Alaska Airlines
Photograph ©2013 by Brian Cohen.

Alaska Airlines Eliminates Change Fees Permanently — But…

Change fees have been eliminated on a permanent basis on all standard economy class tickets and premium class tickets for all domestic travel within the United States on all flights operated by Alaska Airlines effective as of today, Tuesday, September 1, 2020; and no limit exists as to how many times customers adjust their flights…

Alaska Airlines Eliminates Change Fees Permanently — But…

Alaska Airlines
Photograph ©2013 by Brian Cohen.

…but unlike the lead of United Airlines — which officially announced the elimination of change fees on Sunday, August 30, 2020 — and unlike similar policies which were announced by both American Airlines and Delta Air Lines yesterday, Monday, August 31, 2020 — change fees will also be eliminated on all international flights which are operated by Alaska Airlines.

The exception is that passengers who purchase a Saver ticket will still be required to pay a change fee of $125.00 for each change which is implemented.

The waiver for new tickets issued through Thursday, December 31, 2020 is being extended by Alaska Airlines to permit unlimited changes to tickets with no fee. This policy applies to all ticket types — including Saver fares and award tickets — and it is valid for both domestic and international travel.


Alaska Airlines
Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

“Do not be surprised if other airlines — such as Delta Air Lines and American Airlines — enact similar policies” is what I wrote in this article pertaining to United Airlines eliminating change fees in the United States. I did not expect that the policies would change so soon after the announcement from United Airlines — nor did I expect Alaska Airlines to jump on the change fee elimination bandwagon.

The elimination of change fees by Alaska Airlines on all domestic and international flights sounds incredibly impressive, as United Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines cannot claim that — until you realize that Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica are the only international destinations which are served by Alaska Airlines.

Unfortunately, Alaska Airlines mentions nothing about the elimination of fees to stand by for a different flight on the same day, which is disappointing.

The elimination of change fees is not new in the commercial airline industry in the United States, however, as Southwest Airlines does not charge change fees to its customers as well.

Lastly, I do want you to remember this sentence from a quote attributed to Andrew Harrison, who is the executive vice president and chief commercial officer for Alaska Airlines:

“COVID has taught us that flexibility in travel is key.”

Seriously? We had to experience a worldwide pandemic to teach you that flexibility in travel is key? I could have told you that years ago. Where were you when customers were complaining about increasingly restrictive policies coupled with ancillary fees which were designed to increase revenue as the top priority?

Perhaps I am being unreasonably skeptical; but I am curious to see how that statement holds up long after the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic has subsided and has been officially declared as ended…

All photographs ©2013 and ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

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