- Alaska Airlines will introduce a discount ticket this fall called the Saver Fare.
- Saver Fare tickets are similar to the basic economy offerings on American, Delta, and United.
- However, Alaska’s Saver Fare is less restrictive in that it allows passengers to pre-select seats at the time purchase.
On Wednesday, Alaska Airlines announced that it will introduce a new basic economy product this fall called the Saver Fare.
With the announcement, America’s fifth largest airline will join American, Delta, and United in offering an unbundled, no-frills low-cost product.
The Saver Fare is targeted at the cost-conscious flyers that may otherwise gravitate towards low-cost and ultra-low-cost carriers like Spirit or Frontier.
In essence, the Saver Fare and other basic economy tickets are discount fare classes within an airline’s economy cabin. As a result, the in-flight service and experience will be the same for basic economy as it will be for someone who purchased a pricier main cabin economy ticket. This means passengers who go the basic economy route will sit in the same seats, enjoy the same in-flight perks, and amenities as everyone else in coach.
However, there are restrictions placed upon the passengers prior to boarding the aircraft that separate the Saver Fare from other fare classes.
Like America, Delta, and United’s basic economy, Alaska’s Saver Fare tickets are neither changeable nor cancelable. Nor will they be eligible for upgrades. Those travelling on Saver Fare tickets will also board last.
However, there are a few significant differences that set Alaska’s Saver Fare apart from other basic economy offerings.
Saver Fare passengers will be able to select their seats, free of charge, at the time of purchase. This is a major advantage over existing basic economy offerings which assigns seating after you check in to the flight. As a result, the Saver Fare gives families and groups the opportunity to sit together while also allowing individual passengers to find the seat of their choice.
And while you will be able to pre-select your seat, it will have to be at the back of the plane. On the other hand, basic economy passengers on American, Delta, and United are spread throughout the main cabin.
Another point of contention for basic economy passengers is carry-on luggage policy. American and United restrict their passengers to only a personal item that fits underneath the seat. Anything that doesn’t fit will have to be checked at the cost of the consumer.
Alaska, like Delta, allows its passengers a personal item and a carry-on bag.
So why does something like basic economy even exist? The term didn’t really exist in our lexicon until last year
For mainline carriers like Alaska, the need to compete against low-cost carriers is paramount. Afterall, these airlines have reshaped the landscape of air travel around the world by pushing down both prices for the passengers and profit margins for the airlines. Basic economy is designed to give mainline carriers a chance to compete against their low-cost rivals.
According to Alaska Airlines, Saver Fare tickets are expected to generate about $US100 million in revenue during 2019.
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