What airline has the best domestic first class in 2024? I rank them all!

What airline has the best domestic first class in 2024? I rank them all!

Ranking the top domestic first class products of all the airlines here in the US is a lot more difficult than it sounds. The truth is that most airlines are offering a pretty decent premium product these days, and it’s hard to poo-poo on any of them too heavily. That being said, here’s my list the best US first class experiences for 2024 (ranked from best to worst):

  1. JetBlue Mint
  2. American Airlines A321T Flagship First
  3. United Airlines domestic 777-200 first class
  4. Delta Air Lines A321neo first class
  5. United Airlines A321neo first class
  6. Hawaiian Airlines A321neo first class
  7. Breeze Airways A220-300 Ascent
  8. Spirit Airlines Big Front Seat
  9. Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 first class
  10. United Airlines 737 MAX 9 (and 8) first class

A closer look at the 10 best domestic first class products here in the United States (2024 version)

Wait! Before you shank me in the comment section for not ordering this list the way you like (or leaving something out), please keep in mind that:

  • When ranking these domestic first class products, the key word is domestic.
  • Internationally configured aircraft (airplanes which are used primarily on international routes) do not qualify for this list.
  • It’s my list and I can say what I want. Neener neener!

1. JetBlue Mint

Technically, JetBlue does not classify Mint as a first class product. They simply refer to it as a ‘premium’ seating option, which is being modest to say the least. Especially considering that (for example) the Frontier Airlines A320neo Stretch seat is classified as a ‘premium’ product as well. There’s simply no comparison.

SANspotter sanspotter sleeping in JetBlue mint seat
I couldn’t think of any better picture to demonstrate my love of JetBlue Mint. RIP SANspotter (in a good way).

JetBlue Mint is the equivalent of international business class on a domestic aircraft. The seats are very comfortable, the food is ‘international business class’ level, and it’s often priced far below what other airlines are charging for an inferior product on the same routes.

Jetblue mint lunch
JetBlue Mint fare. Slop. Rations. Vittles. Whatever you call it, it’s easily the best food you’ll ever be served in domestic first class.
JetBlue mint solo seat 4A
Seat 4A on the JetBlue A321. You know what? I could probably end this article right here, and I promise you that nothing better will appear as you keep scrolling!
  • Pro tip numero uno: If you’re traveling solo, book a seat in rows 2 or 4. These are the rows which feature the highly sought after (and fully enclosed) single suite. This is a very comfortable and private way to fly if you’re traveling without a companion.
  • Pro tip numero dos: JetBlue sometimes uses their internationally configured A321neo aircraft on domestic routes. Those aircraft feature the amazing JetBlue Mint Suites (which are even better than what you see in the pictures above). 

2. American Airlines A321T Flagship First

I can sense that many of you clenched your butt cheeks (hard) when seeing American Airlines listed as the second best domestic first class product in the United States. The truth is that their first class product on a majority of their narrowbody aircraft is straight-up disappointing (American Airlines A321neo first class is proof of that).

It’s their premium-heavy A321T aircraft which are worthy of being on this list. These aircraft, which primarily fly back-and-forth between the East and West Coasts, feature a international-quality life-flat first class product. Officially named American Airlines Flagship First Class, it’s quite comfy. And very private.

American A321T first class seats
THIS is why I am giving American Airlines the #2 spot in this list. If it wasn’t for this first class seat on their A321T’s, I can assure you that AA would be near bottom of this page (the part where nobody ever reaches).
American A321T first class food
Argue all you want about how much better this food looks compared to JetBlue Mint food. I cannot (and will not) retort.

3. United Airlines 777-200 first class (domestic)

God bless United Airlines for dedicating a portion of their Boeing 777-200 fleet for domestic use only. These are very densely-configured aircraft featuring only two classes of service (first class and economy). The best part? They don’t limit them to long-haul transcon routes like American Airlines does with their A321Ts. They’re everywhere – and it behooves you to nab a seat in first class on one of them whenever you can.

United Airlines domestic 777-200 first class backwards facing seats
United 777-200 domestic first class. You haven’t lived until you’ve gone lie-flat on a flight from Washington DC to Orlando!
United 777–200 Domestic First Class window seat access to aisle
The alternating rows of forward and backward facing seats is a bit awkward at first, but trust me – the stories you’ll be able to tell your friends (and colleagues) when you arrive in Orlando will be the hit of the evening.
United Airlines domestic first class breakfast frittata
Maybe don’t tell them about the food though. That can be your little secret.

4. Delta Air Lines A321neo first class

Say what you will about Delta Air Lines, but they seem to be trying. They aren’t perfect. No airline is. However, with the introduction of an all new domestic first class seat on their Airbus A321 aircraft, they are easily nipping at the heals of being cutting edge and trendsetting.

Delta A321neo first class
Delta A321neo first class isn’t quite as good as JetBlue Mint, but…it’s a great example of what ‘giving a damn’ looks like. 

Two reasons why Delta A321neo first class is #4 on this list (and not any higher):

  1. These are not lie flat seats. It’s just a standard recliner-style seat.
  2. The food is excellent – but not good enough to beat what you’ll get in JetBlue Mint or American Airlines Flagship First. See for yourself:
Delta domestic first class food
Delta domestic first class food is excellent. However, it needs to be ‘f***ing spectacular’ (as good as what you’ll get in JetBlue Mint) to get me to move them up any higher in this list.

5. United Airlines A321neo

Not to be outdone by Delta and their fancy pants A321neo first class seat, United offers a unique first class experience on their A321neo as well. It’s a bold departure from their current domestic first class seat, and a very exciting change for the brand as a whole.

United A321neo first class seats
Feast your eyes on the United A321neo first class seats. Nope, they’re not as swanky as what Delta is offering, but come on – it’s a huge improvement over the older style seats. 

