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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.

Delta domestic first class, from Delta.com

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

Delta A321 from Delta.com

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.

Alaska first class, courtesy of Alaskaair.com

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.


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