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-   -   Details/Discussion of Saver (Basic Economy) "X" Fares (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/alaska-airlines-mileage-plan/1931311-details-discussion-saver-basic-economy-x-fares.html)

missamo80 Sep 18, 18 4:29 pm

Details/Discussion of Saver (Basic Economy) "X" Fares
 
https://www.thisisinsider.com/alaska...-united-2018-9


"I think for us, it starts with a product that's more generous than our competitors have, you earn miles, you can bring a carry-on bag, "Alaska Airlines managing director of marketing and advertising, Natalie Bowman told Business Insider.

Saver Fare passengers can also pre-select seats, a feature other airlines do not offer when flying on basic economy. On the downside, passengers traveling on the discount fare will be relegated to the back of the cabin and in all-likelihood a middle seat.
No mention of whether the fares will be upgrade eligible. And of course the article claims this is all about targeting the price conscious customer, when really it's just the same price as the old lowest regular economy fares with fewer things included, as a mechanism to extract revenue from customers who pay to avoid it.

Neil

s0ssos Sep 18, 18 4:32 pm

Wonder if this will be the last straw. They are already more expensive and have no network to rely on in IRROPS.

PVDtoDEL Sep 18, 18 6:11 pm

If you can select a seat, earn miles, and bring a carryon bag, then what exactly is different between this product and normal economy? :confused:

Often1 Sep 18, 18 6:37 pm


Originally Posted by PVDtoDEL (Post 30219027)
If you can select a seat, earn miles, and bring a carryon bag, then what exactly is different between this product and normal economy? :confused:

Likely two things people really care about, e.g. middle seats in the rear and wholly inflexible, e.g. have to buy a new ticket if you need to make a change.

The former is the same as no seat selection, it simply gives the passenger the illusion of selecting from the worst seats. The latter is a cash cow for the carrier.

flyingstudent Sep 18, 18 6:38 pm

Probably no changes allowed, no same day standby, board last, and perhaps no elite upgrades to premium/first.

missamo80 Sep 18, 18 6:53 pm

They didn't say *how many* miles you earn for this. It could be 25% of the normal amount of miles for that flight and it would still qualify as "earning miles". Also you presumably board last which means even if you are allowed a carry on the only one you'd likely be able to reasonably get on board is one that fits under the seat in front of you.

Neil

alphaeagle Sep 18, 18 8:55 pm

I don't get why you'd likely end up in the middle if you can select a seat. Are they planning on blocking most seats, so you can only choose mostly middles towards the back? Not sure why that would be any better than not being able to choose seats ahead of time at all. You choose seats ahead of time so you don't end up in the middle.

This will likely hurt elites the most. As a Gold I'll probably be getting very little benefits with basic economy tickets. So the option would be to pay more, or end up being a de facto non-elite. Doubt these will allow changes or upgrades.

missamo80 Sep 18, 18 9:18 pm


Originally Posted by alphaeagle (Post 30219525)
Are they planning on blocking most seats, so you can only choose mostly middles towards the back?

Yes.

As a Gold I'll probably be getting very little benefits with basic economy tickets. So the option would be to pay more, or end up being a de facto non-elite.
This is exactly the point to these fares. They aren't lower fares. They are the same price fares with fewer benefits that make people like you and me pay more to avoid them.

Neil

StrandedinLA Sep 18, 18 10:09 pm

I'm pretty sure my work makes me buy the cheapest fare. Thanks, Alaska.

I see the logic though. Last minute fares cost most (wait, do they?) and often get worst seat.

With this and the post 60 day change cancellation, it becomes hatder to find much to like in Alaska other than their network from Seattle. And Delta is catching up.

chrisl137 Sep 18, 18 11:33 pm


Originally Posted by s0ssos (Post 30218763)
They are already more expensive and have no network to rely on in IRROPS.

Last transcon I bought for work, AS was cheaper than UA (our preferred carrier, where we get discounts) so they booked my requested AS flights.

Generally they seem to be competitive when I'm buying tickets, at least on the routes and times I'm flying.

PV_Premier Sep 18, 18 11:34 pm


Originally Posted by alphaeagle (Post 30219525)
I don't get why you'd likely end up in the middle if you can select a seat. Are they planning on blocking most seats, so you can only choose mostly middles towards the back? Not sure why that would be any better than not being able to choose seats ahead of time at all. You choose seats ahead of time so you don't end up in the middle.