These seats feature massive 13 inch 4K video displays, privacy screens, and USB-C power outlets. Unfortunately, the food (and onboard service) is the same ‘ol same ‘ol.

6. Hawaiian Airlines A321neo first class

The Hawaiian Airlines A321neo features a very nice (and highly competitive) first class product. No, it’s not it’s good as first class on their A330s, but remember – we are talking about domestic-only aircraft here.

Hawaiian Airlines A321neo first class
Hawaiian Airlines A321neo first class. It may not be the most comfortable seat you’ve ever sat in, but 1). it’s better than most other domestic US first class seats, and 2). you’re going to freaking Hawaii.

The reason why I like Hawaiian Airlines first class so much is because of the soft product. It’s the interaction with the cabin crew and the ambience of being onboard a Hawaiian Airlines aircraft which makes it so good (and different from everyone else). You’re essentially in Hawaii the moment you step onboard any Hawaiian Airlines flight. The sights, the sounds, the lingo, and even the food – it’s all very much Hawaiian.

Hawaiian Airlines first class food
With a twinge of coconut in every bite, Hawaiian Airlines first class food is decent(ish).
Hawaiian airlines onboard service
I hate to admit this out loud, but…even if Hawaiian Airlines didn’t have such great onboard service, I’d probably be just as happy sitting on a cinder block on a flight out to the islands.

7. Breeze Airways A220-300 Ascent

Breeze Airways is relatively new to the domestic first class game. They refer to their first class seats as the “Ascent” seats, and from what I’ve personally experienced, they do live up to their name. They are spacious, comfortable, and they feature neat perks such as tablet/device holders and leg rests.

Breeze Airways A220-300 first class
The Breeze Airways A220-300 Ascent experience is nice! So nice in fact, that they actually referred to these seats as the “Nicest” seats when they were first unveiled. #golfclap

It’s important to note that this is not a true first class experience IMHO. They aren’t serving food (other than snacks and drinks) at the time of this writing, and in-flight entertainment isn’t available on every aircraft (yet). Once they add more substantial food and consistent in-flight entertainment, I predict that I’ll be placing Breeze Airways higher in future versions of this list. 

Breeze Airways first class food
This is why Breeze Airways is so far down on this list. Chex Mix and a drink on a 5 hour flight across the country? C’mon man!

8. Spirit Airlines Big Front Seat

It’s a bit of a stretch to call the Spirit Airlines Big Front Seat ‘first class’, but I’m going to do it anyway. I mean, the seats themselves are just as nice (and comfortable) as any other recliner-style domestic US first class seat. The best part? It’s not that expensive! Being able to consistently nab one of these seats at a relatively low cost is why I didn’t rank it dead last.

Spirit Big Front Seat
Are the seats big? Definitely. Are they located at the front of the plane? You betcha. If anything, these are the most appropriately named first class seats in this entire list. Well done Spirit!

Where it gets a bit wishy-washy is the onboard service. Basically, nothing is free on Spirit Airlines. You’re going to have to shell out cash plastic for anything other than a cup of water, so be prepared to spend big bucks to silence a grumbling stomach. At least their onboard menu is decent – you’re not going to starve as long as you have the scratch to play by their stingy-*** rules.

Spirit Big Front Seat row 1 bulkhead
For the ultimate Big Front Seat experience, book a seat in row 1 (the bulkhead row). There’s nothing more baller than being the first on the entire airplane to get a cup of water.

9. Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 first class

Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 first class is good. It’s hardly anything that I would call amazing, but I usually find Alaska Airlines onboard service to be some of the friendliest in the sky. That (combined with a modern seat design) prevented me from placing them all the way at the bottom of this list (or leaving them off entirely).

Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 first class seat
Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 first class seats. I double dog dare you to read my Alaska Airlines 737-900 first class review, compare those seats to the ones to see here, and tell me that this isn’t a pretty sweet upgrade. 
Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 first class cabin
Yes, these are the exact same seats that you will find in Hawaiian Airlines A321neo first class. However, I can tell you from experience that they are a lot less nice when the plane you’re on isn’t headed to Hawaii.
Alaska Airlines Signature Fruit and Cheese Platter
I hope you’re not lactose intolerant (and diabetic), because fruit and cheese is arguably the best food you’re going to get Alaska Airlines first class these days. 

7. United Airlines 737 MAX 8/9 first class

For those of you who are sick and tired of the current state of United 737-800 first class (and the first class product of pretty much every other narrowbody UA aircraft sans the A321neo), I’ve got good news. There are better days on the horizon! For a much needed glimmer of hope, look no further than United 737 MAX 9 first class (and the MAX 8 too).

United 737 MAX 9 first class seats row 3 (seats A and B)
Finally! A United Airlines first class seat that won’t make you think of your grandparents!
United 737 MAX 9 first class crossed legs comfort
For the record, the first class seats on United 737 MAX aircraft are not United’s newest first class seat design (which just so happens to be in the glacially slow process of rolling out to all narrowbody aircraft types – except for the A321neo). But for now, I like it enough to include in this list.
United 737 MAX 9 first class in-flight entertainment Bluetooth headphone pairing
Bluetooth connectivity FTW! My only criticism of the in-flight entertainment system is that I have yet to find any Nickelback in any playlist the audio section. What’s up with that?

Final thoughts: Those of you who totally hate me for the way that I’ve ranked this list are probably not going to enjoy my list of the best domestic (US) airlines. You’ve been warned.

Comments (10)

  1. Beth Carter

    December 4, 2021
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      December 5, 2021
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    February 4, 2022
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      February 4, 2022
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    June 20, 2022
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      June 20, 2022
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    January 2, 2024
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        January 4, 2024

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