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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 Feb 26, 19, 7:25 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 can’t 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, 7:24 pm
  #481  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,438
Hi -

So if the AS X fare is the same as the WN WGA fare, then I guess I have to start flying WN again. Will they do a challenge or match of some kind for a 75K?
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Old Dec 30, 18, 7:37 pm
  #482  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: SFO
Programs: AS, UA, Marriott, Hyatt, TR Seven Stars
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Originally Posted by Orwaid View Post
Hi -

So if the AS X fare is the same as the WN WGA fare, then I guess I have to start flying WN again. Will they do a challenge or match of some kind for a 75K?
They will. They'll actually match any elite level to A-List. It's a match/challenge combo to extend the status, details here:

https://www.southwest.com/html/rapid...tus_match.html
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Old Dec 30, 18, 8:06 pm
  #483  
 
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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?
Good argument if there are more Saver fares purchased than Saver allocated seats prior to OLCI (if that is even possible) but conversely, your odds may go up if few are sold. I don't know that AS would be punative in only assiging middle seats on a light load. It would be counterproductive IMHO. We don't know the mechanics of how that would work.

From a revenue perspective, if there are 18-24 Saver allocated seats and they are all spoken for, why not just stop selling Saver altogether?

James
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Old Dec 30, 18, 8:45 pm
  #484  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
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There are no "odds" here. You can pick your seats before you pay. If there aren't seats that you like then don't buy, or switch to a main fare, or whatever.

As a non-elite, it's possible that there are no seats available for selection on main fare too. Technically it's even possible as an elite (though, way less likely)

Saver fares have advance purchase requirements, and they have lower fare classes as underlying fares, which means that when the flight starts to get full, you can't buy saver any more. Also, usually, a lot of middle seats are selected while there are still windows and aisles left (since companions usually like to sit beside each other) so, most of the time, when buying a saver fare as a solo traveler, you will be able to select a window or aisle seat near the back of the plane.
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Old Dec 30, 18, 8:52 pm
  #485  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Berkeley, CA
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Originally Posted by Flying for Fun View Post
Good argument if there are more Saver fares purchased than Saver allocated seats prior to OLCI (if that is even possible) but conversely, your odds may go up if few are sold. I don't know that AS would be punative in only assiging middle seats on a light load. It would be counterproductive IMHO. We don't know the mechanics of how that would work.

From a revenue perspective, if there are 18-24 Saver allocated seats and they are all spoken for, why not just stop selling Saver altogether?

James
The worst seat first method is what I observed on Spirit flights when I booked for family and a comment in a recent TPG article I read on Frontier (https://thepointsguy.com/news/what-i...ontier-flight/). I'm not sure how the big 3 handle their seat selection. It would be customer-unfriendly for sure, but would encourage people to buy up if avoiding middle matters.

You are right that we won't know until it rolls out. It'll just take collection of data on here to establish patterns, so I hope people do report on their experiences. I also suspect that AS will make adjustments after the few weeks to months of Saver fares in the air. I think cutting out Saver after the seats are gone is not a bad approach. We'll see how it goes. I just hope they don't make so many adjustments that employees are left enforcing different iterations of the policy.
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Old Dec 30, 18, 8:52 pm
  #486  
_fx
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
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Customer goes to buy saver. All the pre-selectable saver seats are full, but the rest of the plane is not. Between now and departure, X of those remaining empty seats will be filled. Whether X will be enough to take all remaining window/aisle seats (and guarantee the customer a middle) is variable and depends on a lot of factors.

How is this not gambling/odds?
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Old Dec 30, 18, 9:12 pm
  #487  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
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Originally Posted by _fx View Post
Customer goes to buy saver. All the pre-selectable saver seats are full, but the rest of the plane is not. Between now and departure, X of those remaining empty seats will be filled. Whether X will be enough to take all remaining window/aisle seats (and guarantee the customer a middle) is variable and depends on a lot of factors.

How is this not gambling/odds?
That seems like an extremely unlikely scenario (for the reasons that I mentioned above). A lot of seats would have to be sold in relative cheap fare classes, fairly early (before the saver fares expire). That would be a revenue management failure (there should not be that much cheap fare class inventory for a flight that has that much demand).

I'm not saying that it's impossible, just that it seems unlikely. Usually, if a saver fare is available, you should be able to select a seat.

Far more likely is that a non-elite passenger runs into this situation buying a main cabin fare (since main cabin fares are sold down to the last seat -- even if a non elite buys full Y, there is still a huge portion of the plane that they can't select)
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Old Dec 30, 18, 9:12 pm
  #488  
 
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Originally Posted by Flying for Fun View Post

From a revenue perspective, if there are 18-24 Saver allocated seats and they are all spoken for, why not just stop selling Saver altogether?

James
Bcause the point of Saver isn’t to actually sell it, but to dangle a low fare in front of your nose when you search for the best fare on Kayak, and then switch you to a higher fare once you have realized that you perhaps do not want to play the seat lottery?
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Old Dec 30, 18, 9:18 pm
  #489  
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Seattle
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Originally Posted by _fx View Post
Customer goes to buy saver. All the pre-selectable saver seats are full, but the rest of the plane is not. Between now and departure, X of those remaining empty seats will be filled. Whether X will be enough to take all remaining window/aisle seats (and guarantee the customer a middle) is variable and depends on a lot of factors.

