Alaska Airlines will add a basic economy fare in January, among other fee changes and add-ons.
The changes arrive as Alaska’s merger with Virgin America became official overnight Tuesday.
The new “saver fare” will offer passengers a bare bones seat that’s nonrefundable or transferable without any upgrades available. It hasn’t been announced if the ticket will include overhead bin space, an amenity that is not included on several other airlines’ basic economy tickets.
The more affordable fares are meant to fill empty seats and pull passengers away from budget airlines, such as Frontier, Spirit, or Allegiant, according to travel expert and President of TMA Travel Steve Danishek.
“They’ve done a lot to build a brand and build our expectations,” Danishek said. “Now we’ve come in with saver fares, which are not – many folks are going to say, ‘That’s not Alaska. That’s not what I expected.’”
In addition to the new saver fare, Alaska may also add additional fees for exit rows, flexible pricing for premiere seating on busy flights, and other revenue enhancements.