This will likely hurt elites the most. As a Gold I'll probably be getting very little benefits with basic economy tickets. So the option would be to pay more, or end up being a de facto non-elite. Doubt these will allow changes or upgrades.

perhaps seat selection will only be from OLCI inside T-24, and BE fares will be restricted to seats behind the exit rows. so you get to choose versus them choosing for you, but the choices won't be great.

i am confident the mileage earning will be <100%.

regarding employer purchases, my employer's travel portal blocks basic economy fares. there are plenty of times they are offered by Delta, but the lowest fare returned by our portal is the lowest main cabin fare with normal privileges. from what i have heard many employers who use travel portals have instilled this logic in their searches/booking rules.

chrisl137 Sep 18, 18 11:43 pm


Originally Posted by PV_Premier (Post 30219928)
regarding employer purchases, my employer's travel portal blocks basic economy fares. there are plenty of times they are offered by Delta, but the lowest fare returned by our portal is the lowest main cabin fare with normal privileges. from what i have heard many employers who use travel portals have instilled this logic in their searches/booking rules.

I have someone else deal with Concur for me, but I think ours blocks BE. At any rate, we make enough changes that they don't buy us BE fares - I had a couple straight years where I don't think I flew a single itinerary as originally booked.

Gig103 Sep 19, 18 12:09 am


Originally Posted by alphaeagle (Post 30219525)
I don't get why you'd likely end up in the middle if you can select a seat. Are they planning on blocking most seats, so you can only choose mostly middles towards the back? Not sure why that would be any better than not being able to choose seats ahead of time at all. You choose seats ahead of time so you don't end up in the middle.

This will likely hurt elites the most. As a Gold I'll probably be getting very little benefits with basic economy tickets. So the option would be to pay more, or end up being a de facto non-elite. Doubt these will allow changes or upgrades.

Perhaps the difference (from the competition) is that elites would still see preferred seats?

CDKing Sep 19, 18 6:17 am


Originally Posted by PV_Premier (Post 30219928)
i am confident the mileage earning will be <100%.

I am confident thats coming to all fare classes soon other than refundable..

BearX220 Sep 19, 18 6:26 am


Originally Posted by missamo80 (Post 30219590)
This is exactly the point to these fares. They aren't lower fares. They are the same price fares with fewer benefits that make people like you and me pay more to avoid them.

The other carriers' BE programs have been Trojan Horse price hikes. They are not discounts against old economy fares, with less benefits. They are the old economy fares, with the benefits formerly associated with same now priced higher. Presumably AS will be no less disappointing.

sfozrhfco Sep 19, 18 8:13 am


Originally Posted by BearX220 (Post 30220718)
The other carriers' BE programs have been Trojan Horse price hikes. They are not discounts against old economy fares, with less benefits. They are the old economy fares, with the benefits formerly associated with same now priced higher. Presumably AS will be no less disappointing.

Isn’t that the whole point? Airlines figure a certain percentage of people will pay extra to avoid it and thus increase revenue overall. Whether in practice it is the cash cow they thought it would be is another story.

Often1 Sep 19, 18 8:36 am

Most employers have exempted BE fares from "lowest logical" policies and, if they use compliance software such as Concur, have programmed that accordingly. These fares are a terrible deal for businesses because, at least on the three legacies and we will have to see on AS -- the tickets are inflexible. Thus, if a trip is cancelled or changed, the ticket is worthless. One does not need to toss more than a ticket every year or two to make up whatever the scraps are in BE.

BE works well for carriers. Most passengers simply click on the cheapest fare and do not consider anything else. If AS provides middle seats only, most won't even know that there were available windows and aisles to have been had for a marginally more expensive fare.

It is all a race to the bottom. If one carrier prices $10-15 below the others, its tickets will show up as the cheapest. But, if everyone offers roughly the same BE ticket, it won't much matter.

For personal travel, this may be useful if one simply cannot afford the Y ticket and the small savings to BE makes the trip doable. But, the cheapest ticket is often not the least expensive ticket. People need to make changes and when they do, they get a rude surprise (they should not, but they do).

missamo80 Sep 19, 18 8:55 am


Originally Posted by Often1 (Post 30221169)
BE works well for carriers. Most passengers simply click on the cheapest fare and do not consider anything else. If AS provides middle seats only, most won't even know that there were available windows and aisles to have been had for a marginally more expensive fare.

