Alaska announced some fee changes today for tickets purchased on or after October 30, 2013, and I actually think they’re not giving themselves enough credit.
The bad news is that they’re increasing the cost of checked bags.
The old checked bag fees were as follows:
While the checked bag fees for tickets purchased on or after October 30, 2013, are as follows:
So basically they’re increasing the cost of the first and second checked bag by $5, the cost of the third checked bag by $55, and the cost of each additional checked bag by $25. No one likes that.
However, they’re also adjusting the change fees for tickets purchased on or after October 30, 2013. Currently the fee is $75 if made online or $100 if made by phone. Under the new system the fee is $125, regardless of whether it’s made online or by phone. However, they’re now waiving the change and cancellation fees for changes made at least 60 days prior to departure.
While I don’t like the fees going up, Alaska is still charging much less for changes than the legacies, which now all charge $200 for changing a domestic ticket. And their change makes sense, which I appreciate. I think one of the major frustrations people have with huge change fees is that if you book a ticket 11 months out and cancel it 10 months out, the airline isn’t actually incurring any costs and they’ll be able to sell that seat again, so what are you really paying $200 for?
However, as the departure date approaches the cost of a canceled seat goes up, as the airlines may not be able to resell it, at least not anywhere close to the price it originally sold at. So there potentially is a cost to cancellations close to departure. I actually think Alaska isn’t doing themselves justice here, as the headline for the changes is “Change/Cancellation Fee Increase.” Frankly I think the adjustment in change fees is neutral at worst, and they’re being unnecessarily hard on themselves. They should learn a trick or two from the Delta playbook. 😉
Changes and cancellations continue to be free for MVP Gold passengers, which remains one of my favorite MVP Gold perks.
Again, I don’t like increased fees, but at the same time I can appreciate if they’re structured in a way I can follow.
(Tip of the hat to Allison)