Lowest I’ve paid is $29 on Alaska.)
I didn’t compare to BE to have apples to apples comparisons with bags and seat choice (some routes didn’t have BE on sale). Each main cabin economy price listed was from a US major or AS fare, usually the exact carrier with the first class fare. The price was compared to at least 1 date with the lowest first class fare. You may be able to get better fares with BE or a low-cost carrier, but that requires more fees on the back end.
SD to LA would be an AA codeshare, not Alaska.
Thanks for the heads u!
AS has offered very competitive and lower first class fares on the LAX-DAL route for some months now – below what AA and DL offer in first class LAX-DFW.
Yeah, they actually had it with AUS as well, but that seems dead for now. The best deal was to Kansas City right before they killed that route.