What measures have been taken by Alaska Airlines to ensure it is safe to fly during COVID-19?
Alaska Airlines has implemented more than 100 measures since the COVID-19 outbreak, all part of Alaska’s commitment to Next-Level Care to keep passengers and employees safe. Alaska Airlines’ Coronavirus Response Page offers information and guidance for:
- Travel planning and preparing.
- Hygiene and safety measures at the airport and onboard.
- New flight change policy.
Thanks to all these safety measures, Alaska Airlines achieved Diamond status in the APEX Health Safety standard powered by SimpliFlying. The Diamond status indicates that the airline has implemented hospital-grade health safety measures, processes, and training.
Travel Planning and Preparing
COVID-19 travel restrictions vary by state and country, so Alaska Airlines provides general info and a restrictions map for you to be able to plan your next flight to one of Alaska’s destinations. Still, you should confirm specific restrictions by checking the travel advisories issued by the local authorities.
To help customers traveling to destinations that require a negative COVID-19 test result, Alaska Airlines partnered with multiple testing providers to offer COVID-19 travel testing in-person or at-home:
- AZOVA – authorized tests and testing services in Costa Rica and Mexico that meet the CDC requirements for entry into the US.
- Carbon Health – same or next day results at all US West Coast testing locations. Priority travel testing is available by appointment only to Alaska Airlines customers.
- Costco Wholesale – at-home FDA-authorized COVID-19 saliva rt-PCR testing with video observation.
Alaska Airlines international passengers can use the VeriFLY app for expedited check-in and verification when arriving in the United States. Also, Alaska’s Hawaii Pre-Clear program helps passengers bypass the airport screening process after they arrive in Hawaii with an approved negative COVID-19 test.
Hygiene and Safety Measures at the Airport and Onboard
Masks are required by federal law for all passengers (two years and older) at all times during travel, even if you are fully vaccinated. Travelers wearing a mask have a near-zero chance (.003% according to a recent Department of Defense study) of being exposed to the virus, even on a full plane. Passengers who repeatedly refuse to wear a mask will be given a yellow card and may be suspended from flying with Alaska Airlines for a while.
For your safety and the safety of others around you, as part of the check-in process, all passengers must complete a health agreement that confirms they have not exhibited COVID-19 symptoms in the past 72 hours, have not been near someone who has tested positive, and will bring and wear a face-covering in the airport and onboard.
At the airport, plexiglass shields and “Mind Your Wingspan” floor decals and signage have been installed. A cleaning program for the check-in lobby and gate counters, where the surfaces are wiped down with a disinfectant frequently, has been instituted to ensure the highest level of cleanliness.
Alaska Airlines is trying to make travel almost entirely touch-free:
- The Alaska mobile app allows you to check in for your flight, get a mobile boarding pass, change seats, prepay for your bags, and stay up to date on your flight status, gate changes, and boarding notifications.
- Self-tag kiosks allow you to print bag tags by scanning your boarding pass and without touching the check-in kiosk.
- Improved technology allows Alaska Airlines employees to scan boarding passes from up to six feet when the conditions are just right (good lighting in the boarding area and barcodes printed clearly).
- For touch-free purchases in the air, you can store your payment preference using your Alaska Airlines account to pay for food and beverages on board.
For passengers to breathe easily on their next Alaska Airlines flight, all aircraft have the latest filtration technology in use. Hospital-grade HEPA filters remove 99.9% of airborne particles, including viruses like COVID-19 and other variants. There is a full exchange of cabin air every 2-3 minutes with mixed (outside air and HEPA-filtered air) and every 6 minutes with 100% fresh air. The top to bottom airflow minimizes particle movement throughout the cabin and reduces contact with other guests.
Always a top priority, the next level of onboard cleaning involves techniques and processes that reduce the already low risk of onboard transmission. Between every flight, a dedicated cleaning crew covers the most critical areas using a high-grade EPA disinfectant. In addition, planes are sanitized with electrostatic sprayers that allow the disinfectant to wrap around and cling to surfaces for an additional level of protection.
New Flight Change Policy
For Main fares and First Class fares purchased on or after May 1, 2021, Alaska Airlines permanently eliminated change fees.
Saver fares purchased on or after May 1, 2021, may not be changed or canceled.
Alaska Airlines’ 24-hour cancellation policy applies to all fares.