Are you just looking to get to your destination? You can travel anywhere you like with basic economy tickets. What else? They don’t offer anything else. There is a market for basic economy tickets. This is why Alaska Airlines offers them.

Let’s take a look at Alaska Airlines’ economy offering. What can you expect on your flight and how to get great value when flying with Alaska.

What can you expect to fly basic economy with Alaska

When Alaska Airlines began offering basic economy services in 2019, it followed industry trends. These tickets are known as “Saver Fares” and offer minimal amenities.

  • Baggage allowance: Alaska, unlike other airlines that restrict luggage size, allows you to carry a full-size bag on board for no extra charge. If you have an elite or co-branded credit card, you can pay for a checked bag and get one free.

  • Boarding: Customers in the basic economy board the plane first in the E-boarding group.

  • Check-in: Saver fares are not separate lines during check-in. Unless you are an elite member, the economy class line will be used.

  • Economy class seats measure approximately 17 inches in width and have 31 to 32 inches pitch. This applies to all economy passengers, even basic economy.

  • Baggage Delivery: Basic customers will be able to receive their bags at the same time as the other passengers.

  • Alaska offers complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic beverages.

  • Cancellations and changes: Saver fares cannot be cancelled or changed after 24 hours.

Book an Alaska Saver Fare

It is easy to find basic economy tickets for Alaska. These tickets will show up in your search results when they are available. You’ll first need to navigate to Alaska’s site.

You can then enter your search parameters. Let’s take, for example, a flight from Los Angeles or Seattle. After you have entered your information, click the “Find Flights” button to see results. The Saver tab shows basic economy flights.

Alaska will prompt to you with a pop up urging you upgrade to the main cabin after you have selected your Saver ticket.

To continue, you will need to click “Continue With Saver”. The flight can be added to your shopping cart. The checkout process will then take you to the next step, where your personal information will be entered.

You can choose a standard economy seat, but you cannot book a basic economy flight. However, you can buy a premium economy seat. These seats offer more legroom and include complimentary alcohol.

After you have completed the process, you will be able to view your selections and pay for your flight.

Saver vs. main on Alaska

There are some differences between Main (economy), and Saver (basic economic) Alaska Airlines fare tickets. The biggest difference is that Saver tickets cannot be refunded or changed more than 24 hours after purchase. If your plans change, you are out of luck.

There are other differences:

  • Earlier boarding.

  • Advanced seat selection.

  • Access to overhead bins earlier.

  • Elite members receive full benefits

Similarities between both fares:

  • Both ticket types permit a full-size bag for carry-on.

  • All seats are equal.

  • The Check-in line remains the same.

How to Get a Great Value on Alaska Flights

Alaska offers great value even when you fly a Saver Fare. You can get even more value from your tickets.

Redeem miles

Alaska Airlines can sell basic economy tickets in cash but not for miles. This means that if you redeem your Alaska Airlines miles for an economy ticket, it will be in the Main fare category and not Saver.

You can redeem your miles for flights by using them to book a Saver ticket, but main cabin fares have additional benefits like earlier boarding and seat selection.

Book with Partners

Alaska’s new award chart simplifies the previously complicated version. Although the verdict isn’t yet out on whether this is an improvement, it is still possible to extract great value from your Alaska miles on partner airlines.

Cathay Pacific flights from the U.S.A to Asia are a great example. A one-way business class flight from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, for example, will cost you only 50,000 miles.

The same flight will cost you more than $4,000 if booked with cash. This means that Alaska miles can be used to great effect.

Earn elite status

Alaska is known for its generous benefits to elite members. This is evident when you book a basic economy flight. While elite members can’t receive complimentary upgrades to premium or first class on Saver fares, they do get other perks.

You will have priority check-in, early boarding and free checked bags.


Alaska is a Oneworld member, meaning you can earn elite status and miles when flying with its partners.

Fly less than 700 miles

Alaska’s short-haul flights are one of its greatest sweet spots. Its award chart allows for a drop in redemption rates of these flights to as low as 5,000 miles per-way.

This is especially true when you are looking for short-haul cash flight deals.

Alaska Basic Economy – Recap

Savings on airfares are not for everyone. Basic economy fares aren’t for everyone. The only thing you will love about them is how affordable they are. Alaska offers this ticket at a great price, and you can bring your carry-on bag free of charge.

Even better, elite status holders will continue to enjoy most of their benefits even if they fly on a Saver flight. Remember that you cannot choose your seats in advance.

(Featured Photo courtesy Alaska Airlines)

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