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Alaska Stingy About Waiving Cancellation/Change Fees

Alaska Stingy About Waiving Cancellation/Change Fees

Old Jan 30, 19, 1:37 pm
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Alaska Stingy About Waiving Cancellation/Change Fees

I've had United and especially Delta waive cancellation or change fees more than one time as a goodwill gesture for award and reveue flights without having elite status, but Alaska never wanted to waive cancellation fees "as a one time goodwill gesture" for my award reservations since the elimination of cancellation/change fees 60 days before departure on award reservations.

I find this surprising given the fact that Alaska Air is portrayed as a customer friendly airlines. I find Delta more friendly in this regard and will keep that in mind for future revenue reservations.


What have been your exeriences guys ? Have you ever benefited from a waiver of cancellation fees as a goodwill gesture from Alaska (not because you have. MVP Gold status or are entitled to the waiver in some other wa)

Last edited by MasterGeek; Jan 30, 19 at 1:42 pm
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Old Jan 30, 19, 1:49 pm
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Sorry, but if you want waived change fees, you can earn them through MVP Gold status, which is much more generous and customer friendly than many of their competitor's programs which don't offer change fee waivers at even higher elite levels. You can also opt to purchase a refundable fare if you want that flexibility. I don't see this as particularly stingy - just the current state of the industry.

I've had Alaska waive a fee ONCE for extenuating circumstances years ago, but would never expect it. Have not had other airlines waive a fee ever that I can recall, other than for weather, or when fare rules permit it.
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Old Jan 30, 19, 1:49 pm
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Depends on the agent. You can try calling back and asking a different rep, but it's likely the first rep notated your account to say they wouldn't waive the fee.

It does sound like you feel entitled to a free change even though it is not AS policy.
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Old Jan 30, 19, 1:53 pm
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I don't feel entitled. I'm just saying Alaska is acting "hungry" as they are starving for money and are alienating customers and it will change my perception about the Airline
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Old Jan 30, 19, 1:58 pm
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The two times I've had change fees waived (and when I didn't have status): Bereavement and when the value of the fare was less than the change fee. For the second option, it was basically a situation where I would be better off paying for a $100 fare and abandoning my old ticket that required $125 to change.
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Old Jan 30, 19, 2:00 pm
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Originally Posted by MasterGeek View Post
I don't feel entitled. I'm just saying Alaska is acting "hungry" as they are starving for money and are alienating customers and it will change my perception about the Airline
I don't understand why you think they should waive it for you and not for everyone else. Are there extenuating circumstances?

I don't think that having a fee but waiving it for people who ask is good customer service. I prefer consistency. AS has lower change fees than other US based airlines. If prefer a lower change fee that's consistently enforced than a higher one that's enforced randomly based on the whim of an agent. Both make the same amount of money for the airline, but the former is more customer friendly IMO.
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Old Jan 30, 19, 2:19 pm
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I'm puzzled about what you want to achieve with the original question?

Are you trying to gather others' experiences so they can guess how often they'll be allowed to get an exception? The rules are called "rules" because they apply for most people in most situations.

Suppose people answered, "yes once in a while" what would you do with the info? Someone else couldn't likely reproduce your experience. And if "no, never" what then?

Exceptions are just that -- rare. Why are you consciously choosing to base your perception of the airline on exceptions?

The bank I go to says it's the most "community friendly bank" around. What do I care? I want the ATM to work and my cash to be where it says it is, not whether they give me a lollipop on the 1% of time I walk in for a special request.
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Old Jan 30, 19, 2:32 pm
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Originally Posted by MasterGeek View Post
I don't feel entitled. I'm just saying Alaska is acting "hungry" as they are starving for money and are alienating customers and it will change my perception about the Airline
Really do not see how Alaska is "starving" for money, still quite profitable. Maybe they should pull back that $120 million in bonus to employees.
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Old Jan 30, 19, 2:43 pm
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Originally Posted by MasterGeek View Post
I find Delta more friendly in this regard and will keep that in mind for future revenue reservations.
I'd probably do that, then. They are a fine airline. Have fun finding their award chart, though.
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Old Jan 30, 19, 3:23 pm
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As with any consumer choice, if OP believes that there is better value elsewhere, that is where he ought to go.

