Alaska Airlines Complaint - Price Gauging in Alaska Markets
I feel it is warranted to investigate Alaska Airlines for price gauging their Alaska markets. Fares on flights in and out of Alaska continue to go up in-proportionately to fares in the lower 48. One might say that because they basically have a captive market in Alaska with very little competition, these higher fares might be based on supply and demand. However, since Alaska Airlines has also made decisions to cut back on flights in and out of the Anchorage (specifically) market, it seems like the airline is "creating" a higher demand and thus creating reason for higher fares. High peak travel periods in and out of the state of Alaska include Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring break, major holidays and the end of October and March (due to school conference breaks). This November I found it impossible to get a fare to anywhere in the lower 48 for under $1000. Flights are continuously oversold and passengers are offered very little consolation for the inconvenience of being bumped. Recent policy changes award $250 credit for a bump ticket and yet an Alaskan resident cannot fly out of the state for anything close to that. The latest policy changes include changes to the award plan with regards to using mileage towards a 1/2 price ticket. The new policy reads "Beginning February 1, 2010: Money & Miles Award
Starting at 10,000 Miles One Way and 20,000 Miles Round Trip. Valid on itineraries with flights operated only by Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air. Receive up to a 50% discount on most fares. Maximum discount is $200 (USD) off of the base fare for 20,000 Miles and $100 (USD) off of the base fare for 10,000 Miles. You earn 100% of the miles flown when traveling on this award. Complimentary upgrades not allowed." These awards state that they are to be used to receive discounts up to 50% off "most" fares and yet the maximum discount has been again lowered. There is no where we can go where a $200 discount is equal to anything close to a 50% discount.
And all the while Alaska Airlines continues to increase rates and cut flights to Alaska markets, they also continue to expand their service and offer more flights to lower 48 cities and deeply discount those lower 48 fares.
In conclusion, I think it is more than fair to scrutinize these business practices as it has become apparent to Alaskans that we are being price gauged so that Alaska Airlines can broaden their wings of discount services outside of Alaska. A more fair business practice would be to add flights where the market demand is highest. We already pay some of the highest travel expenses in the nation, they could at least show some appreciation for our business by not raping us.
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