We all know that travel plans change. This is especially true for business travelers or those of us who fly often and sometimes want to get home or to our destination earlier or later. The ability to change one flight or have flexibility is golden. Even the casual travel appreciates flexibility from time to time.
Alaska Airlines same day change and standby options are not the best in the industry, but are among the cheapest for non-elite members. Yet, despite it’s restrictiveness it seems that Alaska Airlines is easing the rules. At least for elite members…
Alaska Airlines Same Day Change Policy
Currently, Alaska Airlines same day change policy is fairly restrictive when comparing it to other airlines. Alaska only allows changes to flights on the day of travel, with few exceptions. The routing also cannot change. Thus meaning, if the flight is non-stop, it must remain non-stop after the change. This is particularly unhelpful in several mid-con and transcon routes which Alaska Airlines only serves once daily. Such as Seattle-Indianapolis or San Francisco–Orlando. Other airlines, such United and Delta allow route changes and United even go as far as allowing passengers to change a nonstop to a connecting flight and vice versa.
Alaska Airlines official policy for same day confirmed changes are the following:
- You must be holding confirmed reservations and tickets for flights operated by Alaska Airlines.
- You must request the change prior to the departure of your original flight.
- Changes can only be requested 6 hours before new flight. For example, if your original flight leaves at 7:00 pm and you would like to change to the 1:30 pm flight, you may request the change as early as 7:30 am.
- You must keep the same origin, destination, thru, and connection cities. Co-terminal changes are not allowed.
- Your new desired flight must depart on the same calendar day as your originally scheduled flight.
- For “red-eye” flight departing between 12:00 a.m. and 3:59 a.m., the new desired flight may depart as early as 10:00 p.m. on the day prior to your original departure.
There are also a few exceptions to the rules:
- MVP, MVP Gold, and 75Ks can request changes at 10:00 pm the night before day of departure and choose any flight departing on the same day of travel with the same routing.
- Customers booked in F, D, A (First) and Y, Z (Coach) classes of service do not have to pay the $25 change fee.
- MVP Gold and 75K Elite do not pay the $25 change fee.
- Customers on nonstop flights between Anchorage and Fairbanks, Seattle and Portland, or Seattle and Spokane can standby free of charge.
New Same Day Change Policy
Alaska Airlines has changed their same day change policy, at least for elite members. Gold and 75K Elite can now change their flights 24 hours before departure. The old rules apply still everyone else. Requests for changes can only be made 6 hours prior to the flight being requested. In addition, routing rules have not changed.
I first noticed this change on a SEA-PDX-PHX flight and thought it was a glitch because of my nonstop Seattle-Portland flight within the reservation. However, I noticed it again when checking in for my return flight Phoenix-Seattle.
It turns out that the website is out of date and the new policy allows elites to change their flight during check-in! Meaning up to 24+ hours before the desired flight.
This has been confirmed via Twitter.
The change mentioned above only affects elite flyers. Those booked in non-refundable fare classes must wait until the 6 hour window to make a same day change for $25. Although the change is only for Alaska Airlines’ Elites, the change is for the good and puts the airline on par with many of the other major carriers in the United States. I love flexibility while traveling! If I know I am going to need to change my flight, I would rather change my flight when checking in, verse setting an alarm to remind me to do it at 10pm. Not to mention, for those days when I am going to change to an early morning flight, not staying up until 10pm to confirm a change is a win!
What do you make of these changes?