I expect Alaska will go out of their way to make sure people buying these fares know they are stuck in a middle seat and for just a few bucks more can get a different fare that allows windows and aisles.

These fares aren't about offering cheaper flights for the flying public. They're about charging the same for less and enticing people to pay more to avoid the restrictions on the ticket.

Neil

BallardFlyer Sep 19, 18 9:00 am


Originally Posted by CDKing (Post 30220692)
I am confident thats coming to all fare classes soon other than refundable..

have they announced sub 100% on other rev fares is coming?

Often1 Sep 19, 18 9:02 am


Originally Posted by missamo80 (Post 30221259)
I expect Alaska will go out of their way to make sure people buying these fares know they are stuck in a middle seat and for just a few bucks more can get a different fare that allows windows and aisles.

These fares aren't about offering cheaper flights for the flying public. They're about charging the same for less and enticing people to pay more to avoid the restrictions on the ticket.

Neil

You would be surprised. All three of the legacies not only separate out BE from Y, PE, J, and F, but also require one to check a box before proceeding, acknowledging the specific limitation of the fares. People click through those things without looking. AS may or may not do the same thing, but it can't likely do more than AA, DL, and UA do now and the fares are wildly successful, to the extent that both DL and UA are expanding their use

chrisl137 Sep 19, 18 9:15 am


Originally Posted by Often1 (Post 30221291)
You would be surprised. All three of the legacies not only separate out BE from Y, PE, J, and F, but also require one to check a box before proceeding, acknowledging the specific limitation of the fares. People click through those things without looking. AS may or may not do the same thing, but it can't likely do more than AA, DL, and UA do now and the fares are wildly successful, to the extent that both DL and UA are expanding their use

If you buy tickets through an OTA it may be less obvious and less called out. I often do initial price comparisons through OTAs, and getting them to not show BE fares can be non-trivial. I habitually use Orbitz, but they're particularly bad about wanting to show nothing but BE, so I'm finally starting to use google flights for the comparison. I'm not sure if they make you acknowledge what a restricted ticket you're getting, because I buy personal tickets through the airline sites and have someone else do my tickets at work, but they aren't nearly as obvious as using the airline websites while you're searching.

BearX220 Sep 19, 18 9:35 am


Originally Posted by Often1 (Post 30221169)
...the cheapest ticket is often not the least expensive ticket. People need to make changes and when they do, they get a rude surprise.

A point lost on most casual buyers.


Originally Posted by Often1 (Post 30221291)
All three of the legacies not only separate out BE from Y, PE, J, and F, but also require one to check a box before proceeding, acknowledging the specific limitation of the fares.

OTA channels can be a good deal less explicit. Sometimes there is just a mystery icon, smaller than the price quote.

3Cforme Sep 19, 18 9:40 am


Originally Posted by chrisl137 (Post 30221329)
If you buy tickets through an OTA it may be less obvious and less called out. I often do initial price comparisons through OTAs, and getting them to not show BE fares can be non-trivial. I habitually use Orbitz...

It sounds like Orbitz serves you poorly. Continuing to use it is a market choice you make.

DG206 Sep 19, 18 9:55 am

If you are like me and get stuck on nothing but Q400's where every seat is terrible, Id gladly save a few bucks to not pre select a seat

Tracer_SEA Sep 19, 18 9:56 am


Originally Posted by Gig103 (Post 30220016)
Perhaps the difference (from the competition) is that elites would still see preferred seats?

What makes you think that? Elites are the demographic most likely/able to pay the "tax" to buy out of Basic and up to the higher fare to get their seat assignment and upgrade benefits

missamo80 Sep 19, 18 10:05 am


Originally Posted by Often1 (Post 30221291)
You would be surprised. All three of the legacies not only separate out BE from Y, PE, J, and F, but also require one to check a box before proceeding, acknowledging the specific limitation of the fares. People click through those things without looking. AS may or may not do the same thing, but it can't likely do more than AA, DL, and UA do now and the fares are wildly successful, to the extent that both DL and UA are expanding their use

Remember that "wildly successful" for these fares, as seen from the airline's perspective, isn't that people buy them often. It's that people pay more money to avoid them. They haven't been wildly successful everywhere either. United admitted they lost $100m because passengers simply booked elsewhere when they could get more benefits for the same amount of money by flying another airline. American had to relax their BE carry-on rules too because they were so restrictive people simply booked another airline at the same price with fewer restrictions instead of paying American the upcharge to avoid the restrictions.

