Saving money with Alaska Air

I'm a fan of Alaska Air (other than their useless customer support but that's a problem with most CS these days) for most of my flying. In general my opinion of airlines is that they are all in a race to $0 fares with everything else charged in fees so at best Alaska seem to be the best of a bad bunch. But I recently found a feature that means it will be hard for me to use other airlines unless there's a real bargain.

I like to book early - I'm a planner like that and it usually means the cheapest prices. But there's nothing worse than booking early and 6 months later finding out there is a sale and you missed it. I've been told that many airlines will give you the cheaper price if you call them. But you know what that involves? Talking to a human, probably one at less than minimum wage, or one with a sales commission in mind. Thanks but no thanks. My thoughts are that the airline knows this. Other airlines have a change fee. So it might cost you $50 a ticket to change it - not worth it for a $15 sale discount.

But Alaska allow you to do the whole thing online for free here https://www.alaskaair.com/booking/ssl/garr/GuaranteedAirfare.aspx. Its so simply I can't believe that a team of managers and business people had anything to do with it. You type in your name and booking number and if there is a cheaper price than you paid they put the difference in your wallet. Sadly its the Alaska air wallet not cash but it lasts a year so I will have no trouble using it. Even better you can keep trying. I have some California tickets for later this year that were originally $291 each. I've price matched twice and got $31 and today another $11.

Now I never need to worry about early booking. All I need now is for them to do this automatically whenever they do a sale... but I guess if they did that everyone would get the discount and they would probably not be able to afford it any more. Probably better if only me and a few of my close friends know about it.

Published 22 July 2010 03:30 PM by zman
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