Guide to Alaska Airlines Baggage and Other Fees

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It’s easy to assume that extra fees apply only to those pesky low-cost carriers that need to gouge customers with miscellaneous charges to recoup the revenue from selling deeply discounted tickets, but that isn’t really the case.

Regular airlines also impose a series of fees or charges for ancillary services they offer to us passengers. Let’s look at some of those fees for Alaska Airlines, and even some tips on how to avoid them.

Baggage fees

You should always check the baggage fees and rules when you purchase a ticket — not just to confirm how much baggage you’re allowed to travel with, but also to find out how much it’ll cost you.

On Alaska Airlines, you are allowed a carry-on bag for free, regardless of the type of fare you’re ticketed in.

The standard fee for checked bags is $30 for your first bag, $40 for a second and $100 for a third.

Who gets to avoid this fee:

  • Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card holders get their first checked bag free.
  • Elite-level Mileage Plan members get their first and second checked bags free.
  • Passengers confirmed in first class at check-in get their first and second checked bags free.
  • Active duty military personnel and their dependents on travel orders get up to five free checked bags.

» Learn More: Airline credit cards that offer free checked bags

Overweight and oversized bag fee

If you’re planning to check a bag that’s 51 to 100 pounds or exceeds 63 linear inches, you should be prepared to shed $100 to have them checked.

Who gets to avoid this fee:

Only active duty military personnel and their dependents get some flexibility. They’re able to avoid the overweight free for bags up to 70 pounds, but anything over that will still incur the $100 fee. There are no exceptions for oversized baggage.

» Learn More: The cheapest ways to fly with skis and snowboards

Change and cancellation fees

How much and whether you incur change or cancellation fees will mostly be determined by whether you are ticketed on a refundable or non-refundable fare. Before you go ahead and change your mind on a previous reservation, make sure to check how much these fees might hurt you.

The standard change or cancellation fee is $125 — and be aware that you will also need to factor in the fare difference as well as any difference in taxes if you change tickets. For example, if you’re changing a $500 ticket for a $750 one, on top of the $125 change fee, you will have to cover the $250 difference, plus applicable taxes. There is no way to avoid the difference in fare or taxes, even though waivers exist for the change fee itself.

Who gets to avoid this fee:

  • Passengers on refundable first class tickets do not incur any change or cancellation fees.
  • Mileage Plan Elite members with MVP Gold or MVP Gold 75K status are exempt from this fee.

Same-day confirmed changes

If you like living on the edge, Alaska offers same-day confirmed changes for a mere $50, allowing you to swap your ticket for one on a confirmed seat on a different flight for that same day. This has allowed me to buy a cheap ticket with undesirable timing — like a 5 a.m. departure — and change it to a 10 a.m. flight to avoid waking up early, without having to pay the fare difference to the more desirable (more expensive) departure time.

Who gets to avoid this fee:

Only Mileage Plan Elite members who have MVP Gold or MVP Gold 75K status are exempt from this fee.

» Learn More: Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: Your complete guide

Partner award booking fee

You will be charged a partner award booking fee of $12.50 any time you use your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles to book an award ticket on a partner airline. This is applied each way, for each award ticket — that is, you can’t book four tickets at the same time in order to save money.

Who gets to avoid this fee:

Literally nobody.

Call center service charge

If you call Alaska on the phone to book a new reservation, it will cost you $15 per itinerary, regardless of whether you’re booking a revenue ticket paid in cash or an award ticket on Alaska or its partners. That means if your itinerary is round-trip for five people, you’ll pay $15 total.

Who gets to avoid this charge:

  • Mileage Plan Elites with MVP Gold or MVP Gold 75K status.
  • Anybody who books online at alaskaair.com.
  • If you are booking an award on a partner that cannot be booked on alaskaair.com, you can get this fee waived.

Unaccompanied minor fee

This $50-$75 fee — depending on whether it’s a direct/nonstop or with connections — is what you are charged on top of your regular ticket for your kid to fly on their own. This service covers proper identification for your child to carry while in transit, a meal on flights over two hours and an entertainment tablet on coast-to-coast flights or to Hawaii. You can use this service for kids ages 5 through 17; it’s mandatory for ages 5 through 12, but optional for 13- to 17-year-olds.

Who can avoid this fee:

MVP Gold or MVP Gold 75K members are exempted from this fee, though it’s worth noting that the minor needs to be an elite member — so only mini frequent flyers are exempt.

Pet travel fee

Traveling with your pet will set you back $100 on any ticket on Alaska, for either bringing your pet into the cabin or into the baggage hold. In today’s day and age, it’s worth clarifying that only dogs, cats, rabbits and household birds are considered pets. Consult Alaska Airlines’ website for restrictions on breeds, carrier sizes and blackout dates during which you’re not permitted to travel with pets in baggage.

Who can avoid this fee:

Passengers who don’t fly with pets… but seriously, there are no waivers for pet fees.

The bottom line

Sometimes the price you see when looking on a search engine isn’t necessarily the price you pay. Fees can add up if you’re not careful. Take some time and make sure you’re familiar with all the different charges you might run into and how you can avoid them, before you go about changing your mind — and your ticket — or adding extra services you might not need.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best airline credit card for you
4 ways to quickly rack up miles for your next flight
How to get started with frequent flyer programs

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