Alaska Airlines is the seventh largest major carrier in the United States, in terms of passenger traffic. The company offered its service as Alaska Airlines for the first time in 1944, but the airline has its origins in McGee Airways, a company that was formed in 1932. Even though Alaska Airlines suggests that they only service the northernmost destination in the United States, Alaska Airways has over 100 destinations in the 48 contiguous states, Canada, Mexico, and four of the Hawaiian Islands. In fact, they have its largest hub at the Seattle-Tacoma Airport. Alaska Airlines also does well with customer satisfaction. For the seventh year in the row, JD Power and Associates ranked Alaska Airlines as the highest in customer satisfaction in 2014. While Alaska Airlines maintains independence from the major airline alliances, it does have codeshare agreements with some of the major airlines, including Delta and British Airways.

 

Rank Chart
Checked Bags
WiFi Price
Our Score
#1
Free
$8/day
8.2
#2
$25-$35
$16/day
7.9
#3
$25
$16/day
7.6

The Good

First of all, we really liked Club 49, the incentive program for customers who were flying to and from Alaska. Every year, Club 49 members get a certificate for 30% off a one-way flight to or from Alaska. You also get two free checked bags with Alaska Airlines, as well as exclusive deals. We reviewed other major carriers, such as Hawaiian Airlines, and couldn’t find a similar rewards program.

We found that the Gogo Internet service with Alaska Airlines was affordable. A similar carrier that we reviewed, Hawaiian Airlines, did not have Wi-Fi in the bulk of its planes as of this time.

We found that prices were a little high across the board with a few exceptions. A one-way ticket from Seattle to Las Vegas cost $99. Alaska Air also expedites the baggage claim process. If your luggage is not at the claim within 20 minutes, you can get a $25 voucher to use towards your next ticket.

We also felt like Alaska Airlines did a good job of providing affordable food and beverages to its coach customers. Most of the meals that we saw for coach clients were priced from $6 to $7, which is slightly cheaper than some of the other carriers we reviewed. However, we did find that Hawaiian Airlines offers free meals for flights that are longer than six hours, something that Alaska does not have. Starbucks Coffee is also available on Alaska Airlines as part of their complimentary beverage service. 

We had some questions during our phone-in about the in-flight tablet rental. Initially we weren’t sure if movies cost extra, but through our conversation we found out they were included with the rental. We liked how the R-rated movies were edited for the presence of younger customers.

According to Flightstats.com, Alaska Airlines flights are on-time roughly 86%. This is above average when compared to select other top airlines.

The Bad

We took some offense to the “oversized customers” clause of Alaska Airlines’ seating policy. We felt like some overweight or larger customers may be turned off by the tone of language on the part of their website. It also emphasized that Alaska Airlines has the right to re-seat a client or boot them from a flight if they hadn’t booked a second seat. Delta made it somewhat easier for customers and even suggested that a first class seat might be better for a “larger” customer. We would like to see Alaska Airlines be a little bit more sensitive to the needs of its larger customers and make it easier for them to purchase a second seat while reminding them that they are still valued customers.

We did have some concerns with the two-year activity clause on the mileage reward plan. One customer did have a complaint about the inactivity on their account leading to its deactivation.

We also had some concerns with the lack of wide-body planes. The Boeing 737, while a comfortable plane, lacks the comfort of larger Airbuses and larger Boeing aircraft, such as the 767.

The Bottom Line

We recommend Alaska Airlines wholeheartedly. We also liked the fact that while their planes didn’t have TVs on each seat, they made it possible for customers to access great movies and other options via an affordable tablet. Another great feature of this company was that they want customers to get their baggage quickly at the claim, offering a $25 voucher if the bags are not off the plane within 20 minutes.

