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Details/Discussion of Saver (Basic Economy) "X" Fares

Details/Discussion of Saver (Basic Economy) "X" Fares

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Old May 11, 19, 6:58 am   -   Wikipost
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How are Saver fares different?

Saver fares do include some restrictions on booking, refunds, changes, and seat selection.

These restrictions include:
  • Limited seating may be available at the time of purchase. Most seats will be assigned at check-in.
  • We canít guarantee that parties of two or more will be seated together.
  • No refunds are allowed beyond the first 24 hours after ticketing.
  • No changes, including same-day confirmed changes, are allowed for Saver fares.
  • No standby is allowed for Saver fares, even for elite status guests.
  • If a guest is a no-show for any flight during a trip, all other flights within that trip are automatically canceled, with no refund available.
  • Saver fares cannot be combined with any other fare types on the same itinerary.
  • Saver fares are non-transferable.

Elite status benefits you do get when you buy a Saver Fare:
* Priority check-in
* Priority boarding group
* Baggage fee waiver
* Express security line at select airports (for MVPG+)
* Refreshments (alcoholic drink or chocolate for MVPG+)
* Complimentary inflight entertainment player - available on coast-to-coast and Hawaii flights (for MVPG75k, while they last)
* Bonus miles (by elite level)

Elite status benefits you don't get when you buy a Saver Fare:
* Access to preferred seating (certain seats behind Premium Class or in the exit rows)
* First Class upgrades, when available
* Premium Class upgrades, when available
* Waived change fees for MVPG+
* Complimentary same-day standby/flight changes for MVPG+

Full info here: https://www.alaskaair.com/content/tr...perience/saver
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Old Dec 30, 18, 9:23 am
  #466  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 16
Originally Posted by MJMLBBtoCPH View Post
sure, but usually I'm canceling the flight because I'm not going at all. Moving a flight around same day is typically no cost on AS (as MVPG) if there is seat availability and somewhat easier on WN (as an A-Lister) if you are simply wanting to fly standby on an earlier flight. And, if I am going on a different day, if it's that close in, I use air miles from a frequent flyer program to defray the cost (and am able to thus keep the funds for the cancelled ticket). The BE pricing has basically turned into a 30 dollar fare increase, and the fares that are now competitive with WN months out are now basically the BE prices. That was the point I was making. It makes it harder for me financially to justify flying AS as much as I currently do (though I still like the airline and its customer service).
Exactly. My primary route is (don't laugh) MFR-PDX, and I have been flying it enough to get MVPG on segments. But a $30 increase on a base fare of $100 for a single segment (QX is MFR-PDX, DL is MFR-SEA-PDX) means that it takes more than twice as much actual spend to get to any elite level on AS vs. DL. This has probably always been true, but as any pilot knows, any change in configuration can be dangerous, and AS just threw in a big change; enough to get me, at least, to look at alternatives.
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Old Dec 30, 18, 2:10 pm
  #467  
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Seattle
Programs: Alaska airlines
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Originally Posted by scfw0x0f View Post
Exactly. My primary route is (don't laugh) MFR-PDX, and I have been flying it enough to get MVPG on segments. But a $30 increase on a base fare of $100 for a single segment (QX is MFR-PDX, DL is MFR-SEA-PDX) means that it takes more than twice as much actual spend to get to any elite level on AS vs. DL. This has probably always been true, but as any pilot knows, any change in configuration can be dangerous, and AS just threw in a big change; enough to get me, at least, to look at alternatives.

The savers fare and conditions now match that of DL for SEA and MKE direct. The $30 savers to main is exactly the same as DL pricing format on this route. DL route uses an Embraer jet and thus always a window or aisle vs AS the savers fare is likely a middle. The pricing for the tickets class for class is virtually identical.

They still got me on AS as a 75K elite level status that permits me to select a PC seat immediately even when selecting the lowest non savers fair in main cabin. However for my family if not flying with me the savers fair on DL is now in play as it has better value than the savers fair for AS at the same price. Window or aisle in back beats middle seat in the back.

