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Alaska Airlines Review – Seats, Amenities, Customer Service, Baggage Fees & More

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Erin Miller
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Erin Miller

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An experienced points hacker, Erin is Alex’s partner-in-crime and contributes to Upgraded Points with in-depth guides and relationship management. Erin’s work has been cited in multiple major publicat...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Frequently named “Best U.S. Airline” by many awards that passengers vote on themselves (including Condé Nast Traveller, Kayak, etc.), Alaska Airlines provides great service and has a very loyal customer base.

If you’re looking to fly Alaska for a future trip, then continue reading to find out all you need to know about baggage allowances, its frequent flyer program (Mileage Plan), fees and extras, cabin amenities, and more.

Basic Info

Airline: Alaska Airlines
Alliance: Oneworld
Category: Major U.S. carrier
Frequent Flyer Program: Mileage Plan
Tag Line: “Creating an airline people love”
About/Mission Statement: “Our goal is to always provide safe, reliable transportation for a reasonable price, along with the caring, friendly and professional service that we are known for.”¹
Daily Flights: 1,200
Fleet: 289
Main Hub: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
Destinations: 115

Alaska Airlines Route Map
Alaska Airlines route map. Image Credit: Alaska Airlines

Ticketing Options

Alaska Airlines has clear-cut ticketing options with 3 fare types available to book.

If you’re flexible on dates, then Alaska’s handy low-fare calendar view will display the cheapest fares 3 days before and 3 days after your search date — or you can view a full month of the lowest fares.

Alaska Airlines Fare Types
Alaska Airlines fare types. Image Credit: Alaska

Saver (Most Restrictive Fare): 

  • No seat selection
  • 1 personal item and 1 piece of carry-on
  • Last boarding status
  • No changes permitted
  • Mileage Plan elite status members receive bonus miles, priority boarding, check-in benefits, and baggage allowance, but do not receive preferred seating, or upgrade benefits with Saver fares

Main (Standard Economy): 

  • Seat selection free of charge (unless upgrading to Premium Class)
  • Changes permitted for no additional fee
  • All Mileage Plan elite benefits apply

First Class:

  • Seat selection free of charge
  • On select itineraries of 2,100 miles or more, access to the Alaska Lounge
  • Priority boarding status
  • Changes permitted for no additional fee
  • All Mileage Plan Elite benefits apply

Alaska Airlines Frequent Flyer Program

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. Image Credit: Alaska Airlines

Mileage Plan is the loyalty program for Alaska Airlines. As part of the Oneworld alliance, you can earn valuable miles flying with airlines such as British Airways and Cathay Pacific.

When earning miles flying Alaska, it is among the most generous frequent flyer programs, awarding a mile for a mile. There are also many other ways of earning miles from everyday activities like shopping, dining, or staying in a hotel.

Hot Tip: To find out more about how to earn elite status with Alaska, check out our in-depth article.

Alaska Airlines Baggage Fees and Other Fees/Add-Ons

Baggage Fees

Carry-on Allowance

All passengers can bring 1 personal item and 1 standard carry-on bag for free.

Size Restrictions: Alaska does not disclose size restrictions for a personal item. Standard carry-on should not exceed 22 x 14 x 9 inches.

Lap Infant Carry-on Policy: A diaper bag (or similar) will count toward the ticketed adult passenger’s carry-on allowance. Lap infants receive no carry-on allowance.

Stroller Gate Check Policy: Alaska transports strollers or infant car seats free of charge as checked baggage, either at point of check-in or at the gate.

Checked Baggage Allowance

Max Weight of Each Piece: 50 pounds (23 kg)

Max Linear Dimensions: 62 inches (158 cm)

SCROLL FOR MORE
First BagSecond Bag3+ Bags4+ Bags
Domestic Economy$35$45$150 each
Domestic First Class$0$0$150 each
Within the State of Alaska$0$0$0$150 each
Alaska Airlines Credit Cardholders$0$45$150
MVP and MVP Gold Level Mileage Plan / Oneworld Ruby and Sapphire Members$0$0$150
MVP Gold 75K and MVP Gold 100K Level Mileage Plan / Oneworld Emerald Members$0$0$0$150

Alaska applies seasonal baggage limits on the number of checked bags a passenger can bring.

Additional/Excess Baggage Fees

Additional Luggage (3+ bags): $100 per bag
Overweight Fee: $100 for bags 51 to 100 pounds (23 to 45 kilograms)
Oversized Fee: $150 for bags 63 to 115 inches (158 to 292 centimeters)

If a bag is both overweight and oversized, the fee is charged only once.

View Alaska’s policy on special luggage such as sports equipment and musical instruments.