The prices an airline charges for luggage that needs to be checked can vary between different airlines. The more luggage an airline allows for smaller costs, the more likely they are to satisfy their passengers. Unfortunately, Alaska Airlines is one of the airlines that does not allow any bags to be checked for free. With the exception of club members, customers flying with special benefits, military members, or passengers who are confirmed as flying first class at the time of check-in, all luggage that is checked with Alaska Airlines has an attached fee. The first two bags will cost customers twenty-five dollars per bag. Any additional checked baggage will be charged seventy-five dollars per bag. These bags must comply with the standard fifty-pound weight limit and sixty-two inches in height. Any checked bags that exceed these regulations will be charged an additional seventy-five dollars per bag. It should be noted that although no bags can be checked for free with a standard Alaska Airline ticket, car seats and strollers, as well as wheelchairs, assistive devices, and any bags containing only medical equipment for personal use may be checked free of charge. Passengers who are flying with Alaska Airline internationally must have any bags that need to be checked, checked-in sixty minutes before flight departure. Flying domestically only requires bags to be checked-in forty minutes before flight departure. As a benefit to passengers flying with Alaska Airlines, the company does allow each traveler one bag as a carry-on item as well as one personal item which may include a purse, briefcase, or laptop. In addition, even though Alaska Airline does not offer any checked baggage to fly for free, they do guarantee their customers that if their bags are not at baggage claim within twenty minutes of landing, Alaska Airlines will credit the customer a twenty-five-dollar discount for future Alaska Airlines flights or twenty-five hundred bonus miles towards the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan.

A major part of travel insurance that many airline companies focus on providing for their customers is flexibility in making changes to purchased tickets or refunding unused airline fares. While Alaska Airlines does allow this type of insurance to their customers, it is a strict policy and not as flexible as many other competing airline companies. Alaska Airlines allows customers to change a purchased ticket once, within the twenty-four-hour time period from the original purchase date. Any changes or cancelations made after the allotted twenty-four hours will be charged applicable fees. For baggage delay insurance, Alaska Airlines promises to return bags to customers within twenty-four hours from the landing time. If for some reason a bag cannot be located in that amount of time, Alaska Airlines will compensate reasonable expenses that occur during a bag delay as well as reimbursement for any fees that might be charged to transport a lost bag to the rightful destination. If a customer is flying with the need for special assistance, Alaska Airline has both an online request form as well as a twenty-four-seven phone line to provide and help with any special assistance while traveling with their airline. Alaska Airlines does request that all special assistance requests are made before a flight’s departure so that the staff can best assist during regular travel as well as during irregular travel events such as delays. In the event that a flight is delayed, Alaska Airlines provides their customers with many different options as to handle the situation. If a customer is flying with multiple airlines, but all tickets were purchased at the same time, Alaska Airlines will promptly find coordinating flights and make necessary arrangements for travelers to board the different air crafts. If tickets were purchased separately through other airlines, Alaska Airlines will contact the different airline companies, but all ticket fares will have to be handled separately through the altered companies. Customers who choose not to travel because of a delayed or canceled flight can get their ticket fares refunded or have travel arranged for a different day, with all associated fees waived. Although all of these options are a great benefit to customers traveling with Alaska Airlines, the travel insurance in general through the company while available, is average when compared to other airline companies in the industry.

The rewards program through Alaska Airlines is called the Mileage Plan. This program, like many other airline rewards programs, is a way for customers to earn points that can be redeemed for travel. Customers can earn points by enrolling in the program free of charge, and purchasing airfare with Alaska Airlines or through many companies partnering with Alaska Airlines to create more opportunities to earn reward points. Many of the additional companies that allow for more points to be earned for the Alaska Airline Mileage Plan include everyday places such as shopping and dining (mainly through purchases with a credit card). The number of points earned for every purchase made with the Mileage Plan can vary on what and when something is being purchased. Unfortunately, Alaska Airlines does not allow members who are part of this plan to combine points with other members to increase the points available. In addition, when redeeming the accrued points for air travel, Alaska Airlines does have restrictions on when and how the points can be used and for what airfare. Not all seats are available for reward purchases, and Alaska Airlines does enforce blackout dates (which are days of travel where no flights can be purchased using Mileage Plan redeemed points). Along with these restrictions, Alaska Airlines also restricts the destinations to which a flight can be purchased using redeemed points through their rewards program. Not all flights are eligible and customers can find a specific list of awarded destinations that can be used at the time their redeemable points are usable. As a benefit to reward members, though, Alaska Airlines does provide some deals that can be found on their membership page that are exclusive to point earning members. This allows members to find better rates for flights and to be able to use reward points on the deals accessible at that time.

