The Airline That Wants To Help You Make it Home Earlier

While Delta removes the ability to stand by for an earlier flight entirely on their lowest fare, Alaska Airlines — doing battle head-on with Delta in their home market in Seattle — is making it easier to do just that.

They’ve just updated their mobile app:

This just seemed such an interesting juxtaposition.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Yet another reason I’m ditching status with Delta this year and going with Alaska. You don’t need to be a $ whale to be appreciated for your loyalty with Alaska.

  2. I understand that airlines want to earn fees, but I have for a long time been baffled that, if you are in place to take an earlier flight (you get to the airport early, your connecting flight lands early, etc.), the airline wouldn’t be thrilled to get you home earlier. If you get on the earlier flight, there is less chance that you will get stranded far from home later in the day (and cost the airline a hotel room). If you get on the earlier flight, there is the possibility that the airline could sell a last-minute fare to another passenger on the later flight. It just seems like a win-win. Once the gate closes, the airline can never sell the empty seat that you would have loved to have taken. But there is still a chance that someone will buy a ticket for a flight later in the day.

  3. I almost never fly Alaska, but had to a few times earlier this year (I fly 99% UAL and SWA). I was literally blown away at how nice everyone was. The wifi was the best I’ve used on any plane, and they really went the extra mile. Also, I was able to book refundable tickets at southwest prices – a refundable SAN-SEA United flight was (a) not direct and (b) > $1k instead of $400. I was really impressed (except it unfortunately won’t change who I fly 😉

  4. If not because of I’ve been in relationship too long with Delta, I’d switch to AS in a heartbeat. A great airlines.

  5. The reason airlines don’t let you on an earlier flight for free is because there is a chance you’ll pay for the privilege. They calculate they’ll net more $ from standby fees than they’ll make from selling the seat later or lose from hotel fees if they have problems down the road. It’s a heck of a meme.

  6. Agree 100% with Jim and would love to know the answers to the questions he poses. I’ve been asking them myself for years! In my mind and in any accounting I can think of, an “undelivered” passenger represents a liability and a risk of higher costs incurred down the line. And an open seat as the door closes is a write-off, whereas an open seat an hour later is still a possible sale. Is $75 or $100 or whatever worth the average risk incurred and loss of possible revenue?

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