Neil

bbison Sep 19, 18 10:27 am


Originally Posted by missamo80 (Post 30221259)
I expect Alaska will go out of their way to make sure people buying these fares know they are stuck in a middle seat and for just a few bucks more can get a different fare that allows windows and aisles.

These fares aren't about offering cheaper flights for the flying public. They're about charging the same for less and enticing people to pay more to avoid the restrictions on the ticket.

Neil

The problem is when "a few bucks more" went from $20-$30 to $75 to $200+. That's how I wound up flying AS more (and liking it) in the first place. UA N fares and (especially) AA B fares had significant discounts from their other Y buckets. Any AS economy fare was usually cheaper than non-basic economy on my routes. When that goes away, likely so will I, as AS isn't a preferred vendor.

channa Sep 19, 18 11:39 am


Originally Posted by Often1 (Post 30219111)
Likely two things people really care about, e.g. middle seats in the rear and wholly inflexible, e.g. have to buy a new ticket if you need to make a change.

If the fare is below the change fee, which it is in many cases, then this is already the case on traditional non-refundable fares.



Originally Posted by Often1 (Post 30221169)
Most employers have exempted BE fares from "lowest logical" policies and, if they use compliance software such as Concur, have programmed that accordingly. These fares are a terrible deal for businesses because, at least on the three legacies and we will have to see on AS -- the tickets are inflexible. Thus, if a trip is cancelled or changed, the ticket is worthless. One does not need to toss more than a ticket every year or two to make up whatever the scraps are in BE.

Part of the rationale these tickets are typically excluded is because of the restrictions. By including more than other carriers, AS may not be an exclusion here. This may help or harm them. If more people book them because they're lower, great. If people get creative and find ways to avoid them to get a better seat on someone else that is more restricted in the corp booking tools, this could harm them.


BE works well for carriers. Most passengers simply click on the cheapest fare and do not consider anything else. If AS provides middle seats only, most won't even know that there were available windows and aisles to have been had for a marginally more expensive fare.

It is all a race to the bottom. If one carrier prices $10-15 below the others, its tickets will show up as the cheapest. But, if everyone offers roughly the same BE ticket, it won't much matter.

For personal travel, this may be useful if one simply cannot afford the Y ticket and the small savings to BE makes the trip doable. But, the cheapest ticket is often not the least expensive ticket. People need to make changes and when they do, they get a rude surprise (they should not, but they do).[/QUOTE]

CDKing Sep 19, 18 11:58 am


Originally Posted by BallardFlyer (Post 30221282)


have they announced sub 100% on other rev fares is coming?

No but they have done it to all of their partners but Qantas. The first will be just this new "basic" but do you really think its stops there? I wish i had your optimism.

chrisl137 Sep 19, 18 12:21 pm


Originally Posted by 3Cforme (Post 30221434)
It sounds like Orbitz serves you poorly. Continuing to use it is a market choice you make.

I don't really use it for other than finding flights at the right times that I book elsewhere, since it did a decent job of that until the proliferation of BE.

Often1 Sep 19, 18 12:35 pm

There is a significant slice of the traveling public which simply abandons the residual credit from standard penalty tickets anyway. Either they don't travel enough, they forget or it is just to much of a hassle. Those people are attracted to the lowest fare. It is way overthinking things to believe that there are a lot of people who make a rational choice about these things.

Just look at the one-time wonder rants here on FT from people who bought a BE ticket, were forced to sit apart from somebody for a <2 hour flight and the carrier ruined their life because it would not force someone out of a seat to meet their needs. Or their dog ate a $5 winning lottery ticket and they are too upset to travel and can't understand why the carrier won't refund their BE ticket.

PV_Premier Sep 19, 18 1:42 pm


Originally Posted by Often1 (Post 30222247)
There is a significant slice of the traveling public which simply abandons the residual credit from standard penalty tickets anyway. Either they don't travel enough, they forget or it is just to much of a hassle. Those people are attracted to the lowest fare. It is way overthinking things to believe that there are a lot of people who make a rational choice about these things.

