Alaska Airlines announces that it will permanently drop the flight change fee for all domestic and international bookings. However, the airline is following the similar policy changes which other airlines did earlier this week.
Moreover, this decision from the airline comes to attract customers back and make them fly again with the airline. This is an attempt by the air travel industry to re-stabilize from the economic turbulence brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Alaska was charging a $125 fee for changing flights which will now be waived for all customers. However, this will not apply to those who booked basic economy fares.
But the Seattle-based company has stepped further than the competition by extending the policy to all international flights. And not just domestic and selective international journeys.
However, in announcing their policy change, Executive Vice President and CCO Andrew Harrison said in a statement that COVID-19 has taught the company ‘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,” he continued.
The Flexible Policy
However, Alaska is extending its flexible travel policy through December 31, 2020, on all new ticket purchases, including Saver fares.
Moreover, the airline is enhancing flexibility for its customers. Alaska is seeking to enhance its piece-of-mind through the introduction of its layered safety approach. That consists of nearly 100 Next-Level Care measures designed to protect guests.
These measures include a mandatory face-covering policy for all customers and staff. The airline will block off the middle seat for all mainline flights. And introducing a series of touch-free service options to help limit person-to-person contact.
Alaska announced a day after Delta and American made their announcement of the elimination of the $200 flight change fee.
Collection of the Change fee
However, Delta collected $830 million in ticket cancellation and change fees last year. American $819 million and the United $625 million, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
For Alaska, the share was much higher, with the ancillary fees accounting for around seven percent of total passenger revenue in 2019, to a sum of around $567 million.