As an eternal economy passenger I am often tempted to upgrade to extra legroom and priority boarding seats for a fee but usually resist as the cost-to-value ratio doesn’t compute for me however that wasn’t the case on a recent Alaska Airlines Seattle – Edmonton flight as the Premium seats offer much comfort for not many dollars.

A regional jet built for short -haul hops, the Embraer 175’s is a  Brazilian-built jet featuring 76  seats in a two-by-two economy configuration with two seats on either side of a center aisle. Economy seats offer a 30-31 inch seat pitch  – the space between a point on one seat and the same point on the seat in front of it – while the Premium seats boast 34-inches with my seat in 6C feeling like it had an inch or two beyond that as there was acres of legroom.

photo by author 

photo by author 

I opted for the right-side 6C aisle seat as 6B can get bumped by passengers and crew thanks to the dog-leg in the aisle as it enters the economy cabin.

photo by author 

I confirmed my upgrade to a Premium seat for the 90-minute flight Seattle – Edmonton at time of online check-in for USD$29 or about CAD$40 and beyond the extra legroom, Premium seat passengers board earlier than other economy passengers in Group B. There’s a chart of Alaska Airline’s boarding groups here.  Premium passengers also enjoy a free snack but alas there’s no free cocktail as this flight is under the 2-hour minimum to earn that perk.

Premium seats offer the same seat width as all other economy class seats but on the E175 they’re 18 .25 inches wide compared to  just 17 inches on Alaska Airline’s Boeing 737 aircraft  and it’s this plus larger windows that makes the E175 a much more comfortable ride for me and why I opt for it whenever possible over a 737 or Bombardier regional jet.