Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Alaska Airlines is the latest U.S. carrier to eliminate change fees

Alaska Airlines eliminates change fees permanently. (PRNewsfoto/Alaska Airlines)
Alaska Airlines is the latest carrier in the U.S. to say it is ditching change fees. The major players - Delta and American have decided to ditch the fees already and all are saying they will to it forever.   

However, forever is an awfully long time and I can't help but thinking when demand increases to pre-COVID levels,  when they are not al scrabbling around to entice people back to flying, those fees will come back. Slowly the airlines with slink in different budget fare types to the exceptions to the free change fee policies they have announced.  I hope I'm wrong, but I'm so not convinced.

"COVID has taught us that flexibility in travel is key. As we evolve our approach to travel to include more than 100 safety actions, it's important to give our guests flexibility when they book by eliminating change fees," said Andrew Harrison, executive vice president and chief commercial officer for Alaska Airlines.

The new change-fee policy applies to all tickets, except for Saver fares. Previously, Alaska's change fee of $125 applied to all non-Saver travel, except for guests travelling on refundable tickets and Mileage Plan top elite status members.

During the pandemic, Alaska is also extending its flexible travel policy for all new ticket purchases, including Saver fares through Dec. 31, 2020.

Alaska Airlines continues to add travel-friendly policies and actions to its layered approach to safety. As part of nearly 100 Next-Level Care safety measures, designed to keep guests and employees safe, Alaska has:
  • Flown more than a million passengers, 99.99% of whom have adhered to Alaska's "No Mask. No Travel." policy. To date, the airline has suspended travel for 75 guests due to non-compliance.
  • Rolled out a series of innovations making it easier for guests to travel touch-free.
  • Extended physical distancing on board for fall travel, with blocked middle seats on all mainline flights and reduced capacity on regional flights through Oct. 31.
  • Continued its enhanced aircraft cleaning program, sanitizing planes between flights, including disinfecting high-touch areas of the plane such as tray tables, armrests and buckles.
  • Extended 2020 elite status through next year. Additionally, miles earned between January 2020 – April 2020 can be used towards earning status for 2022.
  • Learn more at Next-Level Care.
Alaska Airlines and its regional partners serve more than 115 destinations across the United States and North America, providing essential air service for our guests along with moving crucial cargo shipments, such as food, medicine, mail and e-commerce deliveries. With hubs in Seattle; San Francisco; Los Angeles; Portland, Oregon; and Anchorage, Alaska, the airline is known for low fares, award-winning customer service and sustainability efforts.

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