We sometimes overbook flights because people often book reservations without using them. If you are curious whether your flight has more reservations than the number of seats onboard, feel free to ask our reservations or airport personnel. We are happy to provide you current information on the status of your flight; however, the number of reservations can change, so the information we provide you in advance may differ from the information you receive at check-in.
Request for Volunteers
When a flight is overbooked and more passengers show up than a flight can accommodate, we will request volunteers to give up their seats in exchange for a certificate for a discount on future travel. The selection of volunteers is at the discretion of Alaska Airlines. We must consider factors such as final destination, number of travelers and connecting flight availability. If you volunteer and your seat is not needed, we will try to retain your original seat assignment; however this is not always possible.
We appreciate customers who are able to take a later flight. When you volunteer to give up your seat, we will rebook you on the next available flight to your destination at no additional charge. This may not be the next flight, and may include flights on other airlines.
In addition to our volunteer program, we have invested in sophisticated computer systems that forecast passenger loads, which reduces the number of customers who are involuntarily denied boarding. When a volunteer is not found, we will deny boarding to the last customer(s) who checked in on time. Monetary compensation, as outlined below, is offered on Alaska Airlines flights. These amounts are predetermined by the DOT regulations established for all major US airlines.
Involuntary Denied Boarding Compensation
If you are involuntarily denied boarding, we will rebook you to your destination as soon as possible. You will also be eligible for the following compensation:
Rebooked to arrive at your destination within 1 hr: No compensation
Domestic flights rebooked to arrive 1-2 hours later, or international flights 1-4 hours later: 200% of the value of the affected flight segment(s). ($650 max)
*Domestic flights rebooked to arrive 2 or more hours later, or international flights 4 or more hours later: 400% of the value of the affected flight segment(s). ($1300 max)
* You may elect not to travel. In this case, we will refund the affected flight segments in addition to your monetary compensation. In lieu of the predetermined monetary compensation listed above, eligible involuntarily denied customers can choose to accept the same compensation package offered to volunteers on their flight.
Note: Flight segment value is calculated from the city where denied boarding occurs to the next stopover.
To qualify for denied boarding compensation of any kind, you must be checked in (including all baggage checked, applicable charges paid and any paperwork completed) and at your departure gate at least 30 minutes prior to posted departure time. We suggest that you arrive at the airport at least one and a half hours before departure* (two hours for international flights) to allow time for you to be checked in and through security in time for boarding your flight. If you are unable to meet the required check-in time requirements, you may be denied boarding without compensation.
* Recommended times vary by airport. Check our website or call Reservations for specifics.