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118 Alaska Airlines Reviews

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  1. User Score

    10

    August 26th, 2015 Anchorage, AK

    I think Alaska Airlines helps a lot of customer in and out of Alaska. For me I am Alaskan and at times I can get reasonable travel deals so I can take a break from my job. Than helps me see how a company really works to benefit the people
    Customer service is fast and friendly

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  2. User Score

    10

    August 26th, 2015 Othello, WA

    We use Alaska Airlines whenever we can because the experience is always good and everyone is friendly. We fly to Alaska every summer and feel that the price is better with Alaska Airlines. We also like the 20 minute baggage claim guarantee.

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  3. User Score

    10

    August 26th, 2015 North Port, FL

    We just got home from Seattle. That was our first time being on Alaska Airlines from Tampa. In all we were up and down 4 times because we also took a short flight to Alaska. Not one time in any airport or plane did we have a bad experience. On the contrary, the flight attendants and CSA’s were all wonderful, smiling, attentive and just plain nice. There were a few that were fabulous! We cannot wait to get back to Seattle. There was only one thing I didn’t care for and that was so many passengers stowing large bags overhead and coming on with way over what they were supposed to have and then taking other people’s spots in the overhead.

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    1

  4. User Score

    10

    August 24th, 2015 Federal Way, WA

    when possible I always use Alaska, they are on time and the people are very friendly

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    1

  5. User Score

    3

    August 23rd, 2015 Walla Walla, WA

    Personally, I will never fly Alaska again. It was too hot in the cabin, the seats are too small and too close together for any leg room at all. It was a 5 1/2 hr. flight to Maui from WA state. My friend and I were miserable the entire trip.

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  6. User Score

    0

    August 23rd, 2015 Kalispell, MT

    I purchased the tickets first class so we could get seats and they did not even seat my husband and I beside each other and wouldn’t change them. We had to ask the passengers if they would be kind enough to trade places.

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  7. User Score

    10

    August 22nd, 2015 Scotts Valley, CA

    I got a Alaskan Airlines Visa and receive a lot of benefits such as first bag free, mileage and an annual companion ticket. We have homes in Hawaii and travel with a small toy poodle. I love it that I can bring poodle Pele on board with me. Alaskan is the only airline that allows pets onboard to Hawaii. All other airlines make you check your animal into cargo with high fees. There is a perfect flight for us from San Jose to Kona. Yay ALaskan.

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    3

  8. User Score

    4

    August 22nd, 2015 Wasilla, AK

    Alaska has been my airlines for 49 years, but they need to stop making less room for the passengers to sit in. They also should not have so many special classes of passengers when it comes to seating folks. If you are just a regular, paying passenger you must wait for one special group after another to board. Jet Blue and others are getting away from this method of boarding. I can understand boarding those with special needs and perhaps even first class, that pay extra for this classification, but all the other groups makes no sense to those of us who just fly when we can and pay the price to do so, but must wait and wait while these other “special” folks board and take the luggage space up.

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  9. User Score

    10

    August 22nd, 2015 Lakewood, WA

    Love Alaska Airlines. They have the best service from Seattle to San Diego and back of anyone. Wouldn’t travel another airline for that trip!

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    1

  10. User Score

    1

    August 21st, 2015 Gloucester, MA

    This is the worst airlines that I’ve flown. they give you nothing and the seats are crowded. They pack you in like sardines. take my world for it THIS AIRLINES SUCKS

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    2

  11. User Score

    9

    August 21st, 2015 Juneau, AK

    I travel using Alaska Airlines whenever I can. I trust them and the hospitality is always friendly, helpful and kind. My short flight a few days ago was great, went without any hic ups.

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    2

  12. User Score

    6

    August 19th, 2015 Monona, IA

    As fairly frequent travelers, we are constantly frustrated to see airline personnel failing to enforce their own regulations regarding carryon bags.

    First – Stop allowing passengers seated in the back to stash their carryon bags in the overhead bins in earlier rows. As I understand it, federal regulations require that bags must be under the control of the passenger at all times. A passenger in row 21 has absolutely no control over the carryon they parked in the row 6 overhead bin. As you well know, the bins above a row are intended for the passengers seated in that row. When you allow that space to be taken up by passengers seated in other rows, you create needless frustration and inefficiency for the travelers who have lost access to the bins intended for them.

