I booked a flight from Santa Ana to San Jose to visit some friends in the Bay Area. Alaska had the cheapest flight and I really enjoy flying on the E175 so it was essentially a no brainer!

Then, the most interesting thing happened:

I was doing online check-in, ready to just get my boarding pass then BAM.

“Upgrades Available. First Class Starting at $31.18”

Shook. What do I do? 31 bucks is pretty cheap to upgrade from the Main Cabin to First! I know what you’re thinking, that flight is only like an hour! Believe me, there was a point where I was just going to press decline and keep my Main Cabin seat. But…I was flying alone and the 1-2 configuration in First was just too tempting to pass up versus the 2-2 configuration in the Main Cabin. A seat in 4A was available which is on the “1” side of the plane so I was sold!

Additionally, I was on the fence whether or not I wanted to check in my bag or not so I wouldn’t have to roll it across the terminal. With the upgrade to First you get 2 checked bags for free. Bags normally cost $30, so I checked in my bag to get my money’s worth!

Flight Details:

Alaska 3403 operated by SkyWest
Santa Ana (SNA) to San Jose (SJC)
Seat: 4A- First Class
Aircraft: Embraer 175

The Flight:

Unfortunately, boarding was delayed about 15 minutes as the inbound plane was late. But not to worry! We ended up making up some of the lost time in the air and still arrived on time! 🙂

I’ve previously flown on this aircraft just last year in Alaska Airlines First Class but I was in 2A, and this time I was in 4A. Again, I love having the 1-2 configuration in First because I love having both a window and aisle seat in the A side of the plane!

4A is just right in front of the first row of Premium Class, and there’s just a short curtain on top of your headrest separating the cabin. For that reason, I’d prefer 2A as there wouldn’t be two seats right behind yours.

With regards to the seat itself, the legroom is solid and has 42 inches of pitch. The tray table is located in the armrest, and there’s a small cup holder that pulls out from the other armrest.

Alaska Airlines First

Alaska Airlines First

There’s also a power plug located at the seat which comes in handy.

As expected when flying from John Wayne, the pilots warned everyone that it would be a steep and a bit uncomfortable takeoff due to the flying restrictions at John Wayne Airport. It wasn’t too bad, but of course much more of a vertical takeoff than normal.

In Flight Service:

Carrie was the flight attendant for the First Class Cabin and she was really nice. A beverage service was served right after takeoff and choices from the snack basket which were pretty decent. I opted for some chocolate covered pretzels and a trail mix. I was disappointed to see that the drinks were no longer served in glass! On my flight last September from San Jose to Los Angeles, it still had glass cups. 🙁

Before I knew it, we were already starting our initial descent into the San Jose area! Such a quick flight!

The Verdict:

Overall, it’s nice to have a direct aisle access seat and a window all in one on Alaska Airlines First Class! While the E175 First Class on Alaska is cool to have, it’s honestly not quite necessary for such a short one hour hop.


Would you have taken the $31.18 upgrade for Alaska Airlines First Class on the E175? Comment below!


Happy travels,