Alaska Selling Extra Legroom Seats Starting In 2015

Alaska had their Investor Day conference today, and there are some interesting slides in the presentation.

Arguably not as interesting as their Investor Day conference last year, where we learned what percent of Mileage Plan awards are booked on partner airlines. But this year’s was interesting nonetheless. šŸ˜‰

It’s worth noting that Alaska will begin selling extra legroom seats in the first half of 2015. No, they’re not adding an “extra legroom” section to economy, but rather they’ll start monetizing on bulkheads and exit rows. As it stands, these seats are just open to MVP, MVP Gold, and MVP Gold 75K members in advance, though can typically also be selected by non-elite members at the airport.

Alaska-Extra-Legroom-Seating

It’s worth noting that Alaska will initially only be selling these extra legroom seats at check-in. I’m guessing that’s simply because they don’t yet have the technology to sell these at the time of booking. That’s rather restrictive, since most likely you’ll just be able to select middle row exit seats so close to departure, after all elites have assigned them in advance.

These extra legroom seats will be priced as follows:

  • $15 for up to 1,250 miles
  • $30 for 1,251-2,000 miles
  • $50 for 2,000+ miles

Furthermore, the seats won’t just come with extra legroom, but also with priority boarding and a free drink.

Fortunately Alaska isn’t taking anything away for elite members — they’ll continue to offer all MVP Mileage Plan members complimentary exit row and bulkhead seating in advance. MVP members might even benefit, since presumably they’ll get a free drink as well (MVP Gold and above members already get a free drink when traveling in economy).

Bottom line

The pricing seems reasonable, but then again these seats can only be purchase at check-in, which means you can’t use them to secure the “best” extra legroom seats in advance.

The $15 million per year revenue projections seem optimistic to me. I’d expect that to be about right if they were selling them in advance, but only at check-in? Seems unlikely.

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

Comments

  1. Very confusing to consider this an announcement and significant revenue. Many times these seats are all booked up in advance of the day of departure, so there’s not much revenue opportunity. I was hopeful that AS would have a true Y+ section. Then I was fearful they were going to sell these seats out from under elites. If elites can pre-assign them, and they are only selling them on the day of departure, then it seems like a whole lot less of an issue, although it may water down the value of same day change a little.

  2. Only selling them at check-in seems like doing right by elites — if they could be bought in advance elites would frequently find them sold out and thus that benefit would be eroded.

  3. If I understand Alaska’s plans correctly, they plan to sell these seats to all comers starting at T-24, during OLCI. Perhaps this is not different than what they do today, though my fear is that it will lead to devaluing SDC.

    These rows 6 and exit row are the only row where you can really work on a laptop – all other rows have the prior seatback too close.

  4. @ Carl — You can assign bulkheads for free 24 hours out as of now, and can usually be assigned an exit row at the airport otherwise. There’s no fee as far as I know.

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