Hot Tip: Check out our post on Alaska Airlines baggage fees and how to avoid paying for them, which details credit cards that reimburse you for checked baggage fees and waivers/exclusions for frequent flyers.

Other Fees and Add-Ons

Reservation and Service Fees

By Phone: $15 (free for MVP Gold, MVP Gold 75K, and MVP Gold 100K members)

Paper Itinerary Charge: $5

Ticket Receipt Request Research Time: $20

Partner Award Booking: $12.50

Same-day Change: $50; $25 if traveling within California, or shuttle flights between Portland and Seattle, Anchorage and Fairbanks, or Spokane and Seattle (free for MVP Gold, MVP Gold 75K, and MVP Gold 100K members)

Cancellation: $0 (except for Saver fares, which cannot be canceled)

Exclusions/Waivers:

  • Free same-day changes and ticket changes for MVP Gold, MVP Gold 75K, and MVP Gold 100K members.
  • The same-day change fee is waived for customers booked in refundable coach (F, D) or refundable first (Y, Z) fare classes.
  • Passengers traveling as part of a vacation package are not eligible for same-day confirmed changes. Any changes must be made by calling 844-762-0087.

Seat Selection Fees

You do not have the option to select a seat if you purchase a Saver fare. Otherwise, there is no charge for seat selection with Alaska (unless you opt to upgrade to Premium Class).

Premium Class Upgrade

Once you’ve selected your Main Cabin fare, you can choose to upgrade to Premium Class seating from $15 (depending on flight route, with the exception of the Saver fare, as mentioned).

Alaska Airlines Premium Class
Alaska Airlines Premium Class. Image Credit: Alaska Airlines

Wi-Fi: $8, no matter the flight length

Onboard Refreshments

Inflight Meals and Snack Boxes: $7.50 to $10.50

Beer, Wine, and Cocktails: $8 to $12

You can reserve your food in the Main Cabin before your flight using the Alaska Airlines app.

How To Avoid Paying Excess Fees and Travel Expenses

There are a number of credit cards that will reimburse you for excess fees and travel expenses.

A great option here is to use one of the Alaska Airlines co-branded credit cards, either the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card or Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Credit Card, as both cards offer a free checked bag on Alaska flights for you and up to 6 other guests on the same reservation.

If you regularly check bags, holding an Alaska credit card can easily save you up to $60 per passenger, per trip! Plus, your Alaska credit card will give you 20% back on all inflight purchases, like Wi-Fi and beverages, on Alaska flights.

Your travel rewards card may also include an annual travel/airline credit that could help offset excess fees.

Alaska Seat Specs and Inflight Amenities

Alaska Airlines Aircraft Fleet
Alaska Airlines aircraft. Image Credit: Alaska Airlines

Seat Specs

Alaska Airlines has a fairly young fleet of 289 aircraft, including its standard and colorful commemorative planes.

We’ve listed some seat specs below to give you an idea, but Alaska does not publish these on its website.

All seats within the Main Cabin and Premium Class recline 3 inches, and you can view the general aircraft configurations and seat counts on Alaska’s website.

SCROLL FOR MORE
Aircraft Type FirstPremiumMain Cabin
Airbus A321Neo (10 in fleet)
Seat count1624150
Seat pitch37″33″ to 38″30″
Seat width21″17″ to 18″17″ to 18″
Boeing 737-700 (11 in fleet)
Seat count12112
Seat pitch38″35″31″
Seat width21″17″17″
Boeing 737-800 (59 in fleet)
Seat count1230.0117
Seat pitch41″35″31″ to 32″
Seat width21″17″17″
Boeing 737-900 (12 in fleet)
Seat count1624.0138
Seat pitch41″35″31″ to 32″
Seat width21″17″17″
Boeing 737-900ER (79 in fleet)
Seat count1624.0138
Seat pitch37″34″30″ to 31″
Seat width21″17″17″
Boeing 737-9 Max (40 in fleet)
Seat count1624.0138
Seat pitch37″34″30″ to 31″
Seat width21″17″17″
Embraer E175 (75 in fleet)
Seat count1212.052
Seat pitch37″34″30″ to 31″
Seat width21″18.25″18.25″

Inflight Amenities

First Class

Alaska Airlines First Class
Alaska Airlines first class dining. Image Credit: Alaska Airlines

  • Spacious Recaro leather seats with a 40-inch pitch (depending on the aicraft) and generous recline
  • Power sockets
  • Quilted blankets
  • Freshly prepared meals (flights over 675 miles) plus premium wine, spirits, and craft beer
  • Wi-Fi (fee applies) with free texting
  • Dedicated flight attendant for the cabin
  • Alaska Beyond Entertainment to stream to your personal device

Premium Class

Alaska Airlines Premium Class
Alaska Airlines Premium Class. Image Credit: Alaska Airlines

