Just in time for Mother’s Day, Alaska Airlines has announced a new benefit of its Mileage Plan that is something like maternity leave for elite status flyers: If you’re a new parent and elite flyer, you now have the option to put your status on hold for a year, during the time of a pregnancy or parental leave period. Just provide some documentation (for instance a doctor’s note), and you’re good to go. After the year passes, you can pick up right where you left off.
When you consider that new parents often — though not always — are forced to put frequent travel on hold while caring for their newborns, this program is clearly fair and reasonable.
Not to mention, it’s the right brand message at a seriously PR-challenged time for airlines.
(Meanwhile, across the pond, British Airways just announced kids under 12 can fly free this summer with a paying adult, which also happens to be a longstanding policy of Tahiti's international airline, Air Tahiti Nui.)
Good move, Alaska. Now which domestic airline will be next?
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