Just look at the one-time wonder rants here on FT from people who bought a BE ticket, were forced to sit apart from somebody for a <2 hour flight and the carrier ruined their life because it would not force someone out of a seat to meet their needs. Or their dog ate a $5 winning lottery ticket and they are too upset to travel and can't understand why the carrier won't refund their BE ticket.

was the dog an ESA?

notquiteaff Sep 19, 18 2:17 pm


Originally Posted by DG206 (Post 30221500)
If you are like me and get stuck on nothing but Q400's where every seat is terrible, Id gladly save a few bucks to not pre select a seat

You are not saving anything compared to what you pay today, though. Other than the time to actually select a seat, but you can always skip that.

Also, I am almost always able to get 1B, which I like (my wife grumbles in 1A but understands my desire for leg room).

DG206 Sep 19, 18 2:24 pm


Originally Posted by notquiteaff (Post 30222667)
Also, I am almost always able to get 1B, which I like (my wife grumbles in 1A but understands my desire for leg room).

Half the people don't close the door to the restroom when they're done. That seat stinks- literally

Often1 Sep 19, 18 4:02 pm


Originally Posted by notquiteaff (Post 30222667)
You are not saving anything compared to what you pay today, though. Other than the time to actually select a seat, but you can always skip that.

Also, I am almost always able to get 1B, which I like (my wife grumbles in 1A but understands my desire for leg room).

It does not matter whether your ticket tomorrow represents a savings over your ticket today.

All that matters is what a ticket costs tomorrow in BE and then plain old Y. The fact that carriers use BE not to cut fares, but to raise them is the subject of endless rants on FT, but carriers set prices based on what they can get today, not what they could get yesterday.

s0ssos Sep 19, 18 6:26 pm


Originally Posted by 3Cforme (Post 30221434)
It sounds like Orbitz serves you poorly. Continuing to use it is a market choice you make.

ITAMatrix also serves one poorly then. Don't know what google flights does as I hate the fact that google destroyed ITAMatrix so don't use it

s0ssos Sep 19, 18 6:28 pm

I wonder whether elites can change the BE tickets without a fee. None of the legacy airlines have that policy anyway, only Southwest (which doesn't have BE) and Jetblue (which also doesn't have BE)

jrl767 Sep 19, 18 7:39 pm

BE tix are essentially “use-or-lose” and cannot be changed at all ... but I would never be surprised to learn that, in some instances, a phone agent or airport counter agent might have waived that rule for an elite

notquiteaff Sep 19, 18 7:47 pm


Originally Posted by Often1 (Post 30223041)
It does not matter whether your ticket tomorrow represents a savings over your ticket today.

All that matters is what a ticket costs tomorrow in BE and then plain old Y. The fact that carriers use BE not to cut fares, but to raise them is the subject of endless rants on FT, but carriers set prices based on what they can get today, not what they could get yesterday.

If they didn’t think that they could earn overall more tomorrow than today (whether through add on fees or people opting to buy regular economy to avoid the restrictions), they presumably would not go through the trouble of creating them. Those cost of implementation and negative press isn’t exactly small.

And where does that extra revenue (and presumably profit) come from?

Of course, it is too simplistic to assume that every BE fare is exactly what the regular Economy fare would have been ... (or was)

The airlines might say they need these “lower” fares to better compete with no frills carriers. You know, to fill all those empty seats we see on the planes with more price sensitive travelers.

PV_Premier Sep 20, 18 12:14 am


Originally Posted by notquiteaff (Post 30223637)


If they didn’t think that they could earn overall more tomorrow than today (whether through add on fees or people opting to buy regular economy to avoid the restrictions), they presumably would not go through the trouble of creating them. Those cost of implementation and negative press isn’t exactly small.

And where does that extra revenue (and presumably profit) come from?

Of course, it is too simplistic to assume that every BE fare is exactly what the regular Economy fare would have been ... (or was)

The airlines might say they need these “lower” fares to better compete with no frills carriers. You know, to fill all those empty seats we see on the planes with more price sensitive travelers.

negative press has no consequence in a follow the leader world. Just look at what’s currently happening with the $5 bump in the bag fee you’ll pay on that BE ticket


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