  • 4 extra inches of legroom than Main Cabin
  • Recaro leather seats
  • Early boarding (before Main Cabin)
  • Power socket
  • Wi-Fi (fee applies) with free texting
  • Alaska Beyond Entertainment to stream to your personal device
  • Complimentary soft drinks, cocktails, wine, beer, and snacks

Main Cabin (Economy)

Alaska Airlines Main Cabin
Alaska Airlines Main Cabin. Image Credit: Alaska Airlines

  • Leather seating with 6-way adjustable headrest
  • 31 to 32 inches of legroom
  • Most seats have a power socket
  • Wi-Fi (fee applies) with free texting
  • Complimentary soft drinks and snacks

Hot Tip: View our article on Alaska Airlines’ boarding policy so that you’ll know when it’s your turn to board the plane. 

Alaska Airlines Customer Satisfaction

Overall, passengers have a lot of love for Alaska Airlines. Customer service is at the heart of this, with Alaska receiving praise for its friendly, helpful flight attendants and proactive customer service team.

Alaska’s loyal customers regularly take to social media to thank the airline for its continuing service and are quick to defend their favorite carrier from comments by critical customers.

However, Alaska’s Saver fare is causing a few issues for some customers who are used to the flexibility in changing tickets. But Alaska makes it very clear when purchasing a Saver ticket that changes are not permitted, so it can’t really be held accountable here.

Actually, these tickets are some of the most generous basic fares out there, allowing both a personal item and carry-on plus the opportunity to earn miles (which isn’t the case with budget fares for other major U.S. airlines). Alaska customers will probably be raving about the savings soon enough!

Most Common Complaints

26 complaints were lodged against Alaska Airlines for March of 2023, according to the March 2023 Air Travel Consumer Report. These are the complaints broken down by category:

  • Flight problems (cancellation, delay, or misconnection): 2
  • Baggage: 7
  • Customer Service: 1
  • Disability: 2
  • Reservation, ticketing, boarding: 1
  • Other: 0
  • Fares: 4
  • Refunds: 17
  • Oversales: 0
  • Discrimination: 0
  • Advertising: 0

Consumer Rankings, Ratings, Etc. 

There are websites out there for airline ratings based on customer reviews. Here are a few of the most popular ratings, so you can see the general consumer opinion for Alaska Airlines.

Skytrax Ranking: 3 Star Airline (out of 5)

Skytrax Customer Rating: 4/10 (average from 936 reviews)

TripAdvisor Airline Review Rating: 4/5 (average from 16,938 reviews)

Kayak Customer Rating: 7.5/10 (average from 5,196 reviews)

Safety and Performance

AirlineRatings.com Safety Rating7/7 (factors in whether the airline holds an IATA Operational Safety Audit Certification, in addition to utilizing government and crash records and information from the World’s Aviation Governing Body)

Recent Awards

Condé Nast Traveller: 2018 Best U.S. Airline

Newsweek: 2023 America’s Best Customer Service

Kayak: Traveler Favorite 2019 Best Airline

FlyerTalk: 2020 Best Rewards Program

Air Quality Rating: No. 1 U.S. Airline 2018

Alaska Airlines Airport Experience
Alaska Airlines airport experience. Image Credit: Alaska Airlines

Charity Partnership

Alaska is as generous as it is friendly when it comes to philanthropic giving. In the last 5 years, it has made over $45 million in donations supporting disaster relief projects, youth/education, and community outreach.

It encourages its employees to get involved by donation matching and allowing volunteer time, and it allows its Mileage Plan members to donate miles to a choice of charities.

Final Thoughts

There’s growth on the horizon for Alaska, with an even more expanded partnership with American Airlines, new MileagePlan partnerships, and new route announcements. Given all of that, there has never been a more exciting time to be an Alaska Airlines flyer!

The information regarding the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the baggage allowance for Alaska Airlines?

See our guide for the current carry-on and checked bag allowance, along with fees.

Is Alaska Airlines a good airline?

According to reviews, Alaska Airlines consistently ranks as one of the very best U.S. airlines with perhaps the best loyalty program.

Does Alaska Airlines give free drinks?

Yes, all passengers receive complimentary beverages (coffee, sodas, and water) on all Alaska Airlines flights. Passengers flying in Premium Class or first class will also receive complimentary cocktails, beer, and/or wine.

Does Alaska Airlines refund tickets?

Yes, it is free to cancel Alaska Airlines tickets for a credit issued to your Alaska Airlines Wallet, with the exception of Saver fares which cannot be canceled after the 24 hour booking window.

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About Erin Miller

An experienced points hacker, Erin is Alex’s partner-in-crime and contributes to Upgraded Points with in-depth guides and relationship management. Erin’s work has been cited in multiple major publications.

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