Changes galore in fees and service charges on Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air

Heads up, Alaska Airlines or Horizon Air customers.  A bunch of changes to the airlines’ fees and services were announced today.  The news is good and bad…

Here’s a rundown:

Effective for travel on or after June 16 for tickets purchased beginning May 1.

Checked bags and baggage service guarantee

It will cost you $20 for each of your first three checked bags. This is a $5 increase for the first checked bag, a $5 decrease for the second, and a $30 decrease for the third.

There’s also a change to the carriers baggage service guarantee.  Yes – there’s a service guarantee!

Instead of promising you they’ll get your bags to your within 25 minutes the airlines now promise to get bags to you within 20 minutes.  And if the bags don’t show up in 20 minutes they’ll either give you 2,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles or $20 off a future flight.

Unaccompanied minors

Alaska and Horizon are also lowering the fees for unaccompanied minors ages 5 to 12.

The new fees are $25 per child for direct flights and $50 per child for connecting flights.

This is a reduction from the current $75 fee, which applied to several children traveling together.

[Note: As of tomorrow, April 23, 2010, Southwest Airlines is raising its fares on unaccompanied minors; see news about this and other airlines' unaccompanied minor fees in my msnbc.com column "Are Airlines Cashing in on your kids?"]

Same-day confirmed travel

If you want to change your flight within six hours of departure, it will cost $25 to confirm a seat.

Outside of that six-hour window, you must pay the difference in fare plus any applicable change fee. Until now, for a flight on the same calendar day it seems you could pay this $25 same-day confirmed fee or stand by for free.

Instant ticketing and refund policy

Effective May 12, you will no longer be able to hold reservations for 24 hours without payment when booking directly with the airlines, but you’ll get one free change or a full refund within 24 hours of purchase on all tickets.

For more details see the Alaska Airlines website.

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