DL doesn't provide the fee waivers as a status benefit, while AS does. At some point, if everyone is special, then nobody is special.

I actually favor the approach of setting rules and sticking to them. Cut the change fee and enforce it across the board.
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Old Jan 30, 19, 3:45 pm
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Originally Posted by eponymous_coward View Post
I'd probably do that, then. They are a fine airline. Have fun finding their award chart, though.
Delta's not so bad. People laugh about the whole "Skypeso" thing but their international redemptions are in line with everyone else and they have TONS of availability. Round trip to Tokyo for 120k miles on Delta One is easy to find if you are willing to fly Tuesday-Thursday. Admittedly I love Tokyo and so I tend to judge award programs by how easy it is to get there (which is probably not a metric that makes sense for most people) but good luck finding anything other than AAnytime awards (at, maybe, 300-400k miles round trip) for AA Flagship First to just about anywhere TPAC or TATL.

I've yet to fly Delta One so I don't know how the product compares (I don't know if it should be considered "F" or "J") but I'm definitely keeping it in mind as a future option for awards. They can also be booked through VS which is a good option for people with UR pts (since everyone seems to have a CSR). Probably not as good as ANA, but, the wide open availability is a big plus.
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Old Jan 30, 19, 4:00 pm
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I've never paid a change fee on an AS flight, and I flew with them for years before figuring out the whole status thing. Most of the time, I didn't even need to ask for a waiver - just had a friendly conversation with the agent for 5 minutes, treated them as a person, etc. On the few times where I did need to ask, they were always happy to waive it.

Now, of course, I don't need to hope for this, but just my .02.
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Old Jan 30, 19, 4:05 pm
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Anything you hear from people relaying their own personal anecdotes is going to be very circumstantial evidence. We're simply not dealing with a high enough sample size of data even if we all pooled our shared experiences in this thread.

Sure, many FF'ers will have a handful of stories about any given airline about the time someone went above & beyond and waived a fee they didn't have to because it stands out in our mind. The dozens or hundreds of times things went by the book don't stand out so much.

You've had a few lucky attempts with Delta? Cool. You wanna play the hot hand? Go for it. I wouldn't expect anything you didn't pay for or earn though.
If an airline bends their rules that's nice, but if they don't... you can't exactly blame them for following the rules you agreed to.

There's a reason they sell flexible fares at a higher price - they expect you to pay.
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Old Jan 30, 19, 4:56 pm
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Originally Posted by MasterGeek View Post
I've had United and especially Delta waive cancellation or change fees more than one time as a goodwill gesture for award and reveue flights without having elite status, but Alaska never wanted to waive cancellation fees "as a one time goodwill gesture" for my award reservations since the elimination of cancellation/change fees 60 days before departure on award reservations.

I find this surprising given the fact that Alaska Air is portrayed as a customer friendly airlines. I find Delta more friendly in this regard and will keep that in mind for future revenue reservations.


What have been your exeriences guys ? Have you ever benefited from a waiver of cancellation fees as a goodwill gesture from Alaska (not because you have. MVP Gold status or are entitled to the waiver in some other wa)


Apparently it isn’t just a “one time goodwill gesture” as you have had this on both United and Delta previously. In addition your tremendous appreciation of United and Deltas customer friendly good will was disregarded when arranging and executing a non refundable ticket with Alaska.

Would these random gestures of good will based upon the whims of an agent or customer service agent actually be considered unfriendly to those who purchased a refundable or flexible ticket?

My loyalty to an airline and the airlines attempt to gain my loyalty are based upon mutual benefit that typically requires a relationship and thus the purpose of status elite to demonstrate a relationship before receiving benefits.
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Old Jan 30, 19, 5:14 pm
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Originally Posted by icelandman2 View Post
I've never paid a change fee on an AS flight, and I flew with them for years before figuring out the whole status thing. Most of the time, I didn't even need to ask for a waiver - just had a friendly conversation with the agent for 5 minutes, treated them as a person, etc. On the few times where I did need to ask, they were always happy to waive it.

Now, of course, I don't need to hope for this, but just my .02.
I'll try that friendly chitchat strategy next time I call. Thanks!
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