It seems easy, but it’s really hard to rank the best domestic first-class offerings offered by all US carriers. In actuality, it’s difficult to seriously criticize any of the major airlines these days because they all provide a respectable premium product. In light of that, I’ve compiled a list of the top first-class US experiences for 2024.
1. JetBlue Mint
Mint is not technically a first-class offering according to JetBlue. That is, to put it mildly, modestly described as a “premium” seating option. Particularly when the Frontier Airlines A320neo Stretch seat, for instance, is also categorized as a “premium” product. It’s just not comparable.
The equivalent of international business class on a domestic flight is JetBlue Mint. In addition to having extremely comfy seats and “international business class” quality cuisine, the prices are frequently significantly lower than those of other airlines operating the same routes but with worse service.
2. American Airlines A321T Flagship First
Upon reading that American Airlines is the second-best domestic first-class product in the US, I have a feeling that a lot of you clinched your butt cheeks. As seen by American Airlines’ A321neo first class, the company’s first-class offering on most of its narrowbody aircraft is, in fact, utterly dismal.
Their heavily branded A321T airplane is what makes them deserving of a spot on this list. These airplanes have a top-class life flat that is of international grade and are mostly used for back-and-forth travel between the East and West Coasts. It’s a comfortable cabin officially known as American Airlines Flagship First Class. and quite personal.
3. United Airlines 777-200 first class (domestic)
Thank God, United Airlines is using a part of their Boeing 777-200 fleet exclusively for domestic travel. There are only two service classes (economy and first class) aboard these extremely compact aircraft. What’s the best aspect? They are not restricted to long-haul transcontinental flights, like American Airlines’ A321Ts are. You should try to get a first-class seat on one of these whenever you can because they are all over the place.
4. Delta Air Lines A321neo first class
Criticize Delta Air Lines all you want, but at least they appear to be trying. They aren’t faultless. Not one airline is. But now that they have a brand-new first-class seat available domestically on their Airbus A321, they are rapidly catching up to being innovative and trailblazing.
5. The United Airlines A321neo
Aiming to match Delta’s luxurious A321neo first-class seat, United just showcased its brand-new first-class seat. It’s a dramatic shift from their present domestic first-class seat and a highly anticipated move for the brand overall.
6. Hawaiian Airlines’ first-class A321neo
A very fine (and fiercely competitive) first-class product is offered by Hawaiian Airlines A321neo. Granted, first class on their A330s isn’t as fantastic, but keep in mind that we are discussing domestic flights here.
It’s the soft stuff that makes Hawaiian Airlines First Class so appealing to me. What makes it so great (and unique from everyone else) is the interaction with the cabin crew and the atmosphere of being on a Hawaiian Airlines aircraft. Almost immediately upon boarding any Hawaiian Airlines flight, you find yourself in Hawaii. Everything about Hawaii is distinctive, including the views, sounds, language, and even cuisine.
7. Breeze Airways A220-300 Ascent
In the domestic first-class market, Breeze Airways is quite new. The first-class seats they provide are called the “Ascent” seats, and according to my observations, they truly do live up to their moniker. They have convenient features like leg rests and tablet/device holders, and they are roomy and comfy.
It is noteworthy that this, in my opinion, is not a truly first-class experience. As of the publishing of this article, they are only serving drinks and snacks; not all airplanes have in-flight entertainment yet. In the future, I think I’ll be ranking Breeze Airways higher on this list if they start providing more substantial food and reliable in-flight entertainment.
8. Big Front Seat on Spirit Airlines
I’m going to refer to the Spirit Airlines Big Front Seat as “first class” even if it’s a bit of a stretch. The chairs themselves are pretty much on par with any other domestic US first-class recliner, in terms of quality and comfort. What’s the best aspect? It isn’t very pricey! I didn’t place it dead last because it’s consistently possible to get one of these chairs for a reasonable price.
The onboard service is where it becomes a little ambiguous. On Spirit Airlines, there are essentially no freebies. Be ready to spend a lot of money to satisfy your rumbling stomach because you will have to pay with plastic for anything more than a cup of water. As long as you have the scratch to play by their tight policies, at least their onboard meal is decent and you won’t go hungry.
9. Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 first class
Excellent first class on Alaska Airlines’ 737 MAX 9. Although I wouldn’t describe it as exceptional, I typically think that Alaska Airlines offers some of the most amiable in-flight service. That and a contemporary seat design kept me from putting them at the bottom of the list or excluding them completely.
10. United Airlines first class 737 MAX 8/9
I have good news for all of you who have had enough of the first-class United 737-800s and pretty much every other narrowbody UA aircraft up until the A321neo. The days ahead will be better! Look no further than United’s first-class 737 MAX 9 (and the MAX 8 too) for a much-needed dose of hope.