    Second – Get serious about refusing to allow passengers to board the plane with multiple bags that exceed the maximum carryon dimensions. If that second bag won’t easily fit in the overhead bin, it needs to be checked. On our most recent flight from Seattle to Minneapolis, our already delayed flight was held up even longer due to a passenger (and flight attendant) struggling for several minutes to stuff an oversized bag into the overhead bin. While I am a staunch believer in customer service, when you allow (and thus enable) customers to flagrantly disregard your rules, you do a HUGE disservice to those of us who comply.

    Finally, my experience has been that allowing passengers to use the free “gate check” for carryons doesn’t seem to impede the boarding process. However I do wonder why you encourage this as a workaround for travelers who obviously have multiple items that will not fit under the seat in front of them. It appears that you are enabling them to avoid paying for an additional bag that should be checked. Consider this – if passengers didn’t have to be concerned with theft and damage by airline and airport personnel, most of us would be more than willing to pack some of our carryon items in our checked baggage (and thus reduce our carryon items even more).

    Until recently, Alaska Airlines was the only choice for travel (aside from ferries) from our community. As such I do not have much experience with other airlines. Overall, my experience with travel on Alaska Airlines has been positive, but you can certainly do more to improve areas of your service.

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    2

  13. User Score

    8

    August 18th, 2015 Fort Wainwright, AK

    Having just flown United, I appreciate Alaska Airlines so much more! Baggage fees and seat upgrade fees added a substantial cost to my trip on UA! Club 49 saves me money on baggage and I don’t have to pay more for “premium seating”. $79 for 4 inches of legroom, really United? Let’s not even talk about the 1 1/2 mile hike for a Chicago gate change…Next time, I stick with Alaska Air.

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  14. User Score

    0

    August 16th, 2015

    Arrived at Anchorage AK airport 2 hours before departure and got in line at special service area because I had an minor traveling alone and that is where I was directed when I picked him up 2 months earlier. After standing in line for 20 minutes a clerk/agent came up and said you can check in at a kiosk, I explained my situation and she directed me to another (longer line) in full service. Waited in line 1 HOUR! reached front of the line and the next available agent just closed up and left. No one relieved her, she just left! I left my minor in line and found the agent/clerk who had moved me to the full service line and told her my minor was going to miss his flight. She moved is to another line. Long story short he missed his flight and we had to rebook for the next one 7 hours later! To top the day off, after putting my minor on the plane,we left the airport to head back to Kenai only to learn that the highway was closed for road construction! Ever bought a hotel in Anchorage in the summer? Stayed in a flea bag for $160! Service at Alaska Airlines was terrible and nobody cared. The clerk actually told he that I had not been at the airport for 2 hours. She didn’t care, just seemed determined to make the bad service my fault.

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  15. User Score

    8

    August 15th, 2015 Wasilla, AK

    The Anchorage to Maui/Honolulu direct flights are great!

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  16. User Score

    9

    August 14th, 2015 Palmer, AK

    LOVE AK AIRLINES THEY ALWAYS TREAT ME WELL. MOTO AZ & MEDDOW FIELDS WOULD BE NICE.
    RE NON STOP FLIGHTS NEEDED,

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    1

  17. User Score

    10

    August 14th, 2015 Sacramento, CA

    We really enjoy the direct flights from Sacramento to Maui Hawaii. The new seats are really comfortable for a 5 hour flight. The attendants are always very courteous and friendly. The planes are kept very clean and are well maintained.

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    1

  18. User Score

    10

    August 14th, 2015 Fairbanks, AK

    Flight Attendants are very kind and helpful. Ak. Air i give you all a 10

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    1

  19. User Score

    10

    August 13th, 2015 Raymore, MO

    Best Airline I have ever flown with. Wish there were more flights in and out of Kansas City. Direct flights to the East Coast would be awesome. Love the seats in the new planes.

    Incidentally although most comments praise Alaska some on this page make me laugh. I guess there are still a few people that still do not realize the Flight Attendants (Stewardess’s to some :-) ) are there to save their asses, not kiss them.

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  20. User Score

    10

    August 12th, 2015 Lynchburg, VA

    My experience with Alaska Airlines was excellent. Flights were on time, and the planes were very comfortable. Attendants were very friendly and courteous. Alaska Airlines personnel were great in locating the baggage and getting it to me in Anchorage!!

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