Why Alaska Airlines’ Basic Economy Fare Will Be Better Than Most (Video)
Alaska Airlines will join the other major U.S. airlines and introduce basic economy fare later this year — however it’s not nearly as bad as it could be.
Alaska Airlines’ “Saver Fare” will make it the fourth major airline in the country to introduce basic fares (after American, Delta and United). But Alaska’s version of the product will have a few more perks than other bare bones options.
Unlike many other basic economy fares, customers who book Alaska’s Saver Fare will still be able to pre-select their seats and bring aboard one personal item and one carry-on. Other major airlines have removed seat assignments and carry-on bags from their basic fares, meaning you get told which (middle) seat you get when you get to the airport, and you better fit everything you're traveling with under the seat in front of you unless you want to pay more.
However, the Saver Fare seats for sale will not be glamorous. They are at the rear of the aircraft, and those who book them will be among the last to board the plane. Passengers who book Saver Fare tickets also give up their ability to rebook, cancel tickets, or upgrade their seats.
Saver Fares will be introduced in the fall of this year, Alaska Airlines executives said in an earnings call last week.
Although basic economy fares are unpopular among passengers, they’re unlikely to go away anytime soon. Airlines created basic economy to stop passengers from booking their trip on other competitive low-cost airlines. In fact, airlines measure their success by how many passengers don’t choose basic economy tickets.
As Alaska Airlines takes over the former Virgin America airline, changes abound. According to Business Insider, Alaska will start selling exit rows and initiating dynamic pricing for premium seats, among other changes in the next couple months. And earlier this month, Alaska Airlines decreased the allotted size for carry-on luggage.