Alaska Airlines has published a somewhat strange ticket waiver policy, suspending change and cancellation fees for newly booked tickets in light of the ongoing Coronavirus scare.
It’s a very irregular way of doing business when a company reacts to a crisis such as the COVID19 outbreak and then starts come up with weird marketing gimmicks.
Alaska Airlines is clearly doing that to drum up some additional business in the wake of people putting off their trips, be it for business or leisure.
Every day seems to bring new developments related to the coronavirus, and the uncertainty of the disease is unsettling. Our hearts go out to those around the world who’ve been impacted by the virus.
It can be tough to keep track of what’s going on – and maybe even tougher to decide whether to make or keep your travel plans.
Life doesn’t stop, but we do want you to know: We’ve got you covered.
Starting today, Feb. 27, through March 12, 2020, we’ll suspend change and cancellation fees for new flight bookings for our guests who later decide not to travel because of concerns related to the virus.
If you book a flight prior to March 12, and then decide by that date to change or cancel your trip, you’ll receive full travel credit to fly with us later on – up to one year from the issuance of the credit. Fare differences may apply. Visit alaskair.com for further details, where flyers can also use our self-service tool to manage their travel.
As far as “refunds” are concerned though – as mentioned in the article – this won’t be given in the form of cash but rather a travel credit which one can apply towards a future Alaska Airlines flight (within one year of the date of ticket issuance).
So what happens to customers who booked their tickets prior to February 27th?
The short answer is that at least according to the policy they’re simply SOL. Nothing better then being told to pound sand when it really hits the fan.
This is absolutely a marketing campaign more so than a customer relief effort. Alaska wants people to continue booking flights so their incoming cash flow doesn’t stop.
However just like I have written about a few times in the past weeks you can be lucky by calling up the airline and stating your case that you no longer think it’s safe to fly with the virus going around. Some airlines comply easily, other require a polite but firm push such as an official complaint. As long as there are travel warnings out that makes the customers standing a bit easier. This goes more for international travel though and won’t help you when flying from Seattle to Los Angeles.