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Alaska Airlines will add new premium class with more of the stuff that makes flying almost tolerable

Alaska Airlines will add new premium class with more of the stuff that makes flying almost tolerable
Alaska Airlines will add a premium class to its fleet, including these Boeing 737-800s. (Alaska Airlines)

Alaska Airlines plans to add a new premium class next year and is reducing the number of seats on some aircraft to make way for the roomier option.

The airline announced Thursday that premium-class fliers will enjoy 3 to 4 inches more legroom than that of standard coach seats. They'll also receive priority boarding.

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The airline said in a statement that it's responding to customers who say "more personal space and extra perks are a priority."

To add the new class, Alaska will retrofit as many as 60 planes with 12 to 30 premium-class seats. First-class and Preferred Plus seating (the latter referring to bulkhead and exit rows, which cost extra) will remain as options.

Flight attendant Jenn-Marie Mann shows how carry-on roller bags fit up on their sides in new larger luggage bins installed on an Alaska Airlines 737-900ER airplane.
Flight attendant Jenn-Marie Mann shows how carry-on roller bags fit up on their sides in new larger luggage bins installed on an Alaska Airlines 737-900ER airplane. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

For now, Alaska isn't saying how much more premium-class will cost or what "extra perks" it plans to offer fliers to lure them to spend more money on their airfare.

Elite members of the airline's free Mileage Plan program may receive a free upgrade to premium class, based on availability.

In July, Alaska announced that the Boeing Next-Generation 737 and 737 MAX planes will have roomier overhead bins that can hold almost 50% more luggage than standard bins.

The switch will boost the number of bags that fit in a bin from 117 to 174.

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