I warn AS to the fact that they as a smaller carrier with fewer destinations than DL must have a differentiation of service or quality that are meaningful in value in order to get loyalty. Being the EXACT same on price as DL for SEA to MKE route is not going to win over the larger market as the product is actually less value (again an embraer window or aisle only vs a center seat on a main line jet is NOT competitive for customer value equation).
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Old Dec 30, 18, 2:19 pm
  #468  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 4,116
Why as the AS saver fare likely a middle? That's not true at all.
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Old Dec 30, 18, 2:24 pm
  #469  
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Seattle
Programs: Alaska airlines
Posts: 141
[QUOTE=VegasGambler;30588918]Why as the AS saver fare likely a middle? That's not true at all.[/QUOTE

You are correct not an absolute certainty. But I guarantee that the delta flight at the EXACT same cost does not have a middle seat.

The possibility of a middle seat is certainly higher for those that donít get to choose seats as I would guess (certainly a presumption) that most who have the option do not select a center seat. Thus by inference the savers fair is more likely to be a center seat than all other fares in which a seat is selected immediately.
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Old Dec 30, 18, 2:49 pm
  #470  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 4,116
You are allowed to select a seat immediately when you buy a saver fare

You are limited to certain rows (near the back) but you may select any seat in one of those rows
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Old Dec 30, 18, 3:04 pm
  #471  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: British Columbia
Programs: AA, AS Gold 75K, BA, QF, SQ, Marriott Platinum Premiere
Posts: 2,251
Originally Posted by Xrayman View Post

[...]

I warn AS to the fact that they as a smaller carrier with fewer destinations than DL must have a differentiation of service or quality that are meaningful in value in order to get loyalty. Being the EXACT same on price as DL for SEA to MKE route is not going to win over the larger market as the product is actually less value (again an embraer window or aisle only vs a center seat on a main line jet is NOT competitive for customer value equation).
Does DL still give you priority boarding? Overhead bin access? A complimentary beverage? Full mileage flown EQM? 125% 75K bonus RDM?

James
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Old Dec 30, 18, 3:05 pm
  #472  
_fx
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Seattle
Programs: AS MVPG
Posts: 126
Originally Posted by scfw0x0f View Post
Exactly. My primary route is (don't laugh) MFR-PDX, and I have been flying it enough to get MVPG on segments. But a $30 increase on a base fare of $100 for a single segment (QX is MFR-PDX, DL is MFR-SEA-PDX) means that it takes more than twice as much actual spend to get to any elite level on AS vs. DL. This has probably always been true, but as any pilot knows, any change in configuration can be dangerous, and AS just threw in a big change; enough to get me, at least, to look at alternatives.
Most flights I've seen leave very few rows open for BE -- maybe 3-4. That's only 12-16 non-middle seats. So the statement "likely middle" seems reasonably accurate -- especially compared to DL 2-2 where you will *never* get middle.

Also, because all the selectable rows are in the back near the bathroom, even the aisle seats are less than desirable.
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Old Dec 30, 18, 3:52 pm
  #473  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
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Originally Posted by _fx View Post
Most flights I've seen leave very few rows open for BE -- maybe 3-4. That's only 12-16 non-middle seats. So the statement "likely middle" seems reasonably accurate -- especially compared to DL 2-2 where you will *never* get middle.

Also, because all the selectable rows are in the back near the bathroom, even the aisle seats are less than desirable.
The point is, the are entire rows. 1/3 of the seats are middle seats. There is no bias towards middle. As a solo traveler, avoiding middle should be no problem.

If you have no status, there is a very small difference in the seats available to you on saver vs main. Most of the decent rows are elite-only. You are going to get 15 (no recline) and the couple of rows behind emergency, in addition to the saver options.

For those with no status, saver looks pretty good, especially for fares that you would never change anyway (because they are cheaper than the change fee)
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Old Dec 30, 18, 4:54 pm
  #474  
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Seattle
Programs: Alaska airlines
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Originally Posted by Flying for Fun View Post
Does DL still give you priority boarding? Overhead bin access? A complimentary beverage? Full mileage flown EQM? 125% 75K bonus RDM?

James
does that matter to the general flyer with no status that donít get priority boarding, 125% mileage bonus a complimentary drink or chocolate and will still have to board last on either DL or AS. This flyer is solely purchasing based upon price. Both will charge them for bags. Although AS will guarantee that their bags will available within 20 minutes.
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Old Dec 30, 18, 5:02 pm
  #475  
nsx
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Originally Posted by Xrayman View Post
I warn AS to the fact that they as a smaller carrier with fewer destinations than DL must have a differentiation of service or quality that are meaningful in value in order to get loyalty.
Correct. An airline needs some advantage. Being inferior in some way but the same in every other way is a losing strategy.

