Alaska Airlines to Launch Basic Economy and Introduce New Fees

In a move that should surprise no one, Alaska Airlines announced Monday that it, too, will introduce Basic Economy seating, with tickets on sale as early as this fall.

Alaska’s take on Basic Economy, known as Saver Fares, are similar to the pared down fares already offered by American, United, and Delta. Saver Fares are not eligible for upgrades and ticket changes are not allowed.

Saver Fare flyers will receive seat assignments when booking, and can expect to be the very last to board.

No word yet on what the carry-on policy will be, though odds are it will take after United and American, both of which don't allow anything beyond a small backpack or purse in basic economy. This differs from Delta which does permit carry-ons in the overhead along with a second small item for storing under the seat.   

Other changes on the way include plans to scrap fee waivers for reservation changes made more than 60 days prior to travel, as well as charging extra for seats in exit rows.

Certainly the biggest change comes Wednesday, April 25, when Alaska and Virgin will combine passenger service systems, and Virgin America branding will be swapped out for Alaska Airlines at airports throughout the U.S.

In a quarterly earnings call, Alaska’s chief commercial officer Andrew Harrison said the Saver Fare is expected to add $100 million in annual revenue next year, along with an additional $50 million in ancillary fees and changes to fee waivers.