The fight between SeaTac-based Alaska Airlines and Atlanta’s Delta Air Lines for passengers at Sea-Tac Airport is creating casualties for a carrier that once dominated the airport.
United Airlines Tuesday told its flight attendants operating from a base at Sea-Tac that it will close that base at the end of January.
The 264 flight attendants based at Sea-Tac will have an opportunity to transfer to United’s base in San Francisco or to accept a retirement package that includes up to $100,000 in severance pay if they meet the qualifications.
The move to shutter the flight attendant base came as United reduced its flights from Sea-Tac to 35 daily. The airline this year also canceled its daily flight from Sea-Tac to Tokyo. That flight cancellation came as Delta added a second flight to Tokyo and All Nippon Airways inaugurated a flight to the Japanese capital.
Delta has been aggressively adding both domestic and international flights at Sea-Tac as it moves to make the airport its West Coast international hub. Alaska has been fighting back by bolstering its schedule to new domestic destinations particularly to Delta hubs and destinations such as Salt Lake City, Detroit, Tampa and New Orleans.
United gates used to occupy most of the North Satellite Terminal. Now Alaska has taken over that terminal and plans to remodel it to its own specifications.
Many of the flight attendants say they will commute to San Francisco rather than move to their new base there.