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Airlines offer discounted first class tickets

Wednesday - 6/4/2014, 1:20pm  ET

firstclass_ap.jpg
This combination of Associated Press file photos show, on the left, a first class interior section of a United Airlines 747 plane at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco in 2011, and on the right, the coach interior section of a JetBlue E190 plane at Seatac International Airport in Seattle, in 2008. (AP Photo/File)

WASHINGTON - Traveling in style isn't just for the rich or high-mileage business travelers any more.

This summer, flying first class may be a better deal for U.S. travelers.

Tom Parsons with BestFares.com tells WTOP that first class fares typically cover extra baggage, provide extra leg room and a wider seat, and include priority boarding - all perks that coach ticketholders must pay extra for. First class also provides meal service and free alcoholic beverages as an extra bonus.

"Instead of paying those extra fees, we're seeing airfares, especially into the Florida market, coming in around the $500 range. That gives you many perks," he says.

Airlines are offering the discounted premium tickets to destinations like Dallas, Orlando, Miami and Tampa plus the Midwest if travelers are willing to fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday, Parsons says.

Fewer of these discounted first class fares are available in July because it is a busy travel month for families. But first class may still be a better option if airlines charge higher rates so four family members can sit together, he says.

The premium discounts are available as far out as Oct. 13, Parsons says.

These discounted premium tickets generate revenue for the airlines, which would rather sell a $500 ticket than give an empty seat away to a frequent flyer. It also generates more revenue than selling a $250 economy-class ticket and then tacking on fees, he says.

BestFares.com offers pricing for economy, business class and first class. Select first class to find these deals, he says.

"If you want the luxury of taking a little anniversary ride and putting yourself in the front cabin and feel like you're something special, you worked hard this year, and for an extra few bucks ... that's the way you need to fly this summer," he says.

WTOP's Mark Lewis contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter and on Facebook.

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