How is this not gambling/odds?

it would appear that there are subtle differences between the odds of something occurring (number of middle seats compared to non middle seats being a fixed number) vs the probability of having to sit in the middle seat and the actuality of having to sit in the middle seat. The actuality is dependent upon innumerable variables of which only a few simple variables would be how many seats sold, how many groups have multiple travelers willing or unwilling to be seated separately, companions that desire side by side seating as opposed to preference or willingness to have someone else sit in the middle seat between a traveling companion etc.

reality sucks when it’s “you “ who has to sit in the middle seat because you didn’t pay the $30 extra dollars for the “opportunity “ to have a better choice. But similar to going to a concert or broadway show, better seats and views typically are priced higher. The seat on the plane just like the concert ticket is a perishable commodity. Once the flight leaves the value to the company is essentially zero, thus the reasons for upgrades to build goodwill for “loyalty “ on an otherwise perishable commodity.
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Old Dec 30, 18, 9:31 pm
  #490  
 
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Originally Posted by notquiteaff View Post


Bcause the point of Saver isn’t to actually sell it, but to dangle a low fare in front of your nose when you search for the best fare on Kayak, and then switch you to a higher fare once you have realized that you perhaps do not want to play the seat lottery?
That seems to be true on other airlines, but not AS, because AS allows you to select a seat even with basic economy.

Honestly I don't think they have figured this out yet. Just like they launched saver with the across-the-board $30 buy-ups and then quickly made changes, I expect them to play with saver seat eligibility.

The way that they currently do it, though, there isn't much chance of being in this "lottery" situation.
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Old Dec 30, 18, 10:07 pm
  #491  
 
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
That seems to be true on other airlines, but not AS, because AS allows you to select a seat even with basic economy.

Honestly I don't think they have figured this out yet. Just like they launched saver with the across-the-board $30 buy-ups and then quickly made changes, I expect them to play with saver seat eligibility.

The way that they currently do it, though, there isn't much chance of being in this "lottery" situation.
So now you see how there are odds here, right? There is a chance (no matter how remote given a particular flight's loads) of being in this "lottery" situation. A game of chance is playing the odds, plain and simple.

I agree with you that they haven't figured this out, and just like other policies that have been implemented and then changed, it's sure to be confusing for the frontline employees, much less passengers.
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Old Dec 30, 18, 10:25 pm
  #492  
 
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Originally Posted by notquiteaff View Post


Bcause the point of Saver isn’t to actually sell it, but to dangle a low fare in front of your nose when you search for the best fare on Kayak, and then switch you to a higher fare once you have realized that you perhaps do not want to play the seat lottery?
Precisely, hence why I have called it a fare increase all along while arguing that elites aren't having to pay extra for their benefits. The differential is more pronounced on short-haul flights in competitive markets. $59 SEA-SFO fares are not money makers, $89 (still ridiculously inexpensive) may be more in the ball park. While that represents a 50% increase in fare in that specific market, would everyone feel better if they just increased fares 33% from $59 to $79 and left the rest in place while alienating price sensitive consumers?

If I was in SEA and wanted to head down to SFO for Lunch at TIN I don't see a problem with a Saver fare for myself. It is only a couple of hours. I still get to board early, access to overhead bins, I don't have to pay for checked bags, I will still get a drink, Full EQM and 125% RDM Bonus. Overall, I think AS is being quite generous for Elites choosing Saver Fares. If upgrades are looking grim the only other benefit I would be giving up would be a seat selection. I am not sure paying $30 to preserve $60 value is efficient.

Maybe I will spend a day flying up & down the West Coast in a week or two on Saver only fares and see how it goes.

James
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Old Dec 30, 18, 10:26 pm
  #493  
 
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Originally Posted by NoLaGent View Post
So now you see how there are odds here, right? There is a chance (no matter how remote given a particular flight's loads) of being in this "lottery" situation. A game of chance is playing the odds, plain and simple.
I think you are conflating two things here.

When you buy the ticket, you know, with 100% certaintly, whether you can select a seat. Yes, there is a chance that when your go to buy your ticket, you won't be able to select a seat, but you know this information before you make your purchase. There is no playing the lottery here (unless you are allowed to buy your lottery tickets after the winning numbers have already been announced). Also, this is true for all tickets and has nothing to do with saver.

In fact, the easiest way to end up in this situation is not to buy a saver fare, but to buy a full-fare ticket very close in as a non elite on a very full flight on an elite heavy route (it's likely that at that time, there are no non-elite-eligible seats available to be selected).
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Old Dec 30, 18, 10:26 pm
  #494  
_fx
 
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
That seems like an extremely unlikely scenario (for the reasons that I mentioned above). A lot of seats would have to be sold in relative cheap fare classes, fairly early (before the saver fares expire). That would be a revenue management failure (there should not be that much cheap fare class inventory for a flight that has that much demand).
Why wouldn't they just increase the cost of the saver fares in response to demand?
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Old Dec 30, 18, 10:46 pm
  #495  
 
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Originally Posted by Flying for Fun View Post
Maybe I will spend a day flying up & down the West Coast in a week or two on Saver only fares and see how it goes.
Kind of like that idea. It would be fun to get a bunch of us to have a discussion about this on day of Alaska MR's on Saver Fares. Time for an Alaska SEA or SFO DO?
(Sorry for the tangential nature of this post.)
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