Alaska mostly increases fees… I give them kudos!

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:

Alaska_Old_Fees

While the checked bag fees for tickets purchased on or after October 30, 2013, are as follows:

Alaska_New_Fees

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. šŸ˜‰

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)

Comments

  1. lucky, you seemed to have grown quite a liking to Alaska lately. last year, they couldn’t no anything right (they were the most weird airline, companion pass devaluation, etc).
    does EK redemptions have anything to do with it šŸ™‚

  2. @ T3pleShot — Hah, maybe I’m not expressing myself properly, because my thoughts on them haven’t changed on bit.

    I still find them bizarre, I still think I’m getting on a bus every time I step on an Alaska plane, and I still think their first class product makes that of the legacies look good.

    But they’re also extremely reliable and consistent, and have a good mileage program. So it’s not that I love the airline as such, I just think they’re really strong with their core competencies.

  3. @ Wandering Aramean — I said the increase in baggage fees sucks. I don’t like that change at all. But purely in terms of the adjustments to change fees, I think that’s a wash.

  4. So you think higher bag fees, which affect far more customers, are OK because a few will get away with lower change fees in some scenarios and much higher change fees in others?

    Something about that math doesn’t add up to me.

  5. I flew AS in first ANC-SEA last week. Champagne was available, the lunch was good, and the hand-held digiplayers had good material. No complaints!

  6. @ Wandering Aramean — Apparently I wasn’t clear:
    — The increase in bag fees sucks
    — Looking only at the adjustment in change fees, I think they’re a wash

    On the whole this is a negative change because of the increase in bag fees. But I’m looking at the two changes individually, since either could occur without the other.

  7. I agree with Lucky on this one. They have a fair cancellation policy which I think most people can logically understand even if they disagree with it. As for the baggage fee, airlines have every incentive to raise them since this revenue is not taxed. Can’t fault the airline for trying to shift revenue to untaxed auxillary services.

  8. fees are fees, and I dont like em one bit. Especially raising the fees for baggage to $25.00, which Southwest doesn’t even have.

  9. @ Wandering Aramean — I’m giving them kudos for the way they adjusted the change fees. While they’re a wash as such (I think), the system makes more sense.

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