Airlines usually price domestic first class similar to international business/first class, so they are very expensive and as a result few people buy them. However, recently I have noticed the decrease of discounted first class prices, and in some cases it makes more sense to buy them rather than economy tickets.
Take a look at an example below:
My client is an infrequent traveler, she has no status with Delta and she will check 2 bags. If she goes with an economy ticket, she would have to pay $197 + $60 (checked bag fee) =$257. The $20 difference for a first class seat, 3 free checked bags and SkyPriority is a real bargain. To make the deal even sweeter, the price of the ticket dropped $30 when I booked it (the first time in my life that I am happy with the infamous: "we're sorry, your fare is not available"). Final price: $243.
Here's another example:
Similar to the previous example, the difference for her between the economy and first class fare is only $20 . What a deal!
So if you are booking your holiday travel, don't forget to take a look at these discounted tickets. A little extra $10-20 can save your sanity during this crazy travel time.
While these fares are not available in every market, the trend of the industry is going toward this model and in my opinion it makes total sense. However, it also raises a question: why would I be loyal with an airline if I can find these cheap first class tickets? Upgrades after all are the biggest perk of frequent flyer programs, and these cheap tickets will soon take over all the upgrades. But hey, if it keeps the airlines profitable, I totally would support it and I may look into buying a first class ticket soon and not have to worry about the upgrade list.
Finally, this video sums up everything quite nicely: