Alaska Air fires competitive volley back at Delta

Staff writerDecember 6, 2013 

It looks like SeaTac's Alaska Airlines is finally growing tired of turning the other cheek to incursions into some of its prime territory by its supposed airline partner Delta Air Lines.

Alaska today announced it will begin competing with Delta next spring with flights from four West Coast cities to Delta's hub in Salt Lake City.

Alaska will begin flying to Salt Lake next year from Portland, San Diego, San Jose and Los Angeles, the airline announced Friday.

"Salt Lake City has long been a top requested market by our customers and we are pleased to add to our successful Seattle-Salt Lake City flights with additional service from four other West Coast gateways," Joe Sprague, Alaska Air's vice-president of marketing, said in a news release. "This new service connects travelers with Alaska's strong network on the West Coast. In addition, our customers will enjoy double miles that apply toward elite status in our award-winning Mileage Plan program."

The SeaTac-based carrier will begin flying once daily roundtrips from Los Angeles and San Jose and twice daily roundtrips from Portland and San Diego in early June next year.

In addition to the new Salt Lake connections from the four cities, Alaska will bolster its Seattle-Salt Lake City repertoire of flights with one additional roundtrip, raising the number of roundtrips between the Emerald City and the Utah capital to three daily.

Delta in recent weeks has announced new flights between Sea-Tac and Vancouver, B.C.; Fairbanks, Alaska; San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland.  All of those routes are now dominated by Alaska.

Delta says its is increasing its schedule of flights to Sea-Tac to support its growing number of international flights from the airport.

The Atlanta airline previously had depended on code-sharing flights with Alaska to feed its international flights in Seattle.

That code-sharing arrangement continues, but Alaska is halting use of Delta gates and ground servicing at 13 airports where Alaska has too few flights to merit hiring its own personnel.

Delta now flies from Sea-Tac to Beijing, Shanghai and both of Tokyo's two airports, and to Amsterdam and Paris in Europe.

Next year it plans to add London, Hong Kong and Seoul to its offerings from Sea-Tac.

The increasing competition is already driving down prices with Alaska offering some wintertime flights to the San Francisco Bay area as low as $49 each way.

Alaska and Delta are also offering their Puget Sound area frequent fliers double miles on some competitive routes. 

Delta is raising its public profile in the Puget Sound area by sponsoring a bank of seats at Century Link field and by sponsoring civic events.

Earlier this week, the airline christened a new 737 airliner it was accepting from Boeing as the "Spirit of Seattle."


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