They have a bag guarantee? What? (Yes.)
If you're ever at the gate again with a completely full Alaska or Delta flight, this might make you slightly less hesitant about checking a bag. Both airlines have a bag guarantee policy that compensates passengers if their bag is not at the carousel 20 minutes after their flight arrives.
Yes! They want you at your destination!
Both will essentially give passengers 2,500 mileage miles if you're still waiting after that timeframe. Alaska does give the option of picking a $25 voucher toward a future flight, and is slightly more stringent on the timeframe that the delayed bag has to be reported, though.
Unfortunately, Delta and Alaska are the only domestic airlines to offer this type of policy.
It's a sweet, sweet way to get passengers to gate-check their bags, though the truth is, I'd rather still fly with my bag.
Behind Alaska's bag guarantee policy
Rather than let us misinterpret something, here's the spiel from the airline:
Since 2010 we have put a guarantee behind our baggage delivery. If your bags are not at baggage claim within 20 minutes of your plane’s arrival at the gate, we’ll offer you a $25 discount code for use on a future Alaska Airlines flight, or 2,500 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan™ bonus miles.
In the rare instance that we don't meet our 20 minute guarantee, just get ahold of us at the baggage office within 2 hours of your flight's arrival for your discount code or miles. You can simply speak with one of our customer service agents at the airport.
Pretty self-explanatory if you ask me.
Behind Delta's bag guarantee policy
Similarly, here is Delta's official policy:
If your checked bag doesn't arrive at the carousel in 20 minutes or less after any domestic flight, you are eligible to receive 2,500 bonus miles. Just complete the [official] form no later than three days after your flight's arrival. Requests should only be submitted after your flight.
Note that you must be a SkyMiles member at the time of travel to be eligible and requests for multiple flights must be submitted separately.
Please allow up to two weeks after submitting your request for your bonus miles to appear in your account.