Southwest once had an inferior product at a lower price. Now they have a superior product at a similar or even higher price, even though the product is almost the same as before.

I don't see how Basic Economy fares can possibly compete with Southwest sale fares for domestic customers. Basic Economy seems to be a short-sighted strategy which will cost airlines money for many years. Alienated customers will switch to Southwest's customer-friendly fares and rewards program. They will remain with Southwest until Southwest lets them down, which could be a very long time.
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Old Dec 30, 18, 5:12 pm
  #476  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: British Columbia
Programs: AA, AS Gold 75K, BA, QF, SQ, Marriott Platinum Premiere
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Originally Posted by Xrayman View Post

does that matter to the general flyer with no status that donít get priority boarding, 125% mileage bonus a complimentary drink or chocolate and will still have to board last on either DL or AS. This flyer is solely purchasing based upon price. Both will charge them for bags. Although AS will guarantee that their bags will available within 20 minutes.
You missed the point. OP is 75K and referenced SEA-MKE for his particular case and argued that with the equipment deployed, DL was favourable because there are no middle seats. Everyone fears the middle seat while mathematically, there is a 67% chance you will not get one if you purchase a Saver Fare.

James
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Old Dec 30, 18, 5:50 pm
  #477  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Berkeley, CA
Programs: AS MVP, HH Gold
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Originally Posted by Flying for Fun View Post
Everyone fears the middle seat while mathematically, there is a 67% chance you will not get one if you purchase a Saver Fare.
I'd argue the odds are lower (probably a lot lower) than 67%. Once the saver rows are filled, you don't get a seat assignment until it automatically given at T-24. Then, in all likelihood, most of the seats remaining are middle, unless it's an empty flight. The one variable is how the automatic seat assignment mechanism works at that point. Does it prioritize filling middle first (vs. something like back to front)? I'm not sure we will know that for sure until the first saver fares start flying?
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Old Dec 30, 18, 5:56 pm
  #478  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 4,116
Originally Posted by Flying for Fun View Post
You missed the point. OP is 75K and referenced SEA-MKE for his particular case and argued that with the equipment deployed, DL was favourable because there are no middle seats. Everyone fears the middle seat while mathematically, there is a 67% chance you will not get one if you purchase a Saver Fare.

James
You don't need to leave it to chance. You can check the seat map before you buy.

As a 75k, you give up a lot with saver, though. Whether that's worth the $30 is a personal decision. I'd pay the extra $30 to select the premium seat + the chance of an upgrade + the waived change fees. I would not be happy about it though.

If you are never going to buy up, then, the question becomes, how much is that status worth to you? You are getting the checked bags, priority boarding, and a 125% miles bonus. That's not much in the way of top tier status benefits.
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Old Dec 30, 18, 6:10 pm
  #479  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
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Originally Posted by FlyingBear View Post
I'd argue the odds are lower (probably a lot lower) than 67%. Once the saver rows are filled, you don't get a seat assignment until it automatically given at T-24. Then, in all likelihood, most of the seats remaining are middle, unless it's an empty flight. The one variable is how the automatic seat assignment mechanism works at that point. Does it prioritize filling middle first (vs. something like back to front)? I'm not sure we will know that for sure until the first saver fares start flying?
I agree with you that the odds are lower, but you don't get a seat assignment at T-24 if you don't already have one. Seats unavailable during purchase will be assigned by the gate, it's in the fine print:

https://www.alaskaair.com/content/tr...perience/saver
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Old Dec 30, 18, 6:20 pm
  #480  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Berkeley, CA
Programs: AS MVP, HH Gold
Posts: 805
Weird, so in the footnote to the table it says
  1. Seats unavailable during purchase will be assigned at the gate. This option is not recommended for parties of two or more.
But in the FAQ, it says
When will I be able to choose my seat?
In some cases, you will be able to choose your seat when booking directly at alaskaair.com. If seat selection isn’t available during purchase, or if you purchased your Saver fare ticket through a travel agency, you will be assigned a seat when you check in.

I saw the latter when I skimmed the page. I wonder if they have noticed this inconsistency in their site? Also wonder which one it is.

Funny aside. Since I've started flying Southwest again, I have it burned into my head that T-24 = check-in. My bad!
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