Alaska Airlines Ups Winter Route Offering For Sun And Snow Seekers

Alaska Airlines is building up its “sun and snow” strategy with new routes starting this winter. The airline is growing its flight operations out of Los Angeles and Palm Springs to destinations in the western United States and Mexico that will give passengers a choice whether they want to head to a place where they can ski versus one where they can hop onto a beach.

Alaska Airlines LAX Getty
Alaska Airlines is expanding out of Los Angeles and Palm Springs. Photo: Getty Images

The new routes on Alaska Airlines

Overall, Alaska is adding five new routes out of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Palm Springs International Airport (PSP). From Los Angeles, Alaska is adding two new routes from December 17th.

Using a Boeing 737, Alaska will fly from Los Angeles to Cancun (CUN) daily between December 17th and April 12th. Also, from December 17th, on a year-round basis, Alaska will fly from LAX to Reno (RNO) using an Embraer E175.

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Alaska Airlines is going big in Los Angeles with new routes to Cancun and Boise, adding onto the extensive list of routes the airline announced this year. Photo: Getty Images

Simple Flying reported on Alaska’s three new Palm Spring routes amid an explosion of air service to and from the city. Out of Palm Springs, all routes are operating using an Embraer E175. Alaska will launch seasonal service starting December 17th to Boise (BOI) and Reno. Flights to Boise will operate daily, while Reno flights will run five times a week. In addition, year-round, Alaska is launching twice-daily service between Palm Springs and San Jose.

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PSP Airport
Palm Springs International Airport also has the unique Sunny Bono Concourse, which serves as a testament to the airport’s status as a warm-weather tourist destination. Photo: Getty Images

The rationale behind the routes

Brett Catlin, Alaska’s managing director of capacity planning and alliances, stated the following in a press release viewed by Simple Flying:

“As demand for leisure travel returns, and for those ready to fly the coop, we’re excited to offer even more nonstop routes this winter. We’ve long offered nonstop flights to some of the most popular vacation destinations from Southern California, and we continue to see demand for our unique low fare, high-quality experience.”

Alaska Airlines Embraer E175
The Embraers will fly to smaller markets with more point-to-point service. Photo: Getty Images

When Americans think of a Mexican beach vacation, most people immediately think about Cancun, one of Mexico’s most popular gateways. Alaska will go up against major US airlines such as Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and JetBlue. Reno, on the other hand, is a gateway to Lake Tahoe, a destination known for its ski resorts.

Increasing services out of Los Angeles

Starting December 17th, Alaska is adding new flights on existing routes:

  • Guadalajara increases to two daily flights
  • Salt Lake City increases to two daily flights
  • Boise increases from one to three daily flights

Already, this year, Alaska has launched– or will launch services– to Fresno, Missoula, Boise, Spokane, Redmond, Lihue, Kona, Tampa, Fort Myers, Bozeman, Medford, and Eugene. Los Angeles is becoming more and more important to Alaska, which has traditional strongholds in Anchorage and Seattle.

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Alaska Airlines will use the Boeing 737 on flights from Los Angeles to Cancun. Photo: Getty Images

Becoming the leading West Coast airline

Alaska Airlines is not like Delta or American or United. The airline is a full-service carrier but operates only narrowbody aircraft with no long-haul international routes. Despite its name, it is based out of Seattle and has hubs across the West Coast of the United States, including Los Angeles and Portland.

In recent years, the airline has focused on building up its route portfolio out of the West Coast. The airline has built up its network to the Midwest, Southeast, and East Coast. Also, the carrier has branched out internationally to Canada, Costa Rica, and Mexico, on routes that have strong origin and destination (O&D) demand and connecting traffic.

Alaska and American
Alaska Airlines can also rely on some feed from its extensive partnership with American. Photo: Getty Images

These routes are a mix of O&D and connecting demand. Boise and Reno do not have a lot of point-to-point traffic beyond the western United States. Instead, for passengers from, say, Texas or Michigan or New York wanting to go to Reno, they must connect in a major hub in the Midwest, South, or East, like Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, or a West Coast hub like Seattle, Portland, and Los Angeles.

As for Palm Springs, the leisure destination has been getting a lot of attention in the last few years, and even more now amid international border closures. So, capitalizing on that, the carrier is gearing up to maintain its strong market position in Palm Springs.

Are you glad to see Alaska grow in Palm Springs and Los Angeles? Will you fly any of these new routes? Let us know in the comments!