As you probably know, I have a huge crush on Alaska Airlines because they seem to go against everything that the airline industry is doing. Rather than devalue their program, they continue to demonstrate extreme value in their program. From the amazing customer service I experience to their new North American award redemptions to the amazing redemptions you can find on their partners, everything comes up roses for Alaska.
If you follow the blog, you know that I got bumped into First Class on my last flight to Seattle because of my MVP Gold Status but I haven’t provided a review on the flight because I typically do not provide reviews on domestic flights. If you guys want more in-depth reviews of my domestic travel, let me know in the comments below and I’ll start. For the time being, I’ll share a picture of my salad from the flight. It was a field salad with quinoa, chicken, and balsamic dressing and it was surprisingly very, very tasty.
The subtle things that I appreciate are the glass (not plastic) cup, porcelain dish, real metal silverware, and a tablecloth. While it may seem trivial to some, having these items rather than plastic for everything, makes a big difference.
But I digress. That’s not what we’re here to talk about.
Same Day Changes with Alaska
You’ve probably been in the situation, especially on an award redemption, where your airline has multiple flights to your destination but you get stuck on the redeye because that’s when people don’t want to fly. There’s nothing more painful than being at the airport and hearing boarding announcements for an earlier flight while you are stuck the airport waiting for your later flight.
A lot of airlines make it very expensive to make a same-day change if you want to get on that earlier flight. You’ll likely pay a change fee that can be in excess of $100 if you want a confirmed change, meaning you have a guaranteed seat. You can sometimes sweet talk your way into standby but you don’t actually know if you are going to board until they clear their backlog of other people on standby. The situation is something that leaves a lot to be desired.
Alaska, on the other hand, makes it extremely affordable and easy to make a same-day change.
Cost for Change
Alaska charges $25 for confirmed same-day flight changes, which is completely reasonable. Compare and contrast that with the $100+ fees other airlines have and you’re laughing.
The exception to this $25 cost is if you are booked into the more expensive fare buckets of F, D and A in First Class or Y, Z in Coach. The likelihood that you being booked into a Y or Z fare class is fairly low as these are full fare coach seats, meaning they are very expensive.
If you are Alaska MVP Gold or MVP Gold 75K, you have these fees waived as part of your perks.
Ease of Use
One of the nice features of this program is that you can request the change up to 6 hours prior to your desired flight during your check-in, whether that be online, through their iPhone/Android app or at the airport. You can also accomplish the change request with a quick call to their customer service line.
Let me give you an example of how this works.
Let’s say you have a flight at 10 PM but want to get on the 6 PM flight. Well, you can actually make the request as early as 11 AM because it is 6 hours prior to your desired flight time. This to me is an amazing benefit and one you can really take advantage of.
Now in my example, I am assuming you want to get home earlier but the same day flight change works even if you want to stay later, which could be a great way to extend your stay for a little while longer.
Stuck in traffic on the way to the airport? Give Alaska’s customer service line a call on your way and see if you can make a change to a later flight for $25. What a deal!
What it Looks Like
When I went to check in for my flight back to Calgary, I saw an interesting button labeled “Change Flight” that I hadn’t seen before or more likely hadn’t noticed before.
Out of curiosity more than anything, I clicked on the button and was presented with an option to change to an earlier or later flight.
I clicked to see if there was a later flight I could take (knowing there was not) just to see what would happen.
As I knew there were only 3 flights daily between Seattle and Calgary, I had fully expected to see this result. However, I could have chosen to take an earlier flight and been offered it as an option. I had no intention of leaving the conference I was attending earlier so I could not fully test the same-day flight change that Alaska offers.
You can see the full rules associated with a same-day flight change with Alaska here. One of the great things about Alaska is that they don’t make their rules difficult to read and understand, so if you are so inclined, I would encourage you to take a minute or two and read it.
As I’ve said before, Alaska continues to impress.