Alaska Airlines adds baggage fees for upgraded first class passengers

Hey, I guess it was inevitable that an airline would start charging baggage fees for first class passengers.

Starting July 10, Alaska Airlines will start charging upgraded first class passengers for checked bags.

Elites will be exempt from this since they get free checked bags, but if you’re an MVP Gold member you get four confirmed upgrades per year that can also be used on family members. Now you’ll be stuck paying baggage fees if you choose to upgrade a family member, or for that matter if you use miles to upgrade.

While Alaska also offers paid upgrades, it’s my understanding that they only happen at the gate, so those passengers were already paying baggage fees.

For an airline that claims to be “North of Expected,” this strikes me as an awfully desperate move.

It’ll be interesting to see whether other airlines follow.

Filed Under: Alaska
  1. But this does NOT apply to customers redeeming miles for an F seat right? (Not an upgrade)

  2. I’ve used miles on other airlines to upgrade family members when they were making trips that required lots of checked bags (like a cross-country move). The service difference between F and Y isn’t that much, but a few thousand miles is better than hundreds of $ in bag fees.

    Bad move on the part of AS.

  3. Definitely South Of Expected. Cheezy move on AS’ part. Stupid too; can’t be all that much money left on the table from non-elite upgrades. When it’s non-elites flying in F from an elite friend or family member’s coupon or miles, it would be nice marketing for them to have the full domestic F experience. Instead they get chip-chip-chipped the bag fees, and a likely “I’m never buying my own ticket on this cheap greedy airline – they even make first class pay for bags.”

  4. At this rate, it’s only a matter of time till F/J passengers will have to start paying for warm nuts. By the ramekin.

    The horror!

  5. First there’s no more Kahlua in F and now this! (I know, it’s been awhile, but I’m still mad about it.)

  6. @ Lark — Absolutely, EXPs get two free checked bags on Alaska thanks to the reciprocal agreement they have.

  7. I’m not sure if this is still the case, but two years ago before I had status I paid for upgrades at check-in on AS for trips to SFO, JNU and KTN. I think it just requires a higher fare class than deepest discount economy.

  8. Effective elimination of upgrades?
    Give me a break. As a Premier Gold I have been upgraded on 7 of 8 eligible segments post 3/3 this year (doesn’t include standby flights that cleared last minute or non-F RJs).

  9. Oh boy! I’m going to read the Alaska forum on Flyertalk (and I don’t even fly them). I’m sure it will be a fun read. Teehee.

  10. A year and a half ago I flew on Alaska from SFO to SEA. I paid $50 for a first class upgrade at the gate and they still charged me to check the bag…Is that because of the late upgrade? At any rate, ridiculous!

  11. @Linda — If you checked a bag and then upgraded at the gate, you would have already paid the baggage fee before you were upgraded. They don’t refund the baggage fee after you buy the upgrade.

  12. Don’t forget folks if one is elite and traveling with a companion and only checking one bag just check both bags in under the elite customer so you do not have to pay the baggage fee

  13. FYI Alaska offers paid upgrades at CHECK-IN, either at the counter or a kiosk. I have upgraded this way many times, usually for $50pp one-way on mid-haul, e.g. SFO-SEA or SFO-SJD or $100pp one-way to Hawaii.

    The baggage fee waiver was a nice perk as it reduced the real cost of upgrades. Last summer I spent $200 to upgrade my family and saved $60 on checked bags, so the real cost was just $35pp for a 3-hour flight. Can’t beat that, especially as a non-elite!

    I guess the moral of the story is that AS, AA and DL elite status will provide the best way to avoid fees.

    I haven’t checked lately but do BofA AS visa holders get a fee waiver?

  14. This is unacceptable. Paying for an upgrade to first class includes the privilege for getting free baggage allowance, not only cabin upgrades. I am just waiting to see when Alaska will backtrack from this policy.

  15. I am using Avios to redeem a ticket from SAN to ANC via SEA. Since it is ticket with two-legs, do I need to pay separately for the upgrades on both legs, or just once? Can I do it online at T-24 for the paid upgrades??

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