Alaska Airlines permanently eliminates change fee on ALL flights in their network

It's been a great past couple of days for the U.S. airline industry, as we have seen the 3 major carriers permanently eliminate change fees on flights within the U.S.  United Airlines was the first one through the wall, and American Airlines surprisingly took their policy the farthest by including many North America destinations including Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean.  Today, Alaska Airlines announced that they're jumping onto the bandwagon, eliminating change fees on ALL flights within their network, including international destinations.  Like the other carriers, the one exception is Saver fares, which is Alaska Air's term for Basic Economy.  Alaska's Saver fares, however, can still be changed without a fee through December 31, 2020 as part of the COVID-19 pandemic travel waiver.  Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Harrison issued the following statement:

“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.”

Typically, Alaska Air charges non-elites $125 to change a flight, so this would save you $125 per change.  Similar to AA's policy, Alaska Air will allow you to cancel your original ticket and receive a flight voucher that can be used on any flight within their network in the next 12 months.  The interesting thing is that Alaska's new policy actually does nothing to benefit their elite members, who automatically receive no change fees on flights.  It's also unclear at this point whether or not Alaska's award tickets are included under their new policy, which is the case with AA and United.  But I surmise that Alaska will address this soon (and Delta for that matter).

Quick thoughts

It's welcoming to see Alaska Air enact a "monkey see - monkey do".  It's also no surprise to see Alaska Air issue the best policy to include all flights within their network, whereas the three major U.S. carriers only included domestic flights for the most part.  Although one could argue that the permanent elimination of change fees is nothing but a marketing ploy for all these carriers, there's still no doubt that the past couple of days have been the best in the U.S. airline industry in terms of positive policy changes.  My question though: Hawaiian Airlines, you're next; where will you stand?

From all of us at Flying for Fitness, please stay healthy during this trying time.  We hope you enjoyed this post.  Please consider visiting one of our sponsors by clicking on the advertisements.  Our sponsors pay us for customer visits and help us to keep the lights on.  Thanks!


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