Homer Alaska - Business

Story last updated at 12:38 PM on Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Alaska Air launches resident program

Morris News Service - Alaska

Alaska Airlines has launched a new frequent flier benefits program exclusively for Alaska residents. The program, which is called Club 49, offers residents who are enrolled in the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan two free checked bags on flights to and from the state, two annual one-way certificates for 30 percent of full flex fares within four days of departures and weekly fare sales with email notifications.

The short notice certificates and free bags checks are for Club 49 members only while the weekly sales are open to all travelers. Club members, however, will get early notification of those sales through email.

"Very simply, the intent of the program is to say thanks to Alaskans for your support since our inception 79 years ago and to lower the cost of air travel," said Alaska Airlines President Brad Tilden.

The airline could not comment on how the discounts would affect profits but Vice President of Marketing Joe Sprague said the bag fees will clearly have an impact. What the exact impact will be isn't yet known.

"We're just going to be lowering the price of air travel...We're hoping that we stimulate some incremental travel so it's undetermined exactly how this affects us," he said.

Alaska Airlines is doing pre-registration now with the benefits taking effect on Nov. 1. However, the exclusive deal notifications start immediately.

The program's benefits were designed based on feedback from a recent survey.