Alaska Saver Fares - Basic Economy with Frills
Basic economy fares arrived a couple of years ago and sadly are here to stay. Generally speaking these are completely restrictive, non upgradeable fares with no luggage, reduced mileage earnings, late boarding and worst of all no seat selection. While on some short trips none of this matters, not having to ability to choose a seat on a longer trans continental or international flight is far from ideal and most people I would wager are happy to pay up for it.
The one airline who bucks this trend is Alaska Airlines. They were late to the game but have released an offering which is much better than their competitors and I hope it wins them some customers. Alaska is one of a few remaining airlines that credit you air miles for the distance you actual fly not a percentage of it or based on the price you pay. This means that even their basic fares will earn you approx 2,500 miles if you fly New York to Los Angeles which is pretty great. I recently earned a measly 400 from United on that same route. Huge when booking in their lowest fare class.
While you will still board In the last group, they make a number of seats towards the back available for selection at booking which means you don’t have to worry about getting stuck in the middle. This is a really nice touch and makes the difference for me, I’ve booked two of these fares for travel in the coming months when the other airlines we’re significantly more expensive. Sitting down the back is fine with me and Alaska miles are some of the most useful out there thanks to their various partnerships.
The morale of the story - basic economy sucks but Alaska’s hits the nail on the head.