Domino Effect: Alaska Airlines Follows Suit, Eliminates Change Fees

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The past 24 hours have been unique…at least for those of us that don’t always have straight forward, set-in-stone travel plans.

Yesterday, I wrote about how United Airlines eliminated change and standby fees. Overnight, both, Delta and American also announced they were eliminating change fees and American took it a step further by adding additional program changes.

ALASKA AIRLINES ELIMINATES CHANGE FEES (TOO)

Alaska Airlines has just released a statement that they are following in the steps of the big “US3” and eliminating change fees on all domestic AND international tickets.

If you’re not familiar with Alaska Airlines, they are a major American airline headquartered in Seattle, Washington and largely present on the west coast but in recent years have expanded to several cities on the east coast.

Alaska announced the changes apply to their entire network and to all ticket types except for Saver Tickets. For simplicity, Saver Tickets are Alaska Airlines’ Basic Economy.

Previously, Alaska’s change fee of $125 applied to all non-Saver travel, except for guests traveling on refundable tickets and Mileage Plan top elite status members.

If there is anything that you should know about Alaska Airlines, they have ~20% of the fleet size compared to their “US3” competitors and carry 47+ million passengers per year. Additionally, Alaska has loyal super-fans because of their elite perks which are second to no other airline! However, surprisingly, this change won’t mean much to their most loyal customers as the airline has always waived change fees for their most elite (MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K members).

ADDITIONAL CHANGES

Similar to other major airlines, Alaska Airlines is also extending its flexible travel policy for all new ticket purchases through December 31, 2020.

FINAL STAMP

…And just like that, change fees appear to be so 2019!

Although I am excited to see these ‘nickel and dime fees’ fall off the radar, it’s worth noting that Southwest has not charged a change fee in 50 years (also known as Transfarency), so I largely feel like this is a marketing ploy by the major airlines. The truth is they’ve been fleecing customers for a long time but I’ll be interested to see how these changes affect Southwest as that was a competitive advantage for the airline.

Southwest Airlines: Now that’s transfarency!

Are there any Alaska Airlines fans? What do you think about Alaska Airlines joining the “US3” with this change?

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