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.
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.
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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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.”
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.
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.
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!