In a recent data analysis conducted by travel specialists Upgraded Points, travelers gain valuable insights into the price differences for first-class tickets across four major airlines in the U.S. and twelve busy domestic flight routes. The study, which involved scrutinizing data from Google Flights, examined one-way ticket prices for both economy and first-class seats offered by Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines.

“While flying first-class may appear financially daunting, the undeniable advantages of additional legroom, preflight services, and complimentary drinks make it an enticing option. With an average premium of just $262.97 per one-way flight, this luxury might be more affordable than travelers anticipate,” said Alex Miller, founder of Upgraded Points in a press release.

To conduct the study, the company collected data from Google Flights. It focused on the twelve busiest domestic flight routes within the U.S. Data was gathered on the most economical one-way tickets for both economy and first-class seats from the aforementioned airlines over a span of seven days. The analysis encompassed peak and off-peak departure dates to provide a comprehensive representation of pricing trends. Airlines without first-class offerings or with insufficient data on the analyzed routes were excluded from the study.

Key Findings of the Study

  • Delta Air Lines emerged with the highest premium, charging $284.55 more for a one-way first-class ticket compared to the economy.
  • Alaska Airlines showcased significant differences in first-class ticket prices ($281.25). However, it compensated with distinctive amenities, such as providing food even on flights as short as 550 miles.
  • United Airlines offered an affordable upgrade to first class, with a price difference of approximately $250.23 between economy and first class.
  • American Airlines stood out as the most budget-friendly option, with a relatively smaller discrepancy between first-class and economy tickets ($235.85).

The Analysis Also Explored Specific Routes

  • New York (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX): Economy – $188.29, First-Class – $846.00 (Difference: $657.71)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Maui (OGG): Economy – $194.29, First-Class – $745.29 (Difference: $551)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to San Francisco (SFO): Economy – $94.73, First-Class – $187.45 (Difference: $92.71)
  • Las Vegas (LAS) to Los Angeles (LAX): Economy – $74.48, First-Class – $197.04 (Difference: $122.55)