Alaska Airlines has built a reputation on passenger-friendly policies around booking fees, no-penalty flight itinerary changes, and generous price guarantees. But the airline recently announced that it plans on discontinuing many of these policies in search of higher revenues in a competitive market.
Alaska Airlines has followed the lead of other carriers this year in dropping many of the customer-focused features that made it a favorite amongst travelers. Travelpulse reports that the airline plans on creating a tier of discounted basic economy seats called “Saver Fares,” which will include none of the perks that other ticketholders enjoy. Saver Fare fliers will not be able to change or cancel their tickets, nor will they be able to upgrade their seats (which are, of course, located in the very back of the plane). Alaska also announced in April that it will start adjusting prices for Premium Economy in real time, according to market conditions.
Passengers who might opt to buy a better seat will soon see an additional fee charged for the exit row, and Alaska has already ended its previously generous policy of allowing free ticket changes made at least 60 days before departure. Only its MVP Gold and 75k members will be exempt from the new fee.
Finally, travelers will soon need to say goodbye to Alaska’s price guarantee policy, which allowed passengers who bought their fares directly from Alaska and later found a lower price on that fare to claim a credit for the difference from the airline. This change goes into effect on September 1, leaving Southwest the only remaining U.S. carrier to offer a reduced price guarantee.
Between the Saver Fares and other changes, Alaska is expected to bring in over $150 million in additional revenue next year.