It’s not often I feel sorry for an airline, but I’ve gotta be honest — I feel kind of bad for Alaska Airlines and can’t help but feel like Delta hasn’t been acting in good faith with them. Last October Delta announced huge international expansion in Seattle, which was supposed to further strengthen their relationship with Alaska. The premise of the expanded relationship was that Alaska would provide the additional domestic feed for Delta’s additional international service.

Over the past several months Delta hasn’t just announced more international service out of Seattle, but has also announced they’re going to go head-to-head with Alaska on a bunch of domestic routes. After all, why have a partner airline provide the domestic feed when Delta could fill those planes themselves?

Delta announced several daily frequencies from Seattle to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Alaska reacted by announcing a double miles promotion (both redeemable and elite qualifying) on several of the overlapping routes through May 31, 2014.

Well, today Delta announced they’d be encroaching even further on Alaska’s territory, as they’ll now be flying four times daily between Seattle and Portland using CRJ-900 aircraft, which even feature a first class cabin. The service begins on September 2, 2014.

They’ve also announced a similar promotion to the one Alaska is offering. Delta is offering double miles (both elite qualifying and redeemable) between select city pairs for travel booked by December 31, 2013, for travel through October 31, 2014. Registration is required prior to making the reservation, and the promotion is valid for travel from Seattle to Anchorage, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Portland.


Anyway, it will be interesting to see how this relationship progresses. It’s clear they’re no longer acting in good faith or partners by choice. Rather I think both airlines feel trapped. Delta can’t possibly provide feed to all of the places that Alaska serves out of Seattle and probably needs that feed to fill their international flights, while Alaska probably can’t afford to turn down all that traffic.

In the meantime it’s good news for us. I expect we’ll see some fare wars and lucrative promotions like the ones being offered by both carriers right now.

  1. November 5th, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Amol (@PointsToPointB) said,

    Delta hasn’t been faithful to Alaska, the slut of all airlines that’s always DTF (down to fly)? :P

  2. November 5th, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    a traveler said,

    Wish they would include san jose and oakland to seattle. Perhaps alaska should just drop its relationship with american and become a full tier one skyteam partner.

  3. November 5th, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    beachfan said,

    Maybe the AA anouncement that’s been punted to next week is that Alaska Air will be joining OneWorld!

  4. November 5th, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Carl said,

    Slut of the skies has worked well for AS so far. Maybe this means AS will start codesharing with UA as well.

  5. November 5th, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Benedict said,

    Maybe the slut of the skies needs to be even more slutty?

  6. November 5th, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    Steve said,

    I really don’t think AS has anything to worry about. The low profit passengers chasing the best fare aren’t the ones they need to keep loyal to have a good business. So long as AS keeps their head on straight and treats their customers right, they have nothing to worry about.

    But, if they screw them over even once, years of trust are out the window and they are just another big, bad, scummy airlines in which case they deserve whatever fate befalls them.

    I’m voting with my dollars. Every flight I can take on AS, I do. Hopefully they will realize that is a direct result of my belief in their integrity and respond by treating me with ethically.

    I’ll keep buying those full fare F tickets but if they gut their award chart then I’m history and I won’t ever come back.

  7. November 5th, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    DiscoPapa said,

    You forgot to mention SANSEA, beginning in June. :)

  8. November 6th, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Kelly said,

    @Steve – I agree 100%.

    I’ve had to fly DL as a partner with AS on many, many occasions. For all they have done lately in practice and in marketing their hubris and arrogance as a result of their mega-size status is fascinating given their poor service and worthless (IMHO) SkyPesos program.

    AS, while partnering with many, is a strong airline. I would be seeking other partners that may treat them much better than DL and let DL think they’re all that.

    In the end, service means as much to me as the value of my miles. To me, I’m wasting miles for an inferior flight experience on DL vs. other partners on award travel. YMMV.

  9. November 6th, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    McMunch said,

    Delta is the joke of the skies. Despite them being a huge airline, I’m staying with Alaska! I fly them all the time, and they always have done right by me. I’m came to the dance with Alaska, and I’